Ben Carson Has a Tax Plan!

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Hey, did you know that Ben Carson has finally released a tax plan? He has! (Though “plan” is perhaps a bit grandiose for nine bullet points.) There’s not really any reason you should care, but just for the record, here are the highlights:

  • No taxation of income up to $36,000 (150 percent of the poverty level)
  • A flat 14.9 percent tax on all ordinary income above that.
  • Also, business income will be taxed at 14.9 percent.
  • No taxation of interest, capital gains, dividends, or estates.
  • No deductions whatsoever, not even mortgage interest.

This is great! At a guess, your average zillionaire would have an effective tax rate of about 8 percent compared to about 20 percent today. Ka-ching!

And how much would this blow up the deficit? My horseback guess is that it would cost around $12 trillion over the next ten years. That’s even more harebrained than Donald Trump’s plan. You go, Ben! As for the Carson plan’s effect on the economy, here you go:

My flat tax plan will increase our current, anemic economic growth rate of 2.2 percent by more than half. I am confident this would generate an additional 1.6 percent of growth annually. As a result, our economy would be growing at an annual rate of almost 4 percent….This expanded growth translates into more than five million additional jobs over 10 years, with a nearly 11 percent increase in wages.

This promise springs forth fully grown, like Athena from Zeus’s forehead. Given that it’s literally just magic, I have no idea why Carson was so modest. Why not 6 percent growth and a 30 percent growth in wages? It’s all just meaningless squiggles on a page anyway.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.