Donald Trump's tax cut plan: It would cost at least $10.8 trillion, give lots of money to rich people.

Early Analysis: Donald Trump’s Tax Cut Plan Would Cost $10.8 Trillion. Let Me Repeat That: $10.8 Trillion.

Early Analysis: Donald Trump’s Tax Cut Plan Would Cost $10.8 Trillion. Let Me Repeat That: $10.8 Trillion.

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 28 2015 7:18 PM

Early Analysis: Donald Trump’s Tax Cut Plan Would Cost at Least $10.8 Trillion (!!!) 

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A trillion here, a trillion there.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Donald Trump's tax plan, which he debuted Monday, is, shockingly, not the most carefully crafted document. Mostly, it looks a lot like the arch-conservative proposal Jeb Bush rolled out earlier this month, but with even more implausibly low rates for all—sort of like when a high school kid copies his homework and then changes a few details so the teacher doesn't catch them. Nonetheless, Citizens for Tax Justice, which previously crunched the numbers on who would benefit most from Bush's various reforms, has taken the information Trump provided and worked up a rough estimate of what its effects would be.

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Citizens for Tax Justice

First takeaway: The plan would cost at least $10.8 trillion over 10 years. Which is, you know, crazy—that's almost enough to fund three years of our $3.8 trillion federal budget. Not that Donald "Make Mexico Pay for the Wall" Trump is really into policy realism.

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Second takeaway: For all of Trump's bluster about making hedge funders pay more in taxes, his plan is just another massive gift to the rich. One-third of the benefits would to go the top 1 percent of taxpayers. In some sense, this is more progressive than Bush's plan—the top 1 percent would take home more than half the income gains from his blueprint. But in absolute terms, the rich make out far better in Trump world. The average 1-percenter would get a $82,000 cut with Bush, but would upgrade to a yooge $184,000 cut with the Donald. (That said, the numbers aren't 100 percent equivalent—the CTJ analysis didn't account for Bush's corporate tax cuts, whereas it does include the results of Trump's—so take this as a rough guide.)

God only knows whether Donald Trump even takes any of his own ideas seriously. But at least attaching some actual figures to them should stop famous television journalists from doing so. Right, Chuck Todd? Right?

Jordan Weissmann is Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.