I’m under the weather and not feeling well (or at least that is the story I’m going with),
1. This is progress. Rich Lowry notes that the divide between the Republican “establishment” and the “grassroots” is going nowhere. Conservatives and the rest of America are being badly served and we need policies that will transcend this divide.
2. One of the reasons we need to transcend the divide is because the “establishment” and the insurgents aren’t divided enough. They are both either delusional or in denial about what the median vote thinks about the Republican party’s weaknesses. The RNC “autopsy” had some useful bits, but while it went out of its way to describe how many people view the Republican party as “unwelcoming,” it somehow avoided mentioning public perception of the Republican party as a vehicle for high earner self-interest. I’m not sure how you could convene a focus group of non-Republican voters and not have some variation of “party of the rich” come up prominently as a negative perception of the party – and it might be the single most common negative perception. According to the 2012 exit poll, fifty-three percent of voters thought Romney’s policies would primarily benefit the rich. Only thirty-four percent thought Romney’s policies would primarily benefit the middle-class.
But luckily we have the libertarian insurgents like Rand Paul to save us. Well, maybe not. I’m looking at Rand Paul’s proposal for a seventeen percent flat tax. I’m working with the Tax Policy Center’s calculator. I’m trying to figure out the tax liability of a family of four with two minor children with a salary of $50,000. Under the most generous assumptions to Paul’s plan, I’m coming up with a $687 tax increase. The median household with two children would face a $900 tax increase. So where am I wrong? This on top of a vast tax cut on high earners. In the last election the Republican candidate proposed a tax cut whose benefits would overwhelmingly go to high earners. Now we have “insurgents” who propose even larger tax cuts for high earners and (as far as I can tell) a middle-class tax increase. On domestic economic policy, we need better insurgents.
I tried to skew the assumptions in favor of Paul’s plan. Someone please show me how my math is wrong.