Dylan Matthews reports today that Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) has introduced a new tax plan. This is something that all the presidential candidates felt obligated to do back in 2012 as a way of signaling their fealty to the rich, but since there’s no election coming up anytime soon it’s not clear why Lee has decided to do this right now.
In any case, his plan reduces the number of tax brackets even though tax brackets have nothing at all to do with the complexity of the tax code. What it does do is give him an excuse to raise rates on the middle class and reduce rates on the rich. In addition, his plan leaves the current low capital gains rates and estate tax rates alone (good for the rich) and leaves the current high payroll taxes alone as well (bad for the poor). Put this all together, and the almost certain outcome is that the middle class would pay a little less; the upper middle class would pay somewhat more; and the rich would enjoy a big tax cut. In other words, it’s a pretty standard Republican plan.
I guess the good news is that it’s not quite as outrageously favorable toward the rich as all the plans that were released during campaign season. But aside from that, it’s hard to see what other merits this plan has.