Bachmann goes 0-for-2 on economic policy

Likely Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann chatted with the Wall Street Journal the other day, in an interview that’s generating a fair amount of attention. Pat Garofalo flagged what’s likely the best part:

“In my perfect world,” she explains, “we’d take the 35% corporate tax rate down to nine so that we’re the most competitive in the industrialized world. Zero out capital gains. Zero out the alternative minimum tax. Zero out the death tax.” […]

Her main goal is to get tax rates down with a broad-based income tax that everyone pays and that “gets rid of all the deductions.” A system in which 47% of Americans don’t pay any tax is ruinous for a democracy, she says, “because there is no tie to the government benefits that people demand. I think everyone should have to pay something.”

These are two of my favorites, so let’s take them one at a time.

The first is the notion that Bachmann wants trillions of dollars in tax cuts because corporations are paying too much. As luck would have it, the Center for American Progress recently published a report on this subject, and these two charts help drive home the fact that Bachmann is wildly wrong.

Then there’s the notion that Bachmann, once she’s done slashing taxes on the wealthy and corporations, wants to raise taxes on those who can least afford it.

This comes up from time to time, I continue to find it fascinating. When conservatives complain about too many Americans not paying federal income taxes, they tend to overlook relevant details — such as the fact that these same Americans still pay sales taxes, state taxes, local taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare/Medicaid taxes, and in many instances, property taxes.

It’s not as if these folks are getting away with something — the existing tax structure leaves them out of the income tax system because they don’t make enough money to qualify.

Moreover, the GOP has a natural revulsion to any tax system, but there’s an eerie comfort with a regressive agenda that showers additional wealth on the rich while asking for more from lower-income workers.

In fact, the drive on the right to increase the burdens on these low- and middle-income families is getting kind of creepy. Some on the far-right have begun calling these Americans “parasites.” Last year, Fox News’ Steve Doocy went so far as to ask whether those who don’t make enough to qualify for income taxes should even be allowed to vote.

But if Bachmann is serious about this, we can only hope this becomes part of the 2012 debate. A prominent GOP presidential candidate wants to slash taxes on the wealthy (again), and raise taxes on the wrong end of the income scale.

I suspect voters would be interested in hearing more about this.