Jindal’s Trumpism-Without-Trump Tax Plan

With all the excitement going on this week, I totally missed the fact that my favorite Republican presidential candidate, the Gret Stet of Loosiana’s Bobby Jindal, released a tax plan, or at least a tax-based messaging document. WaPo’s Catherine Rampell informs us it’s everything you’d expect from the candidate who’s offering the GOP Trumpism Without Trump:

Jindal — who once declared that the Republican Party needed to stop being the “stupid party” — decided he, too, wanted to pander to stupidity.

That is, he decided to out-Trump Trump.

In a sprawling, largely detail-free plan released Wednesday, Jindal tried his hand at the tax-cut buzz saw. On a static basis, the Tax Foundation estimates, Jindal’s proposal would cut revenue by $11.3 trillion over the next decade.

That’s in the same ballpark as Trump. Yet rather than denying or trying to draw attention away from the gigantic hole he intends to blow in the budget (as Trump and Bush, respectively, have done), Jindal touts it with pride.

“Governor Jindal’s plan reduces the amount of money the federal government will be able to spend,” his Web site boasts, invoking long-ago disproven “starve the beast” rhetoric. The main effect of previous attempts to “starve the beast” through tax cuts, as Jindal surely knows, has not been spending decreases, but subsequently legislated tax increases.

But here’s the fun part:

Jindal’s plan is also, impressively, even more regressive than Trump’s. While Trump would raise the after-tax incomes of the top 1 percent by a mere fifth (21.6 percent), Jindal would increase their incomes by a full quarter (25 percent).

Then, in addition to lowering taxes on the rich, Jindal — but not Trump — would raise taxes on the poor.

Yes, you read that right. Jindal wants to engineer a reverse Robin Hood, taking money from the poor to give to the rich.

As Dylan Matthews explains at Vox, Jindal’s plan would eliminate the child tax credit, the standard deduction, the personal exemption, and the dependent exemption, with the very explicit goal of making everybody, even the poorest Americans, pay income taxes (hey, he does keep the EITC, but maybe that was an oversight!). So in effect his most distinctive tax “idea” is one of the dumbest in the conservative arsenal: going after the “lucky duckies,” the 47% who don’t pay income tax (though they do pay payroll taxes, state and local sales taxes, property taxes, etc. etc.).

At least Bobby’s being consistent: he spent years unsuccessfully trying to get Louisiana to shift from a income tax to a sales tax system for financing state government. Don’t want those job creators to have to pay taxes if they can instead be borne by those proles lucky enough to work for them, right?

Maybe the very conservative voters of Iowa, with whom Jindal is spending most of his time these days, like this approach; you should not underestimate the power of resentment of those people when two or more conservatives gather. But I dunno: as with his efforts to be Mr. Christian Right in a crowded presidential field, I suspect most voters otherwise attracted to Trumpism-Without-Trump would also prefer Jindalism-Without-Jindal.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.