Depending on which poll you believe, Ben Carson could very well be the Republican presidential frontrunner – and he’s certainly made plenty of recent headlines. From comparing pregnant women to slave owners, to saying that he believes the pyramids in Egypt were built as grain storages by the biblical character Joseph, it seems like the more Ben Carson talks, the more he proves that he’s absolutely crazy.
Not only that, but practically everything he say is completely untrue. He might be the only presidential candidate who’s an even bigger liar than Donald Trump, and that’s quite the accomplishment.
Well, during the most recent Republican presidential debate, one of the most contentious back and forth exchanges came when CNBC’s Becky Quick called out Carson’s tax plan for being an absolute economic disaster that would instantly create a $1 trillion deficit.
Naturally, Carson disagreed. Even when Quick mentioned that she had crunched the numbers, Carson became condescending, insisting that she was wrong and his plan “works out very well.” That’s interesting considering he’s yet to release his plan. One would think with his momentum peaking right now he would want to seize the opportunity to let the country know how great his tax plan is, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Well as it turns out, Quick wasn’t wrong in her assessment – at least not according to non-partisan fact-checking site Politifact and the economic experts they asked about Carson’s plan.
According to Politifact’s findings:
Under the current tax system, the United States is expected to collect $3.2 trillion in revenue in 2015, while government spending will reach $3.7 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Quick likely got her numbers by applying Carson’s 15 percent tax rate to the total personal income and the total corporate income ($15.4 trillion and $2.1 trillion respectively, by the latest Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates for 2015). That would generate about $2.6 trillion in revenue.
So Carson’s plan falls $0.6 trillion short of anticipated revenue, and $1.1 trillion short of spending. To break even, you’d have to reduce spending by about 30 percent annually, not as Quick said, 40 percent. (Source)
But even as they dug further, it’s not just that Carson’s plan would create a massive deficit, it’s that the way he seems to be calculating his tax policy doesn’t make sense.
Experts, however, had a few bones to pick with Carson’s math, starting with its premise.
First, not all of GDP is taxable, pointed out Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center. To apply his rate to all $18 trillion, Carson would have to tax health insurance premiums, pensions and government spending (the $3.7 trillion that Carson wants to cut) to name a few.
Second, even if we assume that you can tax all of GDP, the 15 percent tax rate still falls short of anticipated revenue and spending, as Carson acknowledges himself.
Contrary to what he said, however, you can’t “make that amount up” by applying the rate to corporate taxes and capital gains. That would be double-counting, since those are already a part of the total GDP figure, a post-debate CNBC article pointed out.
In short, taxing all of GDP by 15 percent would still create a $1 trillion hole this year. (Source)
In other words, there’s almost no scenario these experts can imagine where Carson’s plan doesn’t create a massive deficit. At least not without huge cuts to the federal government. Furthermore, as Chris Wallace pointed out to Ben Carson a few months ago, his plan would ultimately be terrible for the poor and middle class… but great for the rich. That’s pretty much the status quo for most of these tax plans by Republicans. I’m willing to bet if you go through every single tax proposal these GOP candidates support, the rich are the biggest beneficiaries in every single one.
Then again, considering Carson doesn’t even seem to know what the debt ceiling is, it’s not at all surprising that his tax plan would be a flawed disaster that makes absolutely no sense.