Ben Carson seems to be as clueless about tax policy as he is about virtually every other political issue. He says he’s in favor of a flat tax, but on Fox News Sunday he said he wants a “proportional tax” where “you pay according to your ability.” That’s the opposite of a flat tax. But he still thinks we should have a flat tax:
But on Sunday, host Chris Wallace confronted Carson with tax experts, who found that to raise the same amount of revenue the federal government currently takes in, the government would have to impose a 20 percent tax across the board. (The Tax Policy Center argues it would have to be at least 25 percent.) “Middle incomes would get a tax hike and wealthy families would get a tax cut,” Wallace explained. Carson countered that he simply didn’t “agree with that assessment.” He then admitted that according to the economists he’s consulted, if loopholes and deductions are eliminated, it would still have to be between 10 and 15 percent — but it wouldn’t be 20 percent.
Wallace followed up by asking about low-income families, who not only don’t pay taxes, but usually receive an earned income tax credit instead. “Now you’ll have them pay 10 to 15 percent of income they have — or 20 percent if my experts are right. A lot of independent studies say the people that make like bandits in this are the wealthy.”
So what to do when faced with actual, ya know, facts? You start tossing a word salad of conservative cliches that make no sense together:
Carson could only then offer a vague explanation about how his tax plan is part of “an overall complex program” that involves “reorienting the way we do things in government.” The candidate said he wants to run the government “more like a business” instead of “this great inefficient behemoth we have right now,” including generating revenue by “utilizing our energy resources.” Part of his plan also includes “revamping corporate taxes and bringing in money that’s overseas by giving a tax holiday,” claiming that would bring in “$2 trillion right there.”
The more I listen to Ben Carson, the more obvious it is that he’s simply got nothing. Not a single original or interesting idea on public policy in any context at all. He’s just memorized a bunch of platitudes. And what he thinks he knows is almost invariably wrong.