Rand Paul’s Plan to Give the Economy a “Steriod Injection” Could Have Scary Side Effects

Like a $15 trillion deficit.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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On Thursday, GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) unveiled his plan to give the economy a “steroid injection” by rewriting the country’s tax code down to a simple, straightforward flat tax of 14.5 percent on personal income and a 14.5 percent “business activity tax.” By Paul’s reckoning, this would save taxpayers billions and supercharge the economy almost immediately upon implementation. But at least one nonprofit group that advocates tax reform is saying that, just like a real steroid injection, Paul’s scheme to quickly bulk up the economy may have long-term and devastating effects for its health.

Setting aside all other questions about the credibility of a flat tax, nonprofit think tank Citizens for Tax Justice released its analysis of Paul’s proposal, and it’s ugly.

When the dust clears, this would leave the federal government with $1.2 trillion less in tax revenue in fiscal year 2016 if the plan were implemented immediately—a reduction of about one-third in total federal revenues. Over a decade, the plan would cost a stunning $15 trillion.

Ultimately, the fiscal realities of the tax plan might not matter. The flat tax has never caught fire as a presidential election issue. In 2012, Herman Cain had his “9-9-9” plan and Rick Perry suggested a 20 percent flat tax. Most famously, in 1996 there was Steve Forbes, who briefly looked like he could turn his magazine-famous name into a politically relevant one—but didn’t.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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