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Wheel of Fortune: Where Will Trump's Top Tax Rate Land?

The Trump administration looks to be on the verge of lowering both corporate and individual tax rates. Several percentages have been thrown around, but what will the final number be --- and will it have the intended "trickle down" effect to boost the economy?

Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.

GLENN: All right. Today, Donald Trump is coming out with his tax plan. And 15 percent for corporate taxes. We don't know what the --

PAT: That's good.

GLENN: Yeah, we don't know what the top tax rate is going to be.

STU: Yeah, there's going to be some individual cut as well.

GLENN: Yes. Some individual cut.

PAT: During the campaign, it was -- the top rate was 25, right? Has he backed off that?

GLENN: I'm sure he did.

STU: I think so.

PAT: Probably.

STU: No, I don't think he's backed off of it yet.

GLENN: I don't think they've announced it.

STU: They have not announced it. People are saying that they think it would be better, from a cut perspective than the Paul Ryan plan. The Ryan plan had a 35 percent -- I think it was -- maybe it was 33 percent top rate. So we -- the expectation is it will be less than that. I think Trump during the campaign had a top rate of 25.

GLENN: Is he going to be able to get it passed?

PAT: If he went to 28, that would be great. Because isn't that where it was during Reagan? 28 percent.

GLENN: Reagan. Yeah, 28 percent at the top, and 15 percent for corporate would be a boon to the economy.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: Although, I'm not sure that anybody is going to spend that money. I mean, if -- if -- honestly, if they cut my taxes now as a corporation, I would reinvest some of it, but some of it, I would pull off for a rainy day. In fact, I think today, a lot of it I would pull off for a rainy day.

STU: But that has other economic benefits as well, when rainy days come, business doesn't shut down. That's a good thing.

GLENN: Correct. Correct. But it doesn't spur the economy, doesn't create jobs. It doesn't, quote, trickle down.

STU: You know, I would say it does. Maybe not all of it. But, I mean --

GLENN: Some of it would. Some of it would.

STU: Some of it would. It would increase.

GLENN: Yeah. Now, if they decided -- if he came out -- and, again, this is just basic Economics 101. If he would come out and say, "This tax cut to 28 and 15, it goes hand in hand with reduced spending." And I'm not talking about, you know, reducing it back to the spending levels of 2006. I'm talking about a 10 percent -- 10 percent across-the-board, everywhere cut.

Then I would look at that tax cut and, and I would say, "I have confidence that we're going in the right direction." And we have a chance to really spur things on. Because the government is heading in the right direction. The government is recognizing that they're part of the problem here.

Then that would spur on, I think, a massive boom. A massive boom.

STU: I'm looking right now at the tax reform that will Making America Great Again plan from the campaign. $50,000 or less, if you earn as a married couple --

GLENN: This is what he promised during the campaign.

STU: Yeah. So this is I think the fair standard to judge his proposal on. Right? Is it better or worse than this? This is what I would expect from him.

Obviously, it's what he put up in the campaign. And we'll hear it today. But income tax rate, if you're up to $50,000, married filer, 0 percent. Zero.

PAT: Pretty much everybody was doing that.

STU: But that's a good -- to lock that in was good.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: It was done a lot with write-offs and different deductions before. So now from 50,000 to 100,000, all married numbers here, that's 10 percent. If you make $100,000, your overall tax rate is going to be 5 percent.

GLENN: And I will tell you --

STU: Kind of nice.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: That's a good -- that's a good number to keep it at.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: That's what I pay God.

STU: Really, should you go more than that --

GLENN: I know what God has done for me.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: God created, not the roads, the entire universe. And he only asks for 10 percent. Help me out here.

STU: He's also responsible for the crumbling roads and bridges we have today.

GLENN: Right. Right. And the water we continually drink.

STU: Your next 200 grand, you would get taxed at 20 percent. So if you're making $300,000, you're going to pay a total of $45,000 in taxes. So that's, what, 15 percent?

GLENN: Because $300,000 is only 15 percent?

STU: Yeah. And then over $300,000, you'll go to the top rate.

GLENN: This is more progressive than any Republican that I've seen.

STU: More progressive?

GLENN: Yeah. 15 percent is your top tax rate at 300,000?

STU: Well, that's -- that would be your effective tax rate, right? So you're paying 20 percent --

GLENN: Okay. Okay.

STU: So if you make $300,000, you will have to give the government $45,000.

GLENN: Okay.

STU: Okay? Then above $300,000, you would pay at 25 percent, which is the top rate.

PAT: That's not bad at all.

GLENN: That's not bad. That's not bad.

STU: Now, there are other things in here. The big problem for most conservatives is this border adjustment tax thing, which is sort of basically a tariff to try to pay for these other cuts. However, the corporate rate drops as well, as we talked about.

GLENN: What is the border adjustment?

STU: Central. I would just say it's a tariff.

PAT: On Mexico?

STU: On everybody.

PAT: On everybody.

STU: It's a border adjustment tax. We should get an expert on to talk about it.

PAT: On all imports?

STU: It basically -- if -- if we export stuff, it's not taxed. If we import stuff, it is. So it pays a different rate.

GLENN: Okay. So wait. Wait. But that's the corporations?

STU: Yeah, that's the big sticking point right now, which a lot of conservatives don't like.

GLENN: Okay.

STU: However, there is enough in here to like. As we pointed out during the campaign, Trump did not have my favorite tax plan of all the candidates. However, his tax plan was considerably better than -- than what we have.

PAT: Oh, the best tax plan was Ted Cruz, who proposed a 10 percent flat tax, period.

STU: Yes.

PAT: Everybody pays 10 percent.

STU: With the exception of I think the first $40,000 you earn or something like that.

PAT: You seriously can't get any better than that. You can't get better than that.

STU: I did like that. Ron Paul had really good stuff on taxes as well. The other part about this is the capital gains tax, which drops down to -- I think it's -- what is it, 28 now? It goes down to 20 as a top rate. And 15 percent, up to $300,000.

PAT: Again, this will spark the economy.

STU: It would.

PAT: And then are they going to get rid of the estate tax? The death tax? I think they're talking about doing that too.

STU: I think you are right.

PAT: Which is immoral.

STU: If you're single, earn less than 25,000, or married jointly and earn less than 50, you will not owe any income tax. It removes 75 million households, over 50 percent from the income tax rolls.

We've talked about, there are issues with that as well, when you're trying to keep taxes low. When -- when you get to zero, almost no one will change it from zero.

Because it essentially becomes an entitlement to people. When you're making $50,000, you can't say, what, are you going to raise taxes on the poorest?

So it becomes politically impossible to raise those rates. The only person who ever has done it, at least in recent memory, outside of a war scenario is Ronald Reagan, who did raise one of the brackets a little bit. But, still, it's so impossible to actually --

GLENN: See, and I think morally -- politically, impossible. Morally, everyone should have skin in the game.

STU: Right. And that's the idea is, if you're not affected by tax rates, you don't care about lowering tax rates. So you wind up not being able to lower them in the future.

GLENN: And you just say, raise them. I want more stuff. Raise them. It doesn't affect me. Raise them.

STU: However, I would like everyone to have 0 percent. So it's a tough argument there.

GLENN: So would I. So would I. But, I mean, I really think -- you know, everyone should have -- quite honestly, it's kind of going back to property owners. That's the reason why we originally had -- you have to be an owner of property to vote.

STU: Right.

GLENN: Because you had to have skin in the game.

STU: Uh-huh.

GLENN: So I think your voting should be on taxes. If -- if you pay taxes -- I don't care if it's a penny, do you pay taxes? You can vote. You don't pay taxes, you're not voting.

(chuckling)

STU: Even if it's a penny.

GLENN: Even if it's a penny. But everyone should have to pay something. The widow's mite. Why is that story? Jesus asked of the woman, and who had the greater sacrifice? The woman with the widow's mite. Even Jesus asked, got to give something. Got to give something. You've got to have skin in the game.

STU: Waiting for the articles: Glenn Beck advocates poll tax. That's what they're going to --

GLENN: No.

STU: But, I mean, I do understand the concept there.

PAT: This would all be taken care of if we switched to a FairTax. Why don't we go to a FairTax.

STU: No. Don't you dare. Why would you do that?

GLENN: Why would you do that?

STU: We've got a million calls about the FairTax now. I will say, however, many people do pay other taxes, like it's --

PAT: Because the FairTax is the way to go.

STU: -- not just income tax. This is only dealing with income tax here. But it's a good tax.

GLENN: No, I know.

STU: Then you have the four brackets. Zero --

GLENN: See, well, hang on just a second. But people will learn the lesson of the -- what is he calling this? A border adjustment tax. Because you know who that is going to hit, if I understand it right, and I don't think I do --

PAT: It's going to hit everybody who shops at Walmart.

GLENN: Exactly right. That's what I was going to say.

I mean, that's where -- Target, Walmart. You're going for discount prices. They're bringing their food in. They're bringing everything in.

PAT: Everything is coming from China.

GLENN: From overseas because it's cheaper.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: Now, even Cruz had some version of this, if I remember correctly, baked into the plan, although it wasn't nearly as aggressive as the Trump one. It's sort of a way I think politicians like it, because essentially it seems like you're not taxing people. You're taxing those other countries. Like it feels better. It's why people like tariffs. It's why people like those things, because it feels a lot better.

But they would go to ten, 20, and 25 percent, instead of the current seven brackets. It eliminates the marriage penalty, the alternative minimum tax and would give you the lowest rate since World War II.

PAT: Oh, that would be great.

STU: Remember, of course, Reagan got it to a 28 percent flat rate at the very top, which was the lowest.

No business of any size from a Fortune 500 to a mom and pop, to a freelancer living job. The job would pay more than 15 percent of their business income in taxes. So that again is the corporate tax you've heard. He's actually reinforced that one recently, so we're pretty sure that's going to be part of the plan.

PAT: That would spark the economy like crazy.

STU: Oh, my gosh, that's --

PAT: That would be great.

STU: Even the left -- I've heard experts on the left come out and say we need to lower the corporate income tax.

PAT: It's the highest in the world. It's the highest in the world.

STU: It makes no sense the way we do it now.

I think liberals don't want to cut to 15, but even they want it cut. And then no family will pay the death tax.

PAT: What if we went back to a free market economy? I would wonder what would happen.

STU: Probably it would be really bad. People would be hurt.

PAT: Oh, yeah, we would go belly up. It'd just be over.

JEFFY: Hello. Oh, you'd like to get somebody on to talk about the FairTax? Sorry. We're busy, right now.

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