WASHINGTON (AP) — With an eye toward a possible run for the White House, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio signed onto an extensive plan Wednesday to cut taxes for investors, parents and businesses in an effort to spur economic growth and create jobs.
The plan would likely add billions to the national debt, though no official assessment has been done. To address the nation’s finances, Rubio said, Congress should pair a “pro-growth” tax overhaul with significant changes to Social Security and Medicare, a stand that could draw criticism from advocates for older Americans.
The Florida senator joined with Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah to unveil the package Wednesday. It builds on a plan the two senators first announced last year.
The package would simplify tax filing for most families, reducing the number of income tax brackets from seven to two. It would eliminate investment taxes on capital gains and dividends, while boosting the child tax credit.
The deduction for mortgage interest would be limited and all other itemized deductions would be scrapped, except for the one for charitable contributions.
The standard deduction and personal exemptions would be replaced by a tax credit of $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for joint filers.
“Our hope here is to trigger economic growth,” Rubio said. “We believe that economic growth will help all Americans, to improve how much money they make, by creating better-paying jobs, by making America the best place in the world for those better-paying jobs to be created.”
“I would say the vast and overwhelming majority of Americans will see significant tax relief here,” Rubio added.
Rubio is a potential Republican candidate for president in 2016, raising the profile of any policy announcement he makes.
“Let me just say that no matter what I run for, whether it’s the Senate or the presidency, of course this will be part of our platform,” Rubio said. “You think I’m going to come up with a second tax plan? This one was long enough.”
When asked about potential revenue losses from their plan, Rubio and Lee said any evaluation should include the plan’s effect on economic growth.
“I’ve never believed that tax reform by itself should pay for itself,” Rubio said. “That basically argues that the money belongs to the government and not the people.”
He explained that any plan to attack the nation’s growing debt should pair spending cuts with efforts to boost economic growth.
“This by itself is not enough. In addition to this, we need to do entitlement reform,” Rubio said.
“Our generation is going to have to accept that our Medicare and our Social Security is going to be different than our parents’,” Rubio said. “It’s still going to be the best thing in the world, but it’s going to be different. It’s going to work differently than our parents’. Otherwise, the programs go bankrupt, eventually, Medicare first and then Social Security.”
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