Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has suggested enacting a foolhardy and frightening fiscal policy that one commentator has aptly dubbed “Trumponomics.” “Bidenomics,” which is serving to reduce America’s economic inequality, has suffered from bad branding and poor communications, but Trumponomics would most certainly be a disaster that increases economic inequality—and very possibly destroys America’s economy.  The Heritage Foundation’s “Project 2025” lays out a frightening array of anti-democratic plans for another Trump administration, but no matter how ugly and authoritarian the project’s objectives, it might not be as destructive as Trumponomics.

In a nutshell, Trump wants to eliminate income taxes and replace the lost revenue with a huge tariff on imports, the results most likely including a global trade war, a dramatic rise in the cost of living for the middle class, the destruction of American businesses that rely on imports, and a tremendous increase in our already excessive national debt—which Trump already increased by $7.8 trillion during his first time by cutting taxes on business and the wealthy.  To call this destructive policy “regressive” taxation is an understatement.  The result, in effect, would be a massive tax cut for the very wealthy and a tremendous increase in consumer prices for the middle class. (People who think importers pay the cost of tariffs are mistaken; the largest portion of tariffs are paid for by the end consumer.)

Truck, planes, ship

Abolishing the income tax would drastically reduce the federal budget and all but obliterate the administrative state, thus helping facilitate the primary goal of Project 2025.  To make up for the lost tax revenue, Trump would very likely have to impose a tariff as high as 100% on all imports, meaning the cost of imported items such as clothing, electronics, and appliances could double.  This would create a downward spiral, in which huge price increases would drive down the demand for imported goods, decreasing the revenue generated by the tariff.  America previously experimented with a dramatic increase in tariffs (the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930), which is widely considered to have worsened the Great Depression, which lasted more than a decade. The end result of Trumponomics would inevitably be massive federal deficits and the necessity for equally massive government spending cuts, very possibly including entitlement programs—which is, of course, what the far-right authors of Project 2025 really want.  

Trump’s Proposal to Eliminate the Federal Income Tax in Favor of Higher Tariffs Would Be an Economic Disaster for America!


Even if you accept the thoroughly debunked theory of “trickle-down” economics, if the economy is destroyed, there won’t be anything left to trickle down.  If people think they’re suffering from inflation now, it’s nothing compared to what they’ll experience if the cost of imports increases by anything close to 100%!  The rich don’t pay anywhere near their fair share of taxes now, but removing the income tax would mean they’d pay almost nothing compared to the rest of us.  Putting the overwhelming injustice aside, don’t Trump and his right-wing cronies realize that if they cut programs like Social Security and Medicare it would be a disaster for the economy, let alone people’s lives, many of whom are their own MAGA voters?

Trumponomics may not have been included in Project 2025, but enacting this ridiculous, destructive proposal would go a long way to destroying the administrative state so hated by the far-right.  These right-wingers want to go back to the days before FDR’s “New Deal” helped create modern America and return to the rampant inequality of the “roaring twenties,” when much of the population lived in abject poverty, even before the advent of the Depression.  Unless Trump is stopped by electoral defeat in November, he will continue to harness his MAGA suckers to achieve new heights of selfishness and greed.

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