This simple calculator tells you how each presidential candidate's tax plan affects you
The presidential candidates have wildly varying tax proposals.
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz propose massive cuts that would greatly reduce federal income taxes on everyone, especially the wealthy, while cutting a wide host of government programs. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders proposes virtually the opposite: tax increases on everyone, with hikes on the wealthy especially, while adding comprehensive government programs. And Hillary Clinton proposes much smaller tax increases, all focused on the rich.
But what do their plans mean for your federal tax liability?
We partnered with the Tax Policy Center to create a calculator that will estimate how each presidential candidate's tax plan would affect you — or, more accurately, people like you. For example, if you are part of a couple with two children earning $38,000 a year, this calculator tells you the average change in federal taxes for all couples with two children who earn between $35,000 and $40,000 a year.
Before you change your vacation plans based on these numbers, keep in mind they are only estimates. Every taxpayer has a slightly different situation — someone might be deducting business expenses, for example, while another person will be paying a tax for not carrying insurance coverage. This creates millions of different scenarios.
Sanders plan becaomes much more affordable when you take into account NOT paying for provate health insurance, since his plan includes single payer health care. We pay a LOT more than the additional tax estimated just for our premiums, deductables, and co pays. And meds. Heck, our family max amount payable before insurance takes over 100% of cost is higher than the yearly tax increase!
Also remember education. How much does a household pay on public colleges?
Obama wanted to offer free junior college tuition and Sanders wants to add on another 2 years. (Or is it more? Has he said anything about post grad education?)
All of which is sort of playing with numbers instead of tiddly-winks. The president does not determine tax policy. If Cruz or Trump or Sanders or Clinton were elected there is zero chance that their tax plan would ever become law. The most you can say is that whoever is elected will keep a finger on the Ouija board pointer, along with 600 or so others who would have their fingers there too.
A president can have a friendly legislator introduce a bill written by the White House, a president might sometimes broker a compromise (think obamacare) in Congress, and the president can veto a passed bill. But that's it. A president has nudging power and trashcanning power only.
I prefer Sanders. That is not because I think he can or will make the changes he talks about, but because I think his heart is in the right place and I trust him more than the others. He said early on that what he proposes would be a matter of several administrations and that he couldn't wave a magic wand and make it all come true.