You really have to wonder what Marco Rubio could accomplish if his political party allowed him to publicly acknowledge reality. Once again, as he did in the immigration debate, Rubio is nudging the party toward an obvious solution on poverty relief that it is not yet ready to accept.
In a tax plan assembled with the help of Sen. Lee from Utah, Rubio is proposing the beginnings of a basic income. His proposal would expand the earned income tax credit to $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families. The plan would retain a very minimal work requirement and the amount obviously isn’t enough to stave off poverty, but in other respects it is similar to Milton Friedman’s plan that Nixon tried to introduce 50 years ago.
The rest of Rubio’s tax plan retains the entire panoply of far right fiscal delusions, from ending capital gains and dividend taxes to upper income tax cuts. It retains America’s most popular welfare program for the affluent, the mortgage interest deduction. And of course, like virtually every Republican budget proposal ever drafted, it dramatically increases our annual deficits.
Still, even one nugget of partial sanity is worthy of some celebration in this climate.