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The Winner Tonight: Iowa's 1 Percent | The Nation

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George Zornick

George Zornick

Action and dysfunction in the Beltway swamp. E-mail tips to george@thenation.com

The Winner Tonight: Iowa's 1 Percent

Iowa may be much more socially conservative than most states—behold the recent rise of Rick Santorum—but on economic measures, Iowa more closely resembles the rest of the country. The median income in 2010 was $48,031, just off the national average of $50,046. Increased demand for agricultural products has kept the unemployment relatively low, at 5.7 percent, but over 400,000 Iowans still live below the poverty line—that’s 13 percent of the state.

So how do the Republican candidates traversing the state today and asking for support plan to address income inequality, if it all? The answer—brace yourself—is to shift even more income to the top one percent.

Citizens for Tax Justice performed an analysis of three candidates’ plans: Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. The others didn’t provide enough detail for analysis, but the numbers we do have suggest that no matter which candidate delivers a victory speech this evening, the interests of the state’s wealthiest members will surely triumph.

The worst among the plans examined belongs to Newt Gingrich—if enacted, his proposed tax structure would award the wealthiest one percent of Iowans a $228,050 tax cut in 2014. Comparatively, the middle fifth of Iowans in the income scale would get a cut of only $2,140. (Yes, that’s 100 times less). Rick Perry would hand $164,560 to the richest Iowans, while cutting taxes for the middle fifth by only $1,190—130 times less than top one percent would receive. And Mitt Romney would award $75,650 in tax cuts to each member of Iowa’s top one percent, and $1,320 to the middle fifth.

Here is CTJ's chart:

CTJ may not have had enough data to perform similar analyses for the rest of the candidates, but we can still safely assume the top one percent would come out fine under their plans. Ron Paul, for example, supports repealing the Sixteenth Amendment, which allows Congress to enact income taxes. He favors a national flat tax in its place, which is of course deeply regressive. Santorum’s plan isn’t detailed enough to analyze, but he said recently that “I’m for income inequality”—so you can draw your own conclusions about whom his tax policy might help.

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