From the folks who brought you “Cut, Cap and Balance” comes a plan to create jobs by growing the economy — not the government. The Republican Study Committee this morning unveiled the Jobs Through Growth Act, a bill that incorporates tax reform, regulatory rollback and boosts to energy production. The legislation builds upon the past work of House Republicans, packaging “the best of the best” into one neat program.
Among other things, the bill creates a new optional tax system, in which taxpayers pay just two rates: 15 percent on the first $50,000 of income for single filers or the first $100,000 of income for joint filers and 25 percent on all income above that. The system also includes generous deductions for dependents and eliminates the marriage penalty. No matter what — even if no taxpayers were to opt in to the new system — the bill eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax and caps the tax rate on investment income at 15 percent. Jobs Through Growth also lowers the corporate tax rate to 25 percent and eliminates the Death Tax.
The regulatory rollback components of the program are, perhaps, the cleanest-cut. The bill imposes a moratorium on major regulation until the economy has fully recovered, expands small business exemptions from regulations and returns oversight authority of regulations to Congress. (That last part comes from The REINS Act, which will surely reach the floor independently at some point in the near future. That legislation, which I’ve supported for some time, simply requires congressional approval for any rule that would have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more. We’ve seen that legislating through the executive branch has become a growing problem. This could curtail that somewhat.)
Lastly, with this legislation, the House reiterates its commitment to domestic energy production. Jobs Through Growth would enable the Gulf permitting process to resume its usual rate (remember, permitting has slowed inexcusably under the Obama administration), opens up federal lands for energy production, extends leases to drill on the Outer Continental Shelf and greenlights the Keystone Pipeline project.
The entire program stands in stark contrast to the president’s second stimulus, a series of short-term measures that sound good in theory, but have to be paid for with tax hikes. The RSC’s plan — especially when considered in tandem with the Committee’s serious, substantive proposals to rein in spending, starting with its budget and continuing with “Cut, Cap and Balance” — hits at the heart of what has caused the nation’s present joblessness: out-of-control government spending, a regulatory environment run amok, the crony capitalism made possible in part by a complicated tax code and the clampdown on energy production.
The program also stands in stark contrast to the lack of action in the Senate. The House has already passed fifteen jobs bills that still await action in the Senate. Now, the RSC has added a comprehensive plan to that list. When will the Senate and the president stop looking for the easy political solutions and start addressing the underlying problems with the hard solutions? Both could take a lesson from the RSC.
Update: This post originally incorrectly stated the tax brackets under the new alternative, optional tax system. The post has been corrected above.