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Three Excellent Ideas From Jeb Bush: Liberate Two-Earner Couples And Liberate The Elderly

November 9, 2015

By John Goodman

Jeb Bush has been taking a beating lately – from the talking heads on TV and radio, from some of his own backers and from the mainstream media. But all these folks are talking about the governor’s performance as a debater. What’s getting ignored is far more important: the innovative policies he would pursue as president.

You would expect the Republican candidates to agree on many things. But Bush has introduced two novel economic ideas into the policy arena. One would liberate every two-earner couple in America from the onerous provisions of an anti-marriage tax code. The other could liberate seniors from some of the anti-work provisions of Social Security. In both cases, the economy as a whole would benefit from the skills, talents and productive ability of millions of people who are not now contributing as much as they could and would, with better economic incentives.

A third idea would liberate seniors as patients in a medical marketplace that is far too dominated by non-market rules and regualtions.

Two earner couples. Take a couple with a husband in the labor market and the wife who is stay-at-home. If the wife decides to enter the labor market, she will be in her husband’s tax bracket, even if she earns only the minimum wage. If he earns, say, $60,000, she will be in the 25 percent income tax bracket – even though her single co-workers won’t pay any income tax at all. A 15.3 percent, payroll tax pushes her marginal tax rate to 40 percent – just a tad higher than the rate at which we tax millionaires. If the couple has children, the combination of child care expenses and work related expanses can easily push the penalty for working to 60 or 70 cents on the dollar.

Read the full article at Forbes.com: Three Excellent Ideas From Jeb Bush: Liberate Two-Earner Couples And Liberate The Elderly