Comparing the Gingrich and Romney tax plans
Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, gestures as he talks to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during a Republican presidential debate Monday Jan. 23, 2012, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla. (AP)
At least Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney agree on one thing: the American tax system needs an overhaul.
That said, their ideas on what that overhaul should look like are very different. CBS News examined the tax plans from the top GOP presidential candidates.CBS News correspondent Norah O'Donnell reports that Newt Gingrich calls his tax plan a page from Ronald Reagan's playbook. (Watch O'Donnell's full reports at left.)
"I want to create jobs very dramatically, so we have zero capital gains tax to bring in hundreds of billions of dollars of new revenue, new investments," Gingrich says.
Capital gains tax is paid on income from investments. It's 15 percent right now, and that's why taxes are low on billionaires like Warren Buffett. But Gingrich says that's not low enough, and he would also eliminate the tax on capital gains, as well as abolish estate taxes.
For corporations, he would cut income taxes from a maximum of 35 percent to 12.5 percent. Individual taxpayers would have the choice to file under the current tax policy or choose a 15 percent flat tax.
Gingrich is convinced that reducing or eliminating all these taxes will actually raise revenues for the government by stimulating investment and expanding business.
"When we cut the capital gains tax in the 90s, the revenue went up dramatically. When we cut taxes in the 80s, we had an explosion of 16 million new jobs," Gingrich said.
To critics who say his plans would blow a hole in the deficit, Gingrich says he would insist on controlling spending, on reforming entitlements and on opening up federal lands for on and off-shore oil and gas exploration to increase revenues.CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford reports that Romney is not calling for immediate radical change. He would maintain existing personal income tax rates for now, but with several key changes to encourage savings and spur job creation. (Watch Crawford's full report at left.)
"For those in middle income, anyone earning under $200,000 a year, I would propose paying no taxes whatsoever on their savings. I think the people who've been hurt most in the Obama economy should be able to save money tax free," Romney says.
That means Romney would eliminate the tax on dividends, interest and capital gains only for people who make less than $200,000 a year. He would make other changes that affect all taxpayers, including: Permanently extending the Bush tax cuts, which lowered individual income tax rates and cut the child tax credit in half; Eliminating the estate tax; and cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.
Romney has come under fire from some conservatives - and the Wall Street Journal - because they say his tax plan is too timid and doesn't go far enough to lower taxes now.
The non-partisan Tax Policy Center in Washington estimates that if the Bush tax cuts stay in plane, the Romney plan would add $180 billion to the deficit in the year 2015. The Gingrich plan would add $850 billion that year.
The candidates argue that cutting taxes would create so many businesses and jobs that ultimately there would be more tax revenue, not less.
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