The presidential candidates have vastly different tax plans, but you wouldn't know it by just listening to them. It's difficult to translate words like "tax cuts for the middle class" into a real understanding of what a candidate proposes to do.
So we asked the Tax Policy Center to help us calculate what would happen to people of various income ranges if a candidate won the election and enacted his or her tax plan. If you want to know what would happen to you specifically, use our calculator here.
But in this story, we want to give you a bird's-eye view of what happens to everyone — the poor, the middle class, and the wealthy — and how that fits into each candidate's plan. To give you a quick primer, here's what each candidate proposes to do:
- Donald Trump proposes huge tax cuts across the board, but especially large cuts for the wealthy. But he doesn't have explicit offsetting spending cuts.
- Ted Cruz proposes huge cuts across the board as well, and even larger cuts for the wealthy. He proposes a 10 percent flat rate on income tax and a 16 percent value-added tax.
- Hillary Clinton wants to keep things mostly the same. She does propose raising taxes, but most increases are for wealthier households, while lower-income families aren't affected much.
- Bernie Sanders proposes tax increases across the board, but wealthier households would face massive tax hikes. This is to pay for new spending programs, like health care and education.
(Note: The Tax Policy Center couldn't project John Kasich's plan, because his campaign hasn't provided enough information to do so.)