Economist Ben Stein slammed Republican efforts to reform the nation's tax code Thursday, calling both the House and Senate plans "an incredibly complicated mish-mash that is internally inconsistent" and based on a key "faulty" premise.
"The whole premise of this is that if you cut taxes, everything is just going to grow like a giant mushroom after a rainstorm," Stein, the actor and comedian who also served in the Nixon White House, told Brooke Baldwin on CNN. "That's just not going to happen.
"It's never happened in the past. It's not going to happen now."
Stein's new book is "The Capitalist Code: It Can Save Your Life and Make You Very Rich."
Senate Republicans introduced its tax-reform plan Thursday, seeking a one-year delay in a corporate tax cut and leaving the mortgage interest deduction untouched for American homeowners.
The legislation would also keep seven tax brackets, with the top personal rate being 38.6 percent, and would repeal the state and local tax deduction.
The House version, put forth last week and passed Thursday by the Ways and Means Committee, would cut the number of tax brackets to three from the current seven and would impose an immediate reduction in the corporate rate — from 35 percent to 20 percent — and would repeal the state tax deduction.
"The premise is that if you cut taxes, you'll bring in more revenue and bring in so much more revenue that you will offset and overwhelm the tax laws from the cut in tax rates," Stein told Baldwin. "That, obviously, is not going to happen.
"If that were going to happen, they wouldn't need to cut out these state and local tax deductions," he argued. "They wouldn't need to have a slow repeal instead of rapid repeal of the estate tax."
However, Stein said he has long supported cutting corporate taxes because "that is income that's going to stockholders.
"That's income should be taxed directly to the stockholders.
"Otherwise, it's an incredibly complicated mish-mash that is internally inconsistent."
The paradox lies with the basic mission of the Republican Party, Stein said.
"Republicans are supposed to be the party responsible budget policy, supposed to be the policy of balancing the budget.
"We have gone so far away from that it's insane."
He added higher-income Americans should pay more taxes.
"They have to have their taxes raised," Stein told Baldwin. "Not lowered, raised, and we have to have a tax cut for the middle class.
"It's really, really simple.
"The rich should pay more tax in this country," he said. "They are called rich for a reason."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.