The lower rates would be financed by eliminating the various tax breaks and goodies currently in the code, which account for hundreds of billions in lost revenue each year. Nothing new there. Leaders in both parties as well as several bipartisan commissions have pitched the idea of using these tax expenditures to lower individual rates and Huntsman claims his own plan is inspired by Simpson-Bowles.
But there are a few very significant, very regressive differences. While Simpson-Bowles offered up a variation of Huntsman's plan to eliminate all tax expenditures in its final report, it didn't actually endorse it. In fact, it went out of its way to showcase alternatives that would offer additional protection to poor and middle class Americans while asking the rich to pay just a bit more. That's because while some of the tax expenditures out there are corporate giveaways, others are popular breaks aimed at helping the average taxpayer: examples include the earned income tax credit, the child credit, and tax exemptions for employer-provided health insurance.
Huntsman's plan would eliminate all of them. In addition, rather than using a portion of the revenue from ending them to help pay down the deficit as Bowles-Simpson proposed, it would instead use them to eliminate the capital gains tax, which disproportionately benefits the ultra-rich. Per ThinkProgress, estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center indicate that a zero expenditure plan would add up to about $1,890 in higher taxes for middle class families while the richest 0.1% of the population would score an average $486,000 in savings from the capital gains cut.