Debate Topic! Taxes

By: Makayla Smith and Jason Ortiz

October 11, 2016; 10:58 am

Taxes are one of the most difficult concepts for anyone to wrap their mind around. Taxes become an even bigger deal when the presidential candidates try to reform them, and this year, taxes are a hot topic.

Currently our tax system is setup in brackets. The brackets are set up so that those who make the most money theoretically pay the most taxes, and those who make the least amount of money pay slim to no taxes at all. People who buy and sell stocks tend to pay fewer taxes. Any business is also taxed different than people; they pay taxes based off of their profits.

Below are our current tax brackets set for 2016 (taxes that are due April 17, 2017).

Tax Brackets based on

Tax rate Single filers Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower Married filing separately Head of household
10% Up to $9,275 Up to $18,550 Up to $9,275 Up to $13,250
15% $9,276 to $37,650 $18,551 to $75,300 $9,276 to $37,650 $13,251 to $50,400
25% $37,651 to $91,150 $75,301 to $151,900 $37,651 to $75,950 $50,401 to $130,150
28% $91,151 to $190,150 $151,901 to $231,450 $75,951 to $115,725 $130,151 to $210,800
33% $190,151 to $413,350 $231,451 to $413,350 $115,726 to $206,675 $210,801 to $413,350
35% $413,351 to $415,050 $413,351 to $466,950 $206,676 to $233,475 $413,351 to $441,000
39.6% $415,051 or more $466,951 or more $233,476 or more $441,001 or more

As of now our tax brackets range from 10% to 39.6%. This is the estimated amount that individuals should be taxed based on their incomes. This chart does not however apply to those who have the potential to be tax exempt for that year. The chart also does not show those who somehow find ways to pay less than what their brackets require.

Yet, businesses and the wealthy have found ways to create ‘loopholes’ in the tax system by lobbying to create laws so that they end up paying half of what they should, or nothing at all.

In a discussion on taxes, Mr. Pitz says, “I don’t usually vote for a party, I vote for the better candidate.” Here are both of our current presidential candidates views on what they plan to do to “reform” our tax system; hopefully by reading this you will begin to understand who you think is the better candidate.

Hillary Clinton, first, plans on restoring our tax system by trying it make it as fair as possible. This action would ensure that the wealthy are no longer getting away with paying taxes lower than a middle class family. By doing this, Hillary will be trying to close all ‘loopholes’. She also wants to cut and simplify taxes for small businesses to allow them to potentially get bigger. Clinton also believes that the middle class families need a break; she will try to give them one by giving families a tax relief in certain circumstances.

Donald Trump plans to reduce taxes for the people who fall under the working middle class. He also plans on making sure that businesses tax rates remain competitive by getting rid of ‘loopholes’, and making sure businesses pay their fair share. Trump’s biggest reform will be to get rid of all current brackets and reduce them down to only three, this way everyone is paying less.

Who is to say that either of these plans will work? Like Mr. Pitz says, “They can promise the moon, but in the end, it’s congress that passes the laws.” Hopefully, our future president will be able to work with congress to improve our current tax laws for the good of our country.

For more reading on this subject, check out:, Trump’s website, Clinton’s website


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