Jeb Bush challenged Donald Trump to propose a tax plan of his own during a campaign stop in New Hampshire Thursday, where the former governor continued to tout the tax overhaul he unveiled earlier in the week.
“He has to propose things and he has to be serious about it,” Bush said of the Republican frontrunner. “If he wants to be a serious candidate, he has to act like a serious candidate."
Bush has been aggressively selling his tax proposal this week, starting with a stop in South Carolina and continuing with cable TV interviews.
His plan calls for reductions in both the individual and corporate tax rate and would eliminate the estate tax, among other code simplifications. On Thursday, the independent Tax Foundation said Bush’s plan would reduce federal revenue by $3.66 trillion over 10 years and disproportionately benefit top income earners.
The candidate said concerns over increasing the country’s deficit are overblown.
“It’s broad-based,” he said of his proposal. “It looks more like the ’86 tax plan that had major economic impacts and government revenue did grow.”
Bush said there also need to be changes to regulation and curbs in spending in order to achieve an ideal fiscal situation, but said his plan is far and above the additional taxes and spending that he said liberal candidates advocate.
Looking ahead to next week’s debate, Bush said he hopes he’ll be able to talk about the policies he’s rolled out despite other distractions on the stage.
“Trump is the frontrunner so he’ll get a lot of attention,” he told reporters. “I’m still ever-ready, I'll be ready for the debate and more importantly I have the energy to serve.”
When asked if he sympathizes with his Republican opponents Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson, who have recently come under their own attacks from Trump, Bush suggested the list of Trump's targets is hardly short.
“I think I’m the #1 beneficiary of the Donald’s insults,” he said. “But look, he is who he is, he likes to disparage people.”
The governor also looked ahead to Pope Francis’ visit to the United States and predicted it will be “healthy” for the country to hear the pontiff’s message.
“I think the decisions he's made as it relates to showing mercy to people, women who have had abortions or divorce, is making it easier for people to absolve themselves from that in a traditional catholic way is fantastic,” he said.
Bush and his wife Columba will attend the Pope’s mass in Washington.