As President Donald Trump closes in on his 100th day in office, his plan to reform America’s tax structure was unveiled today — and White House Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn called it simply “one of the biggest tax cuts in American history.”
“There are a lot of people in this country who … are sick of turning their paycheck over to Washington and having no idea how those dollars are spent,” Cohn said before announcing proposed reforms including moving from seven individual tax brackets to three — 10%, 25% and 35% –and doubling the standard deduction for families. That translates to a “zero tax rate for the first $24,000 a couple earns.”
The pair also proposed bigger tax breaks for child care costs, an end to the alternative minimum tax and so-called “death tax” and killing most itemized deductions in an effort to simplify the process.
And take note, Hollywood: Cohn also made official a proposed reduction of the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35% — the world’s-highest — to 15%.
Sounds good, but there was a decided lack of detail in today’s announcement. Indeed, one reporter asked if the plan is revenue neutral — meaning does it pay for itself. “This will pay for itself with growth and with reduction of different deductions and closing loopholes,” Treasury Secretary and prolific Hollywood producer Steven Mnuchin said from the podium. In his opening remarks earlier, he noted, “We are determined to move this as fast as we can and get this done this year.”
The key word is growth, which the administration appears to be betting on mightily in the hope of lowering the country’s massive debt load. Otherwise, a lot less money coming in means a lot less money to spend — or more piled on to the ballooning U.S. deficit.
Meanwhile, reporters peppered the pair with questions about how the cuts would affect taxpayer Donald Trump — and whether or when POTUS will release his tax returns. Both economists appeared to grow weary of the questioning, and the bottom line appears to be “don’t hold your breath.”
Trump was in the Roosevelt Room this afternoon to sign an executive order — what else? — on education. “It’s a great plan,” he said of the tax proposal, per a pool report. “It’s going to put people back to work.”
Said Mnuchin, whose dozens of recent producing credits range from The Lego Movie and Annabelle to Suicide Squad, Mad Max: Fury Road and Fist Fight, “The overall economic plan consists of massive tax cuts and tax reform, regulatory relief and renegotiating trade deals, and with that we will unlock the economic growth that’s been held back for too long in this country.”
Said Cohn: “This isn’t going to be easy. Doing big things never is. We’ll be attacked from the left, and we’ll be attacked from the right, but one thing is certain: I would never, ever, bet against this president.”