Trump selling tax cuts he previously said were a disaster
In his jarringly inappropriate, ill-timed, speech today announcing his vague "tax reform" policy while people continue to drown in Houston, Trump praised the 1986 Reagan tax cuts, saying they "went beautifully."
Someone should ask Fox and Friends to do a segment asking why Trump apparently changed his mind about that:
By the way, even his biggest fans weren't impressed:
Update: Greg Sargent presciently previewed the speech:
what we will actually hear at this speech is the death rattle of whatever pretensions to genuine economic populism Trump has ever harbored, if any. Trump will make it official that this rhetoric is merely a disguise for the same old trickle-down economics we have heard for decades — confirming that his economic agenda is in sync with the very same GOP economic orthodoxy that he so effectively used as a foil to get elected.
Trump will not release details of his plan today. But we already know that the most recent version of his plan would shower most of their benefits on the wealthy and corporations. And the Wall Street Journal reports that this is what his plan is expected to do, quoting officials who say he will sell this as pro-worker, by claiming it will end the “rigged” economy he railed against during the campaign:
One of the officials said Mr. Trump would make a “very bipartisan speech” that would reflect Americans’ frustration that a well-connected few are reaping economic gains.
“We’re going to end the rigged system,” said the official, echoing language used by groups backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch and contending that Americans understand how they would benefit if businesses prosper. “We’re going to build a tax code that really allows all Americans to have access to the American dream.”
Trump’s plan, then, will be sold as targeting the well-connected few. But Axios reports on a remarkable quote about this from another White House official, who was pressed on how exactly Trump’s plan will target the well-connected few, given that it is expected to slash the top rate and corporate rate and repeal the estate tax.
“How I would look at this, from an American worker’s perspective, it’s basically a ‘made in America tax,'” the official said of the business tax rate, adding that it would benefit workers to bring it down to “level the playing field” with the “rest of the world.” Officials added that Trump’s plan would “un-rig” the economy by ending “special interest loopholes that have only benefited the wealthy and powerful few.”
But the broad strokes of that formulation, despite its packaging in the rhetoric of economic nationalism, actually constitute trickle-down economics.
“That’s trickle down,” Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, told me today. “This whole notion that cutting taxes on rich guys and corporations is going to stimulate capital investment — that’s trickle down warmed over once again. We’ve seen this movie before. It always turns out badly.”
Trump used to know that. Right now, however, he's just trying to get through each day, obsessed with his poll ratings and whatever the media is saying about him and worrying about whether he's going to end up in jail or impeached or both. None of this matters. It's all about him.