NOTE: Just a few days after Donald’s Inauguration, I described the basics of what might have been Trump’s expected Tax Plan in a blog post. Three months later, it’s still quite vague!
Although Trump prefers to label it as Tax Reform, yesterday’s big presentation was nothing but a vague suggestion of a Tax Give-Away, mostly to corporations and the top two percent of taxpayers. The stock market displayed its ecstasy by closing down a bit lower, and perhaps wondering if they had seen this movie before. Whatever might come of his Tax Plan, the corporate interests, who truly would benefit from a 57% tax-cut (from 35% to 15%) know that it still must get through Congress, and that is saying something!
Donald Trump will reach Day 100 on Saturday, after which pundits will begIn to slice-and-dice his accomplishments, most of which are quite minimal. That’s why he has been rushing to make big announcements, even if they are still in the early stages, and not thought-out. For instance: his visit to the Treasury Department, a couple of days ago, was nothing but a charade, signing an “Executive Order”, which directed Secretary Steve Mnuchin to do what he is already doing. And then today, Health Care is back in the news, as was an unnecessary briefing on North Korea, for the Senate, at the White House!
Over the past 22 months, Trump has vowed to reform the IRS Tax Code, and he complains that the Corporate Rate is too high. Donald, few companies actually pay the top rate of 35%. In fact, approximately ten percent pay no tax at all! For comparison, the Average “Effective Tax Rate” (after credits and deductions), that U. S. corporations pay is 27.7%, while the average for OECD (industrialized corporations) is 27.1%. So, the actual difference isn’t really much to complain about!
The really big question is how does the Trump Regime expects to pay for these give-aways—tax cuts to corporations; a one-time Tax Holiday for companies to repatriate earnings held overseas; tax cuts for the very wealthy taxpayers; and the elimination of the Estate Tax, which only about 6,000 families pay. And by the way, none of these tax cuts would boost the economy or have much of an effect on job creation!
There is one other give-away, which is not boasted about, perhaps because it tells of a personal special interest group; but, it would certainly appeal to Donald Trump’s billionaire buddies. Many very wealthy people file their taxes as Individuals, which would mean the 35% maximum personal rate. They are, for instance; doctors; lawyers; hedge funds; real estate developers; etc. Donald’s Plan proposes the establishment of some sort of tax vehicle, which would enable such taxpayers to file as corporations—at the 15%.rate!
Parsing the Plan, as presented, I can assume a best-efforts guesstimate, that this Trump Tax Reform Plan might reduce the Treasury Department’s Tax Revenue by, let’ say, $4 Trillion over the next decade, or $400 Billion annually. So, how does the Treasury recoup that huge loss? MAGIC!
Donald Trump and Secretary Mnuchin claim that, by lowering taxes on the wealthy, the economy would grow and that would, in turn, increase tax receipts. Since Ronald Reagan first proposed the “Trickle-Down” Theory, ing 1980, it has never been successfully demonstrated in the real world. The divergence, both in Income and Wealth, however, ,has increased substantially, in America ever since. Why would anyone expect the result be different this rime?
How many times are we going to hear Donald Trump boast about “Gonna-Do’s”, that aren’t on any sort of rational horizon: Health Care; Tax Reform; Infrastructure; Immigration Reform’ Trade Reform; The Wall, etc? At the same time, he acts like Congress and the American People are supposed to kiss his Royal Derriere. No, Donald, you’re no longer a Candidate, you must play by the Constitutional Rules, and we get to keep score!
NOTE #2: Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman described the Trump Tax Plan, in his NY Times column, with the following analogy to a “Twilight Zone” episode, about a six year-old child, with exceptional powers.