President Donald Trump’s reportedly told Democratic Senators last week that he would personally be a “big loser” under the House GOP’s tax proposal. He continued, saying that the ending of the estate tax (at an approximate cost of $269 billion over ten years) was “throw[n] in” just so “rich people” had “something.”
Given the huge cuts for pass-through corporations and the elimination of the alternative minimum tax, characterizing the estate tax as being the only beneficial item for the wealthy is clearly untrue. Trump’s claim that he would be harmed by the bill isn’t falsifiable, since he won’t release his taxes. It is, however, very difficult to believe. In the only semi-recent Trump tax return made public, the alternative minimum tax increased his total tax bill by nearly 600%, costing him an additional $31 million.
Trump’s dishonest pitch has stiff competition for the most dispiriting argument made in favor of quickly passing the GOP plan. Among the standouts:
- “The most excited group out there are big CEOs….” – Chief economic advisor Gary Cohn. (Cohn was later astonished when a group of CEOs largely declined to commit to increasing investments, even if the tax plan passed.)
- “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.’ ” – Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)
- If it doesn’t pass, “financial contributions will stop.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
- The Roy Moore scandal in Alabama may cost Republicans a Senate seat next month, so they need to pass it before then. – Axios, per a “source close to leadership”
None of these are good reasons to rush a bill that will cost $1.4 trillion, largely going to handouts for the wealthy and corporations, while raising taxes on 47 million Americans.
As with the health care vote, the process has been hurried, secretive and almost entirely partisan. Even worse, the Senate has now added repealing the individual mandate to their version of the bill.