Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Opinion

Tax plan reaction

Here are some excerpts of editorials reacting to President Donald Trump's tax plan.

From the New York Times:

As a rule, Republican presidents like offering tax cuts, and President Donald Trump is no different. But the skimpy one-page tax proposal his administration released Wednesday is, by any historical standard, a laughable stunt by a gang of plutocrats looking to enrich themselves at the expense of the country's future.

Two of Trump's top lieutenants — Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, both multimillionaires and former Goldman Sachs bankers — trotted out a plan that would slash taxes for businesses and wealthy families, including Trump's, in the vague hope of propelling economic growth. So as to not seem completely venal, they served up a few goodies for the average wage-earning family, among them fewer and lower tax brackets and a higher standard deduction.

• • •

Regardless of the plan's fate, Trump has already sent a strong message about where his sympathies really lie. They lie not with the working people who elected him, but with the plutocracy that envelops him.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The White House rolled out its tax principles, investing new energy in the first serious reform debate in 30 years. While the details are sparse and will have to be filled in by Congress, President Trump's outline resembles the supply-side principles he campaigned on and is an ambitious and necessary economic course correction that would help restore broad-based U.S. prosperity.

• • •

The Trump principles show the president has made growth his highest priority, and they are a rebuke to the Washington consensus that 1 percent or 2 percent growth is the best America can do. Now Mr. Trump has to show results. If anything close to his this reform can survive the political maelstrom, it will go a long way toward returning to the abundance of the 1980s and 1990s.

From the Washington Post

A deficit-raising tax cut would eventually harm economic growth by driving up government debt. As the population ages, the country is already on track to borrow more and squeeze spending for everything except interest on the debt, pensions and health care: national parks, the FBI, defense, schools and more. It would be the height of imprudence to worsen the problem, whether based on phony math or sheer heedlessness. For eight years, Republicans mercilessly attacked President Barack Obama for doing too little to cut federal deficits. Will they really turn around now and approve a budget-busting tax cut?

From the Baltimore Sun

It would be unfair of us to criticize President Donald Trump's tax plan as a gold-plated give-away to businessman Donald Trump. We do not in fact know that his proposal to slash tax rates more than in half for corporations and business entities like the one he and his family control would save him millions in taxes. After all, he has refused to release his tax returns, so how can we say?

But the prospect that Wednesday's hastily concocted tax reform announcement — the promise of which appeared to surprise everyone from Capitol Hill to the Treasury Department — would enrich the president personally is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the reasons it should not (and almost certainly will not) become law. The fiscal and political realities of what the Trump administration has proposed make it a nonstarter, even for tax-hating Republicans in Congress. This is not a serious proposal for overhauling a bloated, convoluted and frequently unfair tax code.

From the Washington Times

The Trump proposal would impose a top tax rate of 35 percent on individuals, down from 39.6 percent at present but more than the 33 percent he proposed on the stump. A standard deduction for everyone would be doubled, but deductions except for mortgage interest and charitable contributions, including those to religious institutions, would be eliminated.

President Trump and many economists argue that tax cuts will make the economy, sluggish over the past eight years, blossom and grow, restrain deficits and restore public confidence in the government.

"We've been hearing from the (Obama) administration that 3 percent growth is hard to get to, and they couldn't get there," says Steven Mnuchin, the secretary of the Treasury, "and that's why we got this new president. If there had been a 3 percent growth maybe there would have been a different outcome."

But the president's tax-cut proposal, like his proposed budget, is just that, a proposal. Presidents propose and Congress can, and usually does, dispose.

• • •

But tax reform is finally on the table, and that's a start.

Comments
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