WASHINGTON – A year after saying he would raise taxes on the rich, President Donald Trump is now pushing a proposal that instead would give those Americans an enormous tax break.
Trump gave few details at a Wednesday speech in Springfield, Missouri, instead offering very broad priorities: a tax break for the middle class; fewer “loopholes”; bringing home companies’ overseas profits; a much lower corporate tax rate.
Only on that final component did Trump attach a specific number – 15 percent as a goal, down from the current 35 percent maximum. And it is that piece that would provide a huge benefit to the wealthiest Americans, who own a disproportionate share of the nation’s businesses, either directly or through shares of stock.
Trump said providing that tax cut would help middle- and working-class Americans because businesses would hire more employees. “We must reduce the tax rate on American businesses so they keep jobs in America, create jobs in America, and compete for workers right here in America,” Trump said at Loren Cook Company, a manufacturer of fans and blowers. “Millions of struggling citizens will be lifted from welfare to work. They will love getting up in the morning. They will love going to their job. They will love earning a big, fat, beautiful paycheck.”
Democrats, whose help Trump would almost certainly need if he wants permanent tax law changes, were quick to criticize that approach.
“Giving huge tax cuts to businesses in the hopes that wealth will magically trickle down to hardworking Americans is pure folly, and not supported by the facts,” said Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal, the ranking member on the House’s tax-writing panel.
And while Republicans and some Democrats argue that taxes are too high, taxes for all but the richest Americans are lower now than at any time since President Ronald Reagan took office, according to a HuffPost analysis of data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
In years past, including as a candidate for president starting in 2015, Trump often spoke of the need for wealthier Americans to pay more in taxes. In August of that year in Iowa, Trump said he would increase the burden on those “making hundreds of millions of dollars” in income, “because right now they are paying very little tax.”
In May 2016, Trump told ABC News that “taxes for the rich will go up somewhat.”
If he still intends for that to happen, he offered no hint of it in a 34-minute speech that…