Remember earlier this year when Donald Trump, in a meeting with executives, promised something “phenomenal” on taxes?
Specifically, this is what Trump told airline CEOs on February 9:
We are going to be announcing something over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax.
The next day (so, February 10), the White House felt the need to reassure the market that Trump wasn’t just making things up. Here’s a Bloomberg headline that hit around 24 hours after the “phenomenal” soundbite crossed the wires:
Trump’s ‘Phenomenal’ Tax Plan Is Real: White House Official Says
That right there should tell you something about how nervous White House officials were even back then (not even three weeks after the inauguration) about the extent to which the public was starting to get the idea that Trump’s ad hoc, on-the-fly remarks aren’t based in reality.
Sure enough, it wouldn’t be until late April when we got a peek at what “phenomenal” looks like and as it turns out, it looks a lot like something that would have walked out of a high schooler’s Trapper Keeper: bullet points, big font, wide margins, double-spaced. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the “plan” Cohn and Mnuchin unveiled on April 26:
So yeah – basically someone typed that up about an hour before it was released to the public.
Well, fast forward another five months and we’re supposed to believe that all will be revealed in less than two weeks.
“Tax overhaul will begin with an outline that will be released on the 25th, when the tax-writing committees will solicit input from lawmakers,” Paul Ryan told reporters a short while ago, adding that “the idea is that the House, Senate, and White House are starting on the same page with an outline, and then the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees will work on the details.”
If that sounds laughably vague to you, that’s because it is.
Ryan’s comments come on the heels of the following (via Bloomberg):
Kevin Brady, the chief House tax writer, told the chamber’s Republicans that White House leaders and congressional leaders working on a tax plan will release a framework the week of Sept. 25.
The document will include “core elements of tax reform” among the so-called Big Six, said Brady. White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the target date is Sept. 25.
Brady thanked members for their hard work on tax overhaul and emphasized that the stakes are higher than ever that the GOP delivers on its tax promises during a closed door meeting Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the meeting who asked not to be named. Brady told members that following the tax plan release, the focus will turn to the House and Senate completing the budget process by mid-October, the person said. Brady added that the budget is necessary for a tax revamp.
Now look, maybe they will indeed release something in 12 days. Indeed, they seem to be instituting a self-imposed deadline perhaps in an effort to light a fire under their own asses. But if anything, this underscores the fact that we aren’t even close to making any serious progress on this.
So if you’re one of the people getting long USD or dumping Treasurys on this news, caveat emptor…