Over the weekend, Donald Trump claimed the GOP is working on more tax cuts.
Specifically, he said the following while speaking to reporters after an event in Nevada:
Got that? Paul Ryan and Kevin Brady are working on a “major tax cut for middle income people” that should be unveiled before November.
You’d be forgiven for being skeptical about that claim. After all, Congress isn’t in session and November is next week. In other words, Trump just made that up. He was asked about further tax reform and, unwilling to admit the obvious (which is that nobody is going to do anything until after the midterms), he decided to tell a bald-faced lie.
So outlandish was Trump’s claim that GOP lawmakers have been unable to talk their way around it, and that’s saying something, because Republicans have spent the last two years honing their skills when it comes to cleaning up this President’s messes.
According to a GOP-tied tax lobbyist who spoke to Bloomberg, there are no such plans – not even from White House officials, with whom the unnamed lobbyist recently met.
Steve Mnuchin had nothing to offer in the way of details over the weekend either and according to the above-linked post, Bloomberg made “repeated requests” to the White House seeking details and/or clarifications and received no response.
Asked about the plan on Sunday, Mnuchin (who was in Jerusalem, the first stop on his whirlwind jaunt through the Mideast), simply repeated what Trump said in Nevada, contending that Kevin Brady is hard at work on something which will see the light of day “shortly”.
“This is specifically focused on the middle class and not beyond that,” Mnuchin said, parroting Trump almost verbatim.
Also on Sunday, Thom Tillis attempted to explain how this theoretical tax cut would pay for itself, in the context of the ballooning deficit occasioned by the 2017 tax cuts. Here’s what he came up with:
Try to appreciate the sheer blatant absurdity of this situation. The 2017 tax cuts aren’t going to pay for themselves. Everybody knows that. Larry Kudlow’s fantasy world notwithstanding, the deficit is widening and U.S. interest payments are exploding. In fact, during his first year in the Oval Office, Trump presided over the largest deficit since 2012 and now holds the all-time record for most interest paid in a year.
Now, thanks to the President’s insistence on lying in the interest of what he thinks is political expediency, lawmakers are being forced to explain, on national television, how a make-believe second tax cut will pay for itself even as the first round of tax cuts has left the government hemorrhaging red ink.
And please – please – don’t let it be lost on you that Trump is doing this at a time when the unemployment rate is at a 48-year low. This is entirely anomalous:
Here’s the New York Times delivering the cold, hard facts about Trump’s Saturday claim:
There is no chance of such a plan passing even the House before the midterms, let alone the Senate, because Congress is in recess through the election.
Mnuchin said the president asked Treasury officials and Republican lawmakers to focus on developing a middle-class tax plan. But he could not offer details about which tax brackets might have lower rates or say if the package would include more generous deductions. Nor has anyone explained how — or whether — the plan would be financed or if it would again add to the nation’s widening deficit.
Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, it’s yet another instance of the President knowingly lying to the American public.
But on top of that, Trump’s Saturday comments were a tacit admission that the initial tax cuts were not in fact designed to help the middle class, which means America is ballooning the deficit and mortgaging the country’s future in the interest of lining the pockets of corporations and the wealthy.