Get ready for Donald Trump's murky, soak-the-rich tax reform plan

Trump will make the case for tax reform, but the public is lacking specifics

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published August 30, 2017 8:09AM (EDT)

 (Getty/Mark Wilson)
(Getty/Mark Wilson)

President Donald Trump is determined to pass tax reform, if for no other reason than it will give him a much-needed legislative victory more than seven months into his presidency.

Although Trump plans on pushing for tax reform in a Thursday speech at Springfield, Missouri, he isn't planning on offering many policy specifics in his address, according to The Washington Post. Instead, the speech — which will be authored by senior White House aide Stephen Miller — will use phrases like "Jump-start America" and "Win again," according to Politico. In order to read as populist rhetoric, the speech will focus on eliminating deductions for the wealthy, lowering rates for middle-class Americans and characterizing lower corporate tax rates as spurs for job creation.

One senior administration official told the Post that Trump's plan is to convince his supporters that "the economy is rigged — that it only benefits a very small [number of] wealthy and well-connected few . . . The president is going to really hammer on that."

That said, there is one possible challenge to Trump's ambitions — namely, the fact that many Republicans in Congress aren't sure they want to follow his lead.

In addition to the fact that there is no Republican consensus on how to advance this issue, the party's leaders in both congressional chambers are apparently planning on pursuing their own agendas instead of following the president's. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are each developing their own plans, which do not include Trump policy staples like a 15 percent corporate tax rate, according to Axios.

One concern is whether the tax cuts will increase the budget deficit. McConnell himself acknowledged the validity of this issue in response to a reporter's question last week, saying that "there’s some internal debate about that that we’ll have to sort out among ourselves."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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