Donald Trump pitched his tax plan to a friendly audience on Tuesday night, promising a conservative gathering that broad tax cuts would bring prosperity.
Speaking at an event put on by the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, Mr Trump touted his sweeping tax plan as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalize our economy” by overhauling America’s “outdated, complex and extremely burdensome tax code”.
“Lower taxes mean bigger paychecks, more jobs, and stronger growth”, said the billionaire, calling the current corporate tax rate “a giant self-inflicted wound”.
The President mostly stuck to reciting a list of accomplishments and touting the effects of lower taxes, though he did indulge a brief aside about his oft-invoked seasonal greetings preferences, telling his audience that “you’re going to be saying merry Christmas again”.
Thwarted in his push to dissolve Barack Obama’s healthcare law, Mr Trump has turned to tax reform as his best chance at securing a still-elusive legislative victory. But the prospects remain uncertain, with administration officials and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan warning the push may be the latest to languish in the Senate.
“We look at the Senate and go, ‘What the hell is going on?’” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told POLITICO last week. “You ask me if the Republican-controlled Senate is an impediment to the administration’s agenda: All I can tell you is so far, the answer’s yes.”
Still, the Senate has moved closer to the goal by voting to advance a budget plan that opens the door to a tax overhaul.
The tax plan embraced by Mr Trump and Republican leaders would reduce the number of income tax rates from seven to three, slash the corporate tax rate, and eliminate the estate tax and various deductions. The President said the lower tax rate would encourage companies to bring profits stashed abroad back into the country.
“We are going to bring back trillions of dollars currently parked overseas”, Mr Trump said.
According to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, the plan would slim federal revenue by about $2.4tn over a decade. While the average tax bill would decline across all income groups, the report found, about half of the total benefit would go to the wealthiest 1 per cent of Americans.