Less than two weeks ago, Donald Trump sent Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn out in front of reporters to unveil the administration's "massive," "phenomenal," "big league" tax plan.
The big reveal turned out to be a one-page, double-spaced outline that gave the impression it had been slapped together minutes before the press conference. When Mnuchin and Cohn were asked basic details about how the plan would work, their answers, invariably, were "we're working on the details."
Yet despite Team Trump clearly not having a plan for tax reform beyond the basics of taking the seven existing individual tax brackets down to three, getting rid of the inheritance tax, and, most importantly, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and allowing people like, for instance, Donald Trump, whose businesses are organized as pass-throughs, to pay their personal taxes at the 15 percent rate, Trump and those who work for him still believe they can get this thing done before the end of the year.
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That seems, to borrow the treasury secretary's phraseology, "highly aggressive to not realistic" for a few reasons, not the least of which being it would cut into the president's jam-packed TV-watching schedule.
The first is
Donald Trump may or may not know this, but the bill that passed the House last week faces a serious battle in the Senate before it can come close to his desk. According to Axios, if a bill even gets to the Oval Office, it likely won't be before the fall.
Another thing quick tax reform has going against it, per Axios, is that that "for the first time, some key Republicans are pessimistic that tax reform can be finalized this year," which could push a tax bill into 2018, which would be even worse for a president hoping to get this thing done ASAP, as "ambitious bills are even harder in an election year since the other side doesn't want to give the White House a win."
Furthermore, "massive spending for an infrastructure package will be a tough sell with the hard-line House Freedom Caucus and some Senate conservatives," meaning Trump will need Democratic support, which is highly unlikely in general and extremely unlikely specifically before the midterm elections, given that no Democrat wants to see an ad featuring them working so closely with the president that his self-tanner rubs off on them.
Of course, the fact that tax reform might not get done till some time in 2018 hasn't stopped Paul Ryan from getting out there and making his case to the heartland. The House Speaker, who's likely dreamed about slashing taxes for as long has he's dreamed about taking away
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