Remember when he pledged a surprise tax cut for the middle class before the 2018 midterm elections? Don't expect this one to happen either.
Donald Trump on Thursday returned to one of his favorite pastimes: making a vague, empty promise that he was about to do something terrific to help middle class families.
Hours after the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration had abandoned his oft-repeated promise to devise a new "terrific" universal health care system to replace the Affordable Care Act, Trump told congressional Republicans at a Baltimore retreat that he would soon announce a big new tax cut for middle-class Americans.
While offering zero specifics, Trump said that next year he would announce a "very substantial tax cut" that would be "very, very inspirational."
As a candidate, Trump promised in 2016 that he would propose a $4.4 trillion tax cut (but that he would pretend it was a $2.6 trillion tax cut for accounting purposes). He also claimed that he would cut taxes for middle-class families by more than a third. He assured voters that he would quickly balance the budget and would pay off the national debt entirely during his time in office.
In 2017, he instead pushed for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a roughly $2.3 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited Trump himself, the very wealthy, and corporations. He claimed this would bring significant tax relief for middle class families.
It didn't. In fact, an estimated 10 million American families actually saw their taxes go up under the plan. Most Americans felt no impact and polls showed less than 40% of Americans approved of the legislation.
With an angry electorate ready to throw out the House Republican majority that rammed the tax bill through, Trump reverted to one of his typical political plays: he made an empty promise that soon he would do something the people would like.
In October 2018, the president unexpectedly announced that he was about to propose "a very major tax cut" for middle-income Americans and that he hoped to do it "sometime around the first of November, maybe a little before that."
"A major tax cut — we are going to be putting in, and are studying very deeply right now, around the clock, a major tax cut for middle-income people," Trump claimed, ignoring the inconvenient reality that Congress was not in session and would not be until after the midterms.
"Not for business at all, for middle-income people," he said. "Now, the last [one] was for middle-income, and for business, and our business is now coming back because of it. But we are looking at — and Kevin Brady is working on it, Paul Ryan is working, we’re all working on it — and we’re looking at a major tax cut for middle-income people who need it.”
That proposal never came to pass.
Now, with the economy starting to falter in part because the 2017 tax cuts for the rich have failed to actually spur the economy, Trump again is touting an amorphous tax cut that he claims could come any day.
It is unclear how Trump plans to reduce revenue further yet still balance the budget. His Treasury Department announced yesterday that the budget deficit had passed $1 trillion over the first 11 months of the fiscal year, an all-time high despite what Trump hails as the country's greatest ever economy.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.