MSNBC’s Velshi and Ruhle: Neither “legitimate economists” nor “recent history” back up ideas behind Trump’s tax plan

Ali Velshi: “We have to note that this tax cutting is based on an unsupported assumption that doing so will somehow speed up the economy at such a rate that there will not be any increase to the deficit”

From the September 13 edition of MSNBC Live:

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STEPHANIE RUHLE (CO-HOST): The president also tweeted this morning, quote, “The approval process for the biggest tax cut and tax reform package in the history of our country will soon begin. Move fast, Congress!” Exclamation point. Followed by, “With Irma and Harvey devastation, tax cuts and tax reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!”

ALI VELSHI (CO-HOST): All right. What do we know? Let's just talk about what we know about the plan so we can actually talk about it. Walk with me over here and let me show you what the White House says the goals are. One of them is simplifying the tax code. Not a terrible goal. You can pretty much get everybody in the country to agree that the tax code is too complicated. So one thing they want to do is reduce the number of tax brackets to three instead of seven and eliminate the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax. This starts to get -- particularly the last one, the estate tax -- that starts to get a little more complicated and a little more political. Also among the goals are to reduce tax rates for individuals and businesses to grow the economy and do not add debt and deficit. We should put a fourth bullet here, Stephanie Ruhle, which is also to add a full head of hair to me because that's -- this it close to impossible. But we're going to discuss that as well. The White House has released a few specifics, not nearly enough for the biggest tax reform plan in the history of the planet. But we have a few specifics. The plan calls for doubling the standard deduction that you can take on your tax return, cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from the current 35 percent. Just understand a couple things. We're not really at 35 percent. The rate that people pay, companies pay, is somewhere between 14 and 25 percent, depending how you are. And a lot of people, including the president, are backing away from getting down to 15 percent. That's hard to do. Not impossible, but hard. And extending reduced rates for small businesses. This could be interesting. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is indicating that this 15 percent corporate rate may be in jeopardy.


Secretary Mnuchin also said the goal now is to get tax reform. I really am loathe to use the term “tax reform” until I see what this is. It looks like tax cuts funded by the deficit. But he wants to get it done.

RUHLE: We'll see.

VELSHI: Right. Show me and we'll change our view on it. He wants to get it done by the end of the year. You remember the original goal was getting it done before the August recess. That was delayed because health care didn't get done. And we have to note that this tax cutting is based on an unsupported assumption that doing so will somehow speed up the economy at such a rate that there will not be any increase to the deficit. 

RUHLE: Very few legitimate economists support that notion and recent history doesn't support it either. What this might end up becoming is the biggest deficit finance tax cut in U.S. history with precious -- with very, very little reform, actually.


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