On Wednesday, the network morning shows responded to President Trump’s tax reform plan with the standard liberal rhetoric employed whenever Republicans call for tax cuts: How are you going to pay for this massive loss of government revenue?! The ABC and NBC broadcasts also feared the plan would help Trump financially (as it would for all Americans).
At the top of ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos breathlessly announced that the President was “calling for sweeping cuts” in taxes, followed minutes later by correspondent Cecilia Vega sounding the alarm: “The opposition already in overdrive. One estimate says an early version of the President’s plan could cost as much as $6 trillion in lost revenue over ten years.”
Talking to Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl after Vega’s report, Stephanopoulos fretted: “Jon, the President apparently also proposing a major change that could cut his own personal tax bill by more than half.” Karl explained: “...the corporate tax rate under this plan would go from 35% to 15%. And reportedly, this would also apply to companies that file their taxes through the personal tax code. George, that would mean companies like the Trump Organization.”
The reporter declared: “So it’s quite possible this would mean a windfall for Donald Trump personally and his family.” Karl then made sure get in an extra dig at Trump: “Of course, we won’t know for sure because he hasn’t released his tax returns.”
Leading off NBC’s Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed that the President’s “plan to overhaul the nation’s tax system” would include “major cuts for big business” and demanded: “...how does the White House plan to pay for it?”
Correspondent Peter Alexander echoed Karl:
The headliner here, the proposed slashing of the business tax rate to 15%. That would apply to big corporations, to small businesses, even to real estate firms like Trump’s....This morning, already critics are pouncing on the fact that the public has yet to see the President’s own tax returns, questioning how President Trump would stand to benefit from his own plan.
Co-host Savannah Guthrie discussed the policy proposal with CNBC host Jim Cramer and quickly turned the conversation toward how to “pay for” allowing people to keep more of their own money: “Of course there’s the question of paying for it. And already we’re seeing some proposals floated. Maybe reducing how much you can deduct from your 401 K, perhaps getting rid of or curbing the mortgage deduction. How’s that gonna fly?”
Cramer warned: “I think the 401 K would frankly be something that Americans would hate. It’s just the best way we save. Why would you take that away?” Guthrie lectured: “Well, I guess the idea is because if you’re going to reduce taxes, that revenue is going down and you’ve got to make up for it somewhere.”
Later in the exchange, she pressed:
Back to this issue, I mean, what we’re talking about is a huge tax cut, and the question is, how you pay for it, if at all? If you don’t pay for it, in other words, if you don’t raise spending [sic] or raise taxes somewhere else, you start spending and you’re going into deficit spending. Does that bother you? Traditionally Republicans do not like deficit spending.
Cramer replied: “Well, I have kids. And anybody who has kids or grandchildren, yes, because it’s going to fall on them....It is vital that we lower our corporate taxes, but no, we don’t want to blow a hole in the deficit.”
CBS This Morning only briefly mentioned the new tax plan, with co-host Charlie Rose noting: “The White House will reveal the blueprint today for a massive business tax cut.” At the end of her report on the other political news of day, correspondent Margaret Brennan mentioned:
And this afternoon, the President will unveil his tax blueprint, which is expected to cut the corporate tax rate to 15% from the current 35. Of course doing that will reduce the amount of revenue the government takes in. White House officials say they haven’t yet figured out how to pay for it without adding to the deficit.
It’s amazing how the same liberal press that didn’t bat an eye at Barack Obama wasting a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus package when he came into office is suddenly concerned with deficit spending when Donald Trump says he wants Americans to keep more of their hard-earned income.
Here are excerpts of the April 26 coverage on the ABC and NBC morning shows:
Good Morning America
7:03 AM ET
CECILIA VEGA: Today the President is expected to unveil what he says could be “the biggest tax cut we’ve ever had.” His Treasury Secretary and a top economic adviser on Capitol Hill trying to drum up support.
STEVE MNUNCHIN: We’re all committed to getting tax reform done.
VEGA: Sources tell ABC News the tax reform plan will cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15%, include a tax break for child care expenses, and cut individual tax rates.
TRUMP: We are going to keep our promises, all of the promises that we made. We are going to massively reduce your taxes.
VEGA: The opposition already in overdrive. One estimate says an early version of the President’s plan could cost as much as $6 trillion in lost revenue over ten years.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s bring in our Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl for more on this, starting with the tax plan. Jon, the President apparently also proposing a major change that could cut his own personal tax bill by more than half.
JON KARL: Yeah, Cecilia mentioned the corporate tax rate under this plan would go from 35% to 15%. And reportedly, this would also apply to companies that file their taxes through the personal tax code. George, that would mean companies like the Trump Organization. So it’s quite possible this would mean a windfall for Donald Trump personally and his family. Of course, we won’t know for sure because he hasn’t released his tax returns.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right, but instead of paying the personal income tax, 39.6%, he would pay 15% under his own plan.
7:02 AM ET
MATT LAUER: Let's start on a Wednesday morning with a big story. President Trump revealing his long-awaited tax reform plan today. How’s that going to change the way you calculate your returns? We have full coverage, starting with NBC’s Peter Alexander, he’s at the White House. Peter, good morning.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trump to Reveal Tax Reform Plan; Proposal Would Slash Corporate Tax Rates]
PETER ALEXANDER: Hey, Matt, good morning to you. White House aides here tell me that say today’s reveal will really be more of a rough draft, an outline, they say, of tax priorities and principles. The Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, also the President’s top economic adviser, expected to roll out those details this afternoon.
The headliner here, the proposed slashing of the business tax rate to 15%. That would apply to big corporations, to small businesses, even to real estate firms like Trump’s. Aides this morning tell me say the plan is also going to include a increase in deductions that Americans can claim, going significantly higher than that $6,300 standard for individuals and $12,600 for couples.
Also being floated notably on the Hill, removing the popular tax break for contributions to 401 K retirement plans.
This morning, already critics are pouncing on the fact that the public has yet to see the President’s own tax returns, questioning how President Trump would stand to benefit from his own plan. Matt and Savannah?
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Alright, Peter Alexander, thank you.