Nets Declare Class Warfare, Grill Treasury Sec Over ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich’

In a series of contentious interviews on Thursday’s network morning shows, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was forced to debate with anchors about whether President Trump’s tax plan was just “tax cuts for the rich” and even asked to swear an oath that the reform proposal would be revenue neutral.

His appearance on NBC’s Today began with co-host Savannah Guthrie repeating the liberal talking point multiple times: “Would you acknowledge that the reform plan you have laid out does the exact opposite? In fact, it is a dramatic cut in taxes for the wealthy....But it does cut taxes for the wealthy, right?...Can you give me an example of a wealthy individual or corporation whose taxes will go up under what you’ve proposed?”

Without having all the details of the actual tax legislation, fellow co-host Matt Lauer asserted that the plan would “result in a blossoming of the deficit” and demanded that Mnuchin promise that wouldn’t happen: “Without getting overly dramatic then, Mr. Secretary, would you be willing to raise your right hand and look at the American people and say, ‘I, Steven Mnuchin promise you that this will be revenue neutral and deficit neutral’?”

Guthrie went further, dismissing the proposal as a fantasy: “But you know this, this idea that you can pay for it with economic growth is kind of a Washington fairy tail. You here about it all the time.”

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On ABC’s Good Morning America, Mnuchin was greeted by co-host George Stephanopoulos reciting the same list of charges: “How about the wealthy?...when the negotiations are done taxes on the wealthy will go up?... Are you still promising no absolute tax cuts for the wealthy?...But the objective is absolute no tax cuts for the wealthy?”

The anchor then accused the President of trying to help himself with the new tax rules:

We know that several provisions have the potential to benefit president trump in a pretty big way....So this plan right now would be a tax cut for president trump, wouldn’t it?...But we know from the last Trump tax return back in 2005 shows the potential effect of eliminating the alternative minimum tax, which you’re calling for right now, that year he paid $38 million in taxes on $153 million in income. Without the alternative minimum tax he would have paid $7 million, less than a 5% rate. So is that an acceptable outcome under your plan, that someone pay less than a 5% rate on more than $150 million in income?

Stephanopoulos proceeded to pester Mnuchin on that same exact point three more times.

The exchange on CBS This Morning was much less argumentative, but co-host Charile Rose perfectly defined the ultimate objective of the liberal media: “Mr. Secretary, as you know, a lot of reports, and a lot of the reporting on this, say this is a lot of tax cuts for the rich. And if that is portrayed as such, you’ll have a tough time in Congress.”

Perhaps without realizing it, Rose gave away precisely how he and his colleagues were trying to sabotage any tax reform effort.

The NBC and ABC hosts wrapped up their discussions with Mnuchin by pushing the Democratic line of attack that Trump shouldn’t be calling for tax reform while not releasing his own tax returns.

Here are some of the questions hurled at the Treasury Secretary during the April 27 appearances:

Today
7:05 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let's start with that clip we just played. Because candidate Trump was on this show telling our viewers a year ago that he believed in raising taxes on the wealthy, including himself. Would you acknowledge that the reform plan you have laid out does the exact opposite? In fact, it is a dramatic cut in taxes for the wealthy.

(...)

GUTHRIE: But it does cut taxes for the wealthy, right?

(...)

GUTHRIE: Well, let me just ask you one thing. Can you give me an example of a wealthy individual or corporation whose taxes will go up under what you’ve proposed?

(...)

MATT LAUER: I’m glad you talked about growth because the Committee for a Responsible Budget, which is a nonpartisan organization, says the numbers are a problem here, Mr. Secretary. They say it’s going to result in between 3 and 7 trillion fewer dollars coming into the government and to compensate that with growth, the growth rate would have to be about 4 .5%. You’ve just said you’re hoping for a growth rate of about 3%. So that’s going to result in a blossoming of the deficit, isn’t it?  

(...)

LAUER: Without getting overly dramatic then, Mr. Secretary, would you be willing to raise your right hand and look at the American people and say, “I, Steven Mnuchin promise you that this will be revenue neutral and deficit neutral”?

(...)

GUTHRIE: But you know this, this idea that you can pay for it with economic growth is kind of a Washington fairy tail. You here about it all the time. I mean, tax cuts definitely stimulate growth, the question is whether it’s enough. There’s actually a guy named Steve Bell, he was a Republican staff member in the 80s when Reagan had his tax cut, and he says, “This is fool’s gold that you’ll cut taxes, everybody works harder, more money will come in, and you’ll erase the fiscal impact.” He says, “it never happens.”

(...)


Good Morning America
7:09 AM ET

(...)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the wealthy? During the campaign Mr. Trump told me that he thought taxes on the wealthy should go up. Listen. [plays video] So does that still hold, when the negotiations are done taxes on the wealthy will go up?

(...)

STEPHANOPOULOS: I was asking about the impact on taxes on the wealthy. The President said there he thought the taxes should go up after the negotiations. Right after the elections you said no absolute tax cut for the upper class, any tax cuts will be offset by fewer deductions. Are you still promising no absolute tax cuts for the wealthy?

(...)

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the objective is absolute no tax cuts for the wealthy?

(...)

STEPHANOPOULOS: We know that several provisions have the potential to benefit President Trump in a pretty big way, the elimination of the estate tax for his family, cutting the tax on passenger businesses from 39 to 15%, eliminating the alternative minimum tax. So this plan right now would be a tax cut for President Trump, wouldn’t it?

(...)

STEPHANOPOULOS: But we know from the last Trump tax return back in 2005 shows the potential effect of eliminating the alternative minimum tax, which you’re calling for right now, that year he paid $38 million in taxes on $153 million in income. Without the alternative minimum tax he would have paid $7 million, less than a 5% rate. So is that an acceptable outcome under your plan, that someone pay less than a 5% rate on more than $150 million in income?

(...)

STEPHANOPOULOS: But I was asking about the principle. On the principle 5% rate on $150 million in income, is that okay under the president's plan?

(...)

STEPHANOPOULOS: The only deduction you specified is getting rid of state and local tax deduction. I want to ask you one more time on this, the principle, this is the principle: should someone making more than $150 million pay less than a 5% federal tax rate?

(...)


CBS This Morning
8:04 AM ET

(...)

CHARLIE ROSE: Mr. Secretary, the question is what kind of economic growth do you have to have in order to pay for the tax cuts, the massive tax cuts you're recommending?

STEVE MNUCHIN: We feel confident we can get to at least three percent on an economic basis.

ROSE: When?

(...)

ROSE: The Republican Party is famous for being against debt and deficits. The President less so. What impact is it going have on deficits over a ten-year period?

(...)

ROSE: So, what are you going to do about the American corporations that have a lot of cash, or not cash so much, or earnings stowed away in places around the world and not bringing it back because of taxes?

(...)

GAYLE KING: You say it will create more jobs. How so?

(...)

ROSE: Mr. Secretary, as you know, a lot of reports, and a lot of the reporting on this, say this is a lot of tax cuts for the rich. And if that is portrayed as such, you'll have a tough time in Congress.

(...)

NORAH O’DONNELL: And you have the Republicans in Congress on board?

(...)

NBDaily Economy Budget Taxes Conservatives & Republicans ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Savannah Guthrie Matt Lauer George Stephanopoulos Charlie Rose Steve Mnuchin

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