Chuck Todd: Tax Reform a ‘Houdini’ Act, Cuts Don’t Equal Growth

After the White House and Congressional Republicans rolled out their framework for tax reform last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made the rounds on the network Sunday morning shows to beat back the hysterical liberal media criticisms. When he appeared NBC’s Meet the Press, the Secretary had to contend with a ludicrous Chuck Todd who smeared the tax reform proposal as a Houdini act and outlandishly claimed that no study had ever shown that tax cuts equal economic growth.

I would say the way this was rolled out, it seems as if you're making promises that if you can keep them all, it would be -- you would get -- it would be like Houdini trying to do this,” Todd chided after hitting Mnuchin with the White House’s response to the Puerto Rico crisis for several minutes. “Explain to me the philosophy. Is everybody going to get a tax cut no matter their income level,” he demanded to know.

Todd performed a disappearance act of his own. The part of the framework that called for the doubling of the standard deductible ($12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for families) was nowhere to be seen. Also absent was any mention of the elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax, an elimination that actually had bipartisan support because to was sweeping up the middle-class since it was only pegged to 1969 income levels.

Mnuchin began by calling out Todd on his smear. “Well, first of all, I think your characterization of similar to Houdini is just not fair,” he pushed as he explained President Trump’s consistent goals for tax reform:

I've been working on tax reform with the President since the campaign, he's been very consistent on what his goals are. His goals are to get it a middle-income tax cut. His goals are to make business taxes competitive. We have one of the highest tax rates in the world. We tax on worldwide income, we have a concept of deferral. This is really a job's act. This is about creating jobs. And we've been completely transparent on the numbers and what this does to the deficit.

The Secretary laid out the facts for why the framework called for the abolishment of the Death Tax, a point liberals loved to harp on as an example of how the bill would only help the wealthy. “The purpose of getting rid of the state tax is so people who have farms and people that family businesses can continue to pass those on,” Mnuchin told Todd.

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The Meet the Press Moderator then proceeded to rewrite history and lied about tax cuts attributing to economic growth. “For what it's worth, there has been no study that has been able to somehow reinforce this idea that tax cuts do translate to economic growth,” he falsely asserted. “The one time it did was when we went down from 90 percent with Kennedy down and got rid of that tax hike, but where is the analysis here?

It’s hard to put into words just how utterly wrong and devoid of facts Todd’s depiction of history was. As his NBC colleague Larry Kudlow wrote in the National Review, “And after tax cuts were fully implemented in 1983, real growth averaged 4.6 percent for the remainder of Reagan’s presidency.”

“Play hardball, GOP. JFK did it. Reagan did it. And now you have Donald Trump doing it — using all his energy to get a big tax cut that will return prosperity to America’s workers and families and enhance our strength overseas,” Kudlow concluded.

Transcript below:

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NBC
Meet the Press
October 1, 2017
10:40:30 AM Eastern

(…)

CHUCK TODD: All right. Let me move to the tax plan here. I would say the way this was rolled out, it seems as if you're making promises that if you can keep them all, it would be -- you would get -- it would be like Houdini trying to do this. That the deficit is somehow not going to go up, everybody's going to get a tax cut, but yet the wealthy aren't going to benefit. Explain to me the philosophy. Is everybody going to get a tax cut no matter their income level?

STEVE MNUCHIN: Well, first of all, I think your characterization of similar to Houdini is just not fair. I've been working on tax reform with the President since the campaign, he's been very consistent on what his goals are. His goals are to get it a middle-income tax cut. His goals are to make business taxes competitive. We have one of the highest tax rates in the world. We tax on worldwide income, we have a concept of deferral, this is really a job's act. This is about creating jobs. And we've been completely transparent on the numbers and what this does to the deficit.

(…)

MNUCHIN: The estate tax is also known as the death tax, okay, we believe that people should pay taxes once and not twice. So I separate the income tax system from the estate tax system. The purpose of getting rid of the state tax is so people who have farms and people that family businesses can continue to pass those on.

(…)

MNUCHIN: Okay, you have to look at the economic impact. There's 500 billion, that's the difference between policy and baseline, that takes it down to a trillion dollars, and there's $2 trillion of growth. So, with our plan, we actually pay down the deficit by a trillion dollars and we think that's very fiscally responsible.

TODD: For what it's worth, there has been no study that has been able to somehow reinforce this idea that tax cuts do translate to economic growth. The one time it did was when we went down from 90 percent with Kennedy down and got rid of that tax hike, but where is the analysis here? I know you guys scrubbed one from the Treasury Department on one having to do with corporate tax cuts. Where is the analysis that says this is going to lead to economic growth?

MNUCHIN: As soon as the details are out, this will be scored by lots of different academics. We're happy to put plenty of economists on this show who support our plan and will go through the numbers with you. So this is, this will be fully transparent to the American public. And they understand that. This is about creating $10 trillion of GDP. This is over $2 trillion of additional revenues to the government. And this is about jobs. Millions and millions of jobs. Americans understand, we have a broken tax system, and this is about making us competitive and bringing back jobs.

(…)

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