Aug 30, 2017

Trump to Congress on tax reform: "I don't want to be disappointed"

President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, at the Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Mo. (Alex Brandon / AP)

In his tax reform speech today in Missouri, President Trump called on Congress to "get this job done" and repeatedly stated that he doesn't want to be "disappointed."

  • "I don't want to be disappointed by Congress, do you understand me? Do you understand? I think Congress is going to make a comeback. I hope so. I'll tell you what, the United States is counting on it."
  • He later instructed the crowd to pressure their Democratic senator: "Your senator, Claire McCaskill must do this for you, and if she doesn't... you have to vote her out of office."
  • As Axios' Jonathan Swan previewed, the speech was light on policy, but Trump signaled that he's willing to play hardball to push tax reform through.

The one tangible figure: Trump said he wants to bring the corporate tax rate down to 15%. But as Swan notes, the 15% figure is fantasy: "Nobody who is serious thinks this number is possible. Most tax experts in Washington say Republicans will be doing well to get the corporate rate down to 25%.

Key quotes

  • "I want Americans to wake up happy to go to work for a big fat beautiful paycheck... I want them to be proud again."
  • On NAFTA: "Mexico is not happy... but we've got to renegotiate this deal and if we cant we'll terminate it and start over again with a real deal."

Trump's four principles for tax reform:

  1. A tax code "that is simple, fair and easy to understand. That means getting rid of the loopholes and tax benefits that primarily help the wealthy... I'm speaking against myself when I do this."
  2. A lower tax rate that will help "give Americans the pay raise they've been looking for for many many, years." Trump also said the corporate tax rate is "too high," and making the U.S. uncompetitive.
  3. Tax relief for middle class families. "They will not be forgotten any longer."
  4. Bringing back "trillions of dollars thats are parked overseas... by making it less punitive for companies to bring back this money."

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