Apr 24, 2017

Trump's budget-busting ask on corporate tax rates: 15%

Andrew Harnik / AP

The Wall Street Journal scoops that President Trump privately told staff he wanted them to prioritize massive tax cuts even if they add to the deficit. Trump, who wants to slash the corporate rate to 15%, reportedly made the comments in an Oval Office meeting last week.Why this matters: We told you recently about the "candy option" for tax reform — all the goodies, with none of the pain. Nothing says "candy" like offering huge tax cuts with no new revenue streams to pay for them. A top Senate source said Trump's tax plan could easily blow a $3 trillion hole in the budget, if he does massive cuts and includes the "Ivanka credit" for childcare.A few problems: Most Republicans won't stand for a plan that makes them look fiscally reckless. Also, it's hard to see how such major cuts would become permanent. The Republicans will likely use a "reconciliation" bill to pass tax reform. This has the advantage of being able to pass the Senate with 51 rather than 60 votes, but its rules dictate that for the cuts to last beyond 10 years they can't add to the deficit. It's difficult to see how even the most optimistic economic growth projections could make up for that loss of income.Between the lines: It's all but official that the so-called "border adjustment tax" is dead. It's the centerpiece of Paul Ryan's House Republican tax plan, and it would raise more than $1 trillion over 10 years by hiking taxes on imports. Nationalists in the White House, including Steve Bannon, love the idea. They see it as an American nationalist tax — hindering foreign importers and helping companies that build stuff in America. But it looks like opponents of the idea, a group that includes about the entire U.S. Senate, have won on this one.

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.