Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin — a former partner at Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs — is refusing to divulge the dirty details of Trump’s tax plan.
While the Trump White House has laid out the rough numbers behind their proposal to overhaul the U.S. tax code, what little has been revealed so far doesn’t answer pertinent questions, like who will be on the hook to pay for the cost of maintaining the federal government if the wealthy get their taxes significantly reduced.
According to a one-page document White House staff handed reporters prior to Secretary Mnuchin’s press conference laying out the skeleton proposal, President Trump aims to eliminate four of seven income tax brackets and only have three levels of 10 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent, depending on a person’s income. Most notably, the top income tax rate for the richest Americans will be slashed almost five percent, as the rate is currently at 39.6 percent.
In addition to the new tax brackets, Trump also wants to eliminate the estate tax that the heirs of wealthy aristocrats pay on their inheritances, scrap the Alternative Minimum Tax (also known as AMT, which tends to affect wealthy real estate developers like Donald Trump) and eliminate all tax deductions entirely aside from deductions for charitable contributions and interest on mortgages for new homeowners. As Vox recently pointed out, Trump’s tax plan — if enacted in 2005, which is currently the only available tax return for Trump — would have all but eliminated the real estate mogul’s tax bill almost entirely, since he paid tens of millions in federal taxes due to the AMT.
Mnuchin’s Thursday morning interview on ABC’s Good Morning America didn’t do much to answer questions about who pays for all of the new giveaways for the wealthy. Despite being repeatedly pressed, Mnuchin refused to say whether or not middle-class income earners would be asked to pay more in federal taxes under Trump’s proposal:
Will no one in the middle class pay more taxes?
"That's our objective… I can't make guarantees until this is done…" – Sec. Mnuchin pic.twitter.com/0HI2PVxqaW
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 27, 2017
Trump has still refused to disclose his tax returns to the public. On the campaign trail, the billionaire real estate mogul bragged that if his tax returns did in fact show that he paid an absurdly low tax rate, as rival Hillary Clinton suggested, that it would mean he is “smart.”
Kevin Wallace is a journalist with five years’ experience in print and digital media, and covers politics, media, and culture for the Resistance Report. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.