Mnuchin can’t promise Trump’s ‘middle-income tax cut’ won’t raise taxes on middle class people

The Treasury Secretary also won’t rule out a cut for the rich — something he explicitly promised wouldn’t happen.

CREDIT: ABC screengrab
CREDIT: ABC screengrab

During several interviews Wednesday and Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin characterized the Trump administration’s vague tax proposal as being first and foremost about “a middle-income tax cut.” But he also wouldn’t rule out that middle class people could actually see their taxes rise under the plan.

During an interview with Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, Mnuchin was asked what Trump’s plan would mean for a family of four making $70,000 a year.

“They’re going to have a middle-income tax cut,” he replied.

But hours later, Mnuchin wasn’t so sure. During a Good Morning America interview Thursday, Mnuchin wouldn’t guarantee that “no one in the middle class is gonna pay more.”

“I can’t make any guarantees until this thing is done and on the president’s desk, but I can tell you that’s our number one objective in this,” he said.

Mnuchin also wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the plan may provide an absolute tax cut for rich people — something he explicitly promised would not happen during his confirmation hearing.

Cutting taxes for wealthy American is something Trump promised not to do during his campaign. He unambiguously came out in favor of raising taxes on the rich, including himself.

But when Mnuchin was asked if he is standing by the promise not to cut taxes for the rich that both he and Trump made, he demurred, saying, “That’s the objective… We will see where we get from here.”

Yet during an interview on Thursday’s Today show, Mnuchin was back to claiming that the plan “is about a middle-income tax cut.”

We do know, however, that at least one person will get a tax cut if the Trump administration’s plan becomes law. Repealing the individual alternative minimum tax and taxing pass-through companies as businesses instead of through the individual code will save millions of dollars each year for someone as wealthy as President Trump claims to be.

Since Trump refuses to release his tax returns, we don’t know how big his cut would be under his plan. On Thursday, Mnuchin again defended Trump’s lack of transparency, asserting that what the American public cares about is not Trump’s taxes, but about “creating jobs and economic growth.”

But a 65-year study by the Congressional Research Office found no correlation between cutting taxes and economic growth. Meanwhile, nearly 75 percent of Americans think Trump should release his returns — something he repeatedly promised to do during the campaign.