Trump’s chief economic adviser now admits rich will get a big tax cut — but claims it’s by accident

"It's not our intention to give the wealthy a tax cut."

Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn arrives for a news conference with President Donald Trump and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn arrives for a news conference with President Donald Trump and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn has seemingly abandoned his previous stance that the wealthy will not get a tax cut under the GOP tax plan.

“I don’t believe that we’ve set out to create a tax cut for the wealthy. If someone’s getting a tax cut, I’m not upset that they’re getting a tax cut,” said Cohn early Thursday morning. “I’m really not upset.”

This is stark contrast from statements Cohn made just two months ago, when he told ABC’s Good Morning America plainly that the “wealthy are not getting a tax cut.”

“When we’ve looked at the tax plan, and we’ve looked [at] what it does for Americans, we are very confident that Americans are getting a great deal here. We have also said that wealthy Americans are not getting a tax cut,” Cohn said in September. “We have designed a tax cut that is stimulus for the economy, where we are giving tax cuts to middle- and lower-income Americans. We want everyday, hardworking Americans to have more money in their paycheck.”

Cohn’s new position likely stems from multiple studies from tax experts that indisputably establish Cohn’s previous statements were false. The most recent analysis from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center suggests the small middle-class tax cut will disappear over time, eventually turning into a tax hike. Meanwhile, provisions like the estate tax repeal, creating a special tax rate for pass-through businesses, and slashing the corporate tax from 35 to 20 percent, will ensure the wealthiest Americans will get a large, permanent tax cut.  Cohn himself says in the CNBC interview that big CEOs are the group that is most excited for their tax plan.

Cohn argues that the wealth will just “trickle-down through the economy,” a illusion to former President Reagan’s failed economic policy. At a press conference following the unveiling of the House GOP tax plan, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) had no answer for why their trickle-down plan would be any different than Reagan’s.

The general consensus among economists, however, is that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. Former Reagan policy adviser Bruce Bartlett wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post entitled, “I helped create the GOP tax myth. Trump is wrong: Tax cuts don’t equal growth.”