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October 25 2017

Debating the Trump Tax Plan

by Betsy Pearson

In the early morning hours, Real Clear Politics hosted an event discussing Trump’s tax plan.

First we heard from Rep. Kevin Brady, the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, who is a huge proponent of the proposal. When asked about his direct input with President Trump, he added that “[Trump] calls me regularly on tax reform.” His key message is that “We want Americans to save more, and save earlier.” Repeatedly, Brady called the plan a pro-growth policy—promising we will see “growth gains at every level.”

This is important to all Americans in that the burdensome current tax policy has slowed our economy. Brady warned “the debt will double if we don’t have tax reform”. With so much at stake, he offered a final prediction: that the administration plans to get all this done before the end of 2017.

Next on stage was Rep. Suzan DelBene, the Vice Chair of the New Democrat Coalition and a member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. She had a different attitude towards the tax plan. Though she admits that “tax reform is a thing both sides agree needs to happen”, she went on to call the current strategy the “antithesis of bipartisan”.

“The Republican plan right now puts us in a terrible position,” DelBene has not been shy about the way she feels about the current tax plan, and she did not hide her opinion on stage either. Instead, she blamed the leadership of the current administration, adding “unfortunately, right now it seems to be more about the political motive [than working on real tax reform].”

Following the Representatives was a panel discussion about the tax plan. We heard from Janice Mays, the Managing Director at PwC WNTS Tax Policy Services, who spoke from her experience in the House Ways and Means Committee. She explained, “All of these pieces have been a prologue…the real stuff happens when they sit down and debate the hard issues”, which makes her skeptical of the current timeline.

Jeffrey Birnbaum, the President of BGR Public Relations, also shared this skepticism. He drew attention to the language of the debate, arguing “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just a simple tax cut [instead of full blown tax reform].” This would still be a good policy for American families since, under the current proposal, many will receive a tax cut on their income tax and even low income households will have no income taxes.

Later on in the panel discussion, Maya MacGuineas explained the merits and challenges of a revenue neutral plan—something that has been debated in the Trump administration when crafting the new tax plan. MacGuineas cautioned, “tax reform has so many benefits, but adding to the debt is not pro-growth.”

Finishing out the event we heard from Stephen Moore, a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation. He, like many of the other speakers, was skeptical about the timeline of the plan, adding “The republican party will get absolutely destroyed if they don’t get this done in 2017.”

As October comes to a close, we have only a matter of weeks between us and what could be the “biggest pro-growth cut since Reagan”.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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