Venal New York City-based contractor and presumptive President-Elect Donald Juarez Trump has finally unveiled his tax outline plan.
Let's end the suspense and just say that it looks a lot like you'd expect a Donald Trump economic plan to look. He quite literally offers to raise revenues by cutting taxes for everyone and eliminating income tax entirely on those in what he sees as the lower-middle class.
But then there's also how the thing reads. It's braggadocios yet vague, strongly-worded yet somewhat confounding, and iy might not add up... like even a little.
Here's a wonderful little example:
Too many companies – from great American brands to innovative startups – are leaving America, either directly or through corporate inversions. The Democrats want to outlaw inversions, but that will never work. Companies leaving is not the disease, it is the symptom. Politicians in Washington have let America fall from the best corporate tax rate in the industrialized world in the 1980’s (thanks to Ronald Reagan) to the worst rate in the industrialized world. That is unacceptable. Under the Trump plan, America will compete with the world and win by cutting the corporate tax rate to 15%, taking our rate from one of the worst to one of the best.
The plan goes on to call the corporate rate cut a "tremendous stimulus," which is perhaps one of the Trumpiest phrases ever coined.
That is, until you read this jewel:
If you are single and earn less than $25,000, or married and jointly earn less than $50,000, you will not owe any income tax. That removes nearly 75 million households – over 50% – from the income tax rolls. They get a new one page form to send the IRS saying, “I win,” those who would otherwise owe income taxes will save an average of nearly $1,000 each.
Read it again... bask in it.
Aside from the rather wondrous idea of reducing a tax return to what is essentially Government-endorsed trolling of the Internal Revenue Service, the Trump tax plan is trying to tell people living just above the poverty line that they would be winners in Trump's America because they would pay $0 in taxes.
That's just - logic aside - very good politics.
But one glaring semi-omission from the Trump plan is what he promised would be a good old-fashioned ass-whooping on the carried interest loophole that allows - in Trump parlance - hedge fund guys to get away with murder.
The phrase "Carried interest" appears just once in the plan and does so in this context.
The Trump plan also phases out the tax exemption on life insurance interest for high-income earners, ends the current tax treatment of carried interest for speculative partnerships that do not grow businesses or create jobs and are not risking their own capital, and reduces or eliminates other loopholes for the very rich and special interests.
It's basically what Trump has been saying for weeks now but without any new details or specifics.
In lieu of going after hedge funds in particular, the Trump plan instead goes hard after the idea of corporate inversions. Trump even seems to be offering something akin to what he sees as an amnesty program through which companies can give up their foreign tax shelters for the low, low cost of a 10% rate during the first year back on U.S. soil.
That's nothing to do business in Trumperica.
The plan was almost immediately with derision from economists who basically said that Trump's proposal had the fiscal integrity of a Greek bond because, like, you can't have a revenue neutral tax plan if everyone is getting a tax cut.
But some people just had some fun at The Donald's expense:
ZING! TAX REFORM THAT WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN [Trump Campaign]