So many conflicts, so little time. The Wall Street Journal lays out (paywall) how President-elect Trump’s complex business dealings could bring more conflicts of interest and less transparency than any president in recent history. Tax historian Joe Thorndike notes that while disclosing tax returns “was always legally optional, …now it seems to be politically optional.” He doesn’t think Trump will be any more inclined to release his tax returns even after being sworn in.
When it comes to taxes, a cut is not a reform. TPC’s Howard Gleckman warns: “Don’t be fooled by those who call the Trump plan reform. While it may include some random elements of reform, it would firmly retain the basic structure of today’s code. At heart it is merely a giant tax cut designed to benefit mostly businesses and high-income households.” He explains the difference here.
Will House Republicans be able to cut taxes without raising deficits? They’re going to try. House Way & Means Chairman Kevin Brady says a House GOP tax plan would not increase the deficit after taking into account economic growth. However, the TPC estimates that, even accounting for growth effects, the plan House Republicans released last spring would add more than $3 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, House Republicans have voted to retain Paul Ryan as Speaker. Whither fiscal conservatism?
There’s no place like… Kansas. GOP Governor Sam Brownback told The Wichita Eagle that he is pleased with Donald Trump’s plan to cut taxes to spur economic growth, just as Kansas did in 2012. Slight problem: The Kansas economy has underperformed since the tax cuts. The benefits of the state’s 2012 tax cuts went largely to the state’s wealthiest residents, and those making $50,000 a year or less saw a tax increase. Moreover, the Brownback Administration never offset its tax cuts with sufficient spending reductions, notes the Tax Foundation’s Kyle Pomerleau.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.