Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump released his highly-anticipated tax plan Monday, one aimed at drastically reducing rates for corporations and the middle class, while eliminating tax deductions for the country's wealthiest earners.
"There will be a major tax reduction, it will simplify the tax code, it will grow the American economy in ways we have not seen for decades," Trump said at a press conference at Trump Tower.
But when asked if the details -- which have been called “populist” by some -- match that title, he balked. “No, I’m not a populist,” he told reporters, “I’d say I’m a man of great common sense.”
The finer points of the plan, as he laid out, are a simplification of tax brackets to just four levels – 25 percent, 20 percent, 10 percent and zero. Single individuals making $25,000 or less a year and couples filing jointly who have a combined annual income of $50,000 or less would pay no federal income taxes under Trump’s plan while those making more would graduate up the scale base on their earnings.
Trump joked at one point that his plan will “cost me a fortune” and that the country’s top earners “will not be thrilled” because it will eliminate many tax loopholes, with the notable exceptions of the mortgage interest and charitable deduction. He added that his plan will also end tax breaks on carried interest, which Trump claimed will displease the “hedge fund folks” that he’s been talking about in recent weeks. But Trump said he believes the country’s rich will still benefit from the plan because the overall economy will grow.
No business would pay more than 15 percent of its business income in taxes under Trump’s proposed plan.
Trump said the tax plan was crafted with the help of some of the country’s top economists, however he declined to name names — a rare practice for a man who is often quick to attach names, be it to praise or attacks.
He also said that the plan expects economic growth of three percent but added that he believes that growth could be as much a five or six percent, which Trump said would be “really spectacular.”
When asked how his plan would impact his personal return, Trump said that his taxes “will be much simpler” and that his current return filing “goes up to the ceiling,” although he declined to tell reporters his own effective tax rate.
Trump also again returned to rehashing statistics on the unemployment rate – saying that the 5.4 percent number often cited by Bureau of Labor Statistics is actually “a phony number” that is not reflective of the current job landscape which, he feels, is made up of many looking for work but dropping out of the work force because the jobs are not there. “There’s anger out there at the job picture,” Trump explained, saying that his tax plan gives corporations further incentive for job creation and growth in the United States.
And while questions swirl regarding what this series of changes means for the U.S. Debt or deficit, Trump assures that it will not add to either.