What’s Hard For Republicans When it Comes to Tax Cuts

Recently Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said this in an attempt to explain why the Republican tax cut plan favors the wealthy:

…when you’re cutting taxes across the board, it’s very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy with tax cuts to the middle class. The math, given how much you are collecting, is just hard to do.

Bless his heart. He’s really trying to not cut taxes for the wealthy, but it’s just so hard.

Here is a clue Sec. Mnuchin: Just do it!

If you are too mathematically challenged to be able to figure out how to design a progressive tax code, we can make it even easier for you: Don’t repeal the estate tax. Currently people can inherit up to $5.45 million tax free ($10.9 million for a married couple). If you simply left the estate tax alone, it wouldn’t be so hard to avoid giving the wealthy an even bigger tax break.

What I’ve been noticing lately is that, when it comes to trying to figure out how to pay for all these tax cuts, it hasn’t been hard for Republicans to come up with ideas that mostly affect people in the middle class. Here are the ones we’ve heard about:

  • eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes
  • eliminate the mortgage interest deduction
  • tax income contributed to a 401(k) retirement account

So the Republican message is that when it comes to giving tax cuts, it’s just too hard to avoid giving them to the wealthy. But when it comes to paying for those tax cuts, they have no trouble figuring out how to target the middle class.

Just to demonstrate that my aim here is to be helpful, I’ll offer the suggestion that Republicans could think about closing some of the loopholes that allow so many corporations to pay little to nothing in federal taxes. That would be a way to help pay for these tax cuts.

I’m really just trying to help this guy out, because he said this is so hard. Perhaps you think that someone like Mnuchin already knows that they could leave the estate tax alone and close some of the loopholes that allow big corporations to pay very little in taxes. You might have a point there. After all, he’s the same guy who’s company foreclosed on a 90 year-old woman who owed 27 cents on her mortgage.

Never mind.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .