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A couple of days ago, NYU law professor Lily Batchelder released a paper that takes a close look at the details of Donald Trump’s tax plan. She concludes that several million middle-class families will pay more under Trump’s plan than they do now. Jim Tankersley reports the Trump campaign’s response:
The Trump campaign called the findings “pure fiction,” contending the analysis neglects a crucial benefit for low-income taxpayers….Most importantly, Miller said Trump will instruct the committees writing his plan into law to make sure that it does not raise taxes on any low- or middle-income earners. “In sending our proposal to the tax-writing committees we will include instructions to ensure all low and middle income households are protected,” Miller said.
This is obviously spin, but the funny thing is that it’s true. The details that Batchelder analyzed really won’t matter much once Trump’s proposal gets fed into the congressional sausage machine. Rather, his tax plan is essentially a statement of values. It tells the voting public what he believes in.
And that’s the problem. If Trump truly cared about the middle class, he and his team would have taken a very close look at the details to make sure his plan benefited the entire middle class. Obviously they didn’t. They treated it like a throwaway that Congress would iron out later.
Conversely, does anyone doubt that they were very careful indeed about vetting the effect of his plan on the rich? There’s surely not a single person in the top 1 percent who will accidentally end up paying higher taxes under Trump’s plan. Why? Because Trump cares about rich people. They’re winners.1 Struggling families and single mothers are losers. Why sweat the details for the likes of them?
1Also because his plan is so overwhelmingly favorable for rich people that it’s basically impossible for small details to wipe out their average gain.