Gage Skidmore / Flickr trump leaning...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Let’s take a stroll through Donald Trump’s policymaking process on taxes, courtesy of Bloomberg News, shall we?

Months after the White House proposed ending a tax break for people in high-tax states, President Donald Trump grew angry when he learned that the change would hurt some middle-income taxpayers, according to two people familiar with his thinking.

This assumes there was “thinking.”

Trump’s concerns led him to say this week that “we’ll be adjusting” the tax-overhaul framework, the people said — but it’s not clear how he and congressional leaders would make up for the revenue that would be lost without ballooning the deficit or torpedoing support for the plan.

GOP lawmakers can’t make up for that shortfall because they want to drastically cut taxes for the rich and corporations, which is why they resolved to effectively raise taxes for some 40 million taxpayers, many of them solidly middle class. They already scrapped their other scheme to raise revenue—Paul Ryan’s border adjustment tax—because it so transparently would have negatively impacted American consumers across the board to pay tax cuts at the upper end.

The White House press office on Wednesday night declined to comment on internal deliberations, but released a general statement that said in part: “The president has made it unequivocally clear that a key priority for tax reform is to cut taxes for America’s hardworking middle class families.”

Right, everyone gets a tax cut under Trump. And it will be tremendous! For all!! Because there’s never any tough decisions or consequences. Except for that ballooning deficit. Without ending the state and local tax deductions, Republicans have no way to pay for all those tax cuts. So they’re caught between some two-dozen House members who won’t vote for the tax package with the provision that nixes the deduction and another group of deficit hawks who are loath to vote for a tax package that will explode the deficit.

Man, how did the White House ever get into this mess?

Trump’s White House first proposed ending the so-called SALT deduction in April, in a one-page outline of the president’s tax goals. Its repeal is estimated to generate about $1.3 trillion over 10 years, making it an important way to help pay for the business and individual tax-rate cuts Trump and congressional leaders propose.

It’s not clear why the president didn’t know the implications of the SALT deduction for middle-class taxpayers when the plan was released.

Wow. Nobody knew taxes could be so complicated.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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