For weeks President Donald Trump and the Republican Party have been peddling the demonstrable lie that their tax proposals are primarily geared toward helping the middle class, not the wealthiest Americans. But in an interview with Politico's Ben White published Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin gave away the game, admitting: "It's very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy."
"Mnuchin says it’s hard to avoid cutting taxes for the very wealthy (such as Trump)."
—Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington"The math, given how much you are collecting, is just hard to do," the treasury secretary added.
But as The Huffington Post's Arthur Delaney notes, the math is not hard at all. In fact, the White House's own tax framework, released last month, had a useful suggestion: add in a higher top marginal rate.
"An additional top rate may apply to the highest-income taxpayers to ensure that the reformed tax code is at least as progressive as the existing tax code and does not shift the tax burden from high-income to lower- and middle-income taxpayers," the framework says.
When asked about Mnuchin's comments during Wednesday's press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't deny that the rich would benefit enormously from Trump's tax plan. Instead, she claimed that cutting taxes for the middle class remains "the focus and the priority."
Mnuchin's comments came as the Senate debates a GOP-crafted budget proposal that Republicans need to pass in order to pave the way for a tax plan that non-partisan analyses have shown would almost solely benefit the top one percent, while increasing taxes on some low-income and middle class families.
On social media, critics mocked Mnuchin's claim, suggesting that it exposes the tax "scam" Trump and the GOP are attempting to ram through Congress—despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans disapprove of the plan.
And there you have it:
Steven Mnuchin admits "It's very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy." https://t.co/DtQk4CxIPw
— Tax March (@taxmarch) October 18, 2017
"It's very hard not to, so I guess we'll just have to do it exclusively" https://t.co/P3yPO2teTN
— Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) October 18, 2017
"It's very hard not to give tax cuts to me."
— Suzanne Gill (@justplainSuzy) October 18, 2017
Guy who wrote Trump's tax plan says that the laws of math basically forced him to give rich people a huge cut https://t.co/ltHThxD09K
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 18, 2017
Mnuchin says it’s hard to avoid cutting taxes for the very wealthy (such as Trump)https://t.co/IJyPqqAMF8
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) October 18, 2017