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Promises Promises
October 23, 2018

On Monday, President Trump vaguely elaborated on a 10 percent tax cut for middle-income earners that nobody else seems to know anything about. Trump's proposal for a "major tax cut" before the Nov. 6 election or soon after is "mystifying White House officials, congressional leaders, and tax wonks around town who mostly have no idea what he's talking about," Politico reports.

At a rally in Houston on Monday evening, Trump said he has been working on the proposal with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) for several months, and he's said House Speaker Paul Ryan's office was involved, too. But Ryan and Brady "appeared caught off guard again by Trump's comments," and their offices referred questions back to the White House, The Washington Post reports.

Congress is on break until after the election, "legislation enacting such a cut has not been planned on Capitol Hill, and congressional Republicans were privately skeptical that a vote could happen during the post-election lame duck session," the Post reports. "There are no current plans in Congress for any kind of large new tax cut for the middle class," Politico adds, and a 10 percent cut, as Trump is talking about, would cost about $2 trillion over 10 years, according to Jason Furman, chairman of former President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

"The GOP is already scrambling to avoid criticism for the ballooning debt and deficit under Trump's watch," and Republican candidates scrapped plans to run on the $1.5 trillion tax cut they already passed months ago, Politico says. "The specifics may not matter, though, in the days before an election — especially as the media echoes his message, often uncritically." And Republicans seem fine with that. "It's not a serious proposal," one well-connected conservative lobbyist tells Politico. "Nobody is taking it seriously, but we'd rather have him talking about tax cuts than some of the crazy stuff he usually talks about." Peter Weber

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