I was not invited to President Trump’s Springfield speech. I most likely would not have gone anyway. However, I did take the time to read the transcript at www.whithouse.gov and to say that that there was a lack of content and understanding of government may be an understatement.
Even Ann Coulter, our favorite right-wing conservative pundit, mocked the president for being light on specifics and dealing with a subject he had not heavily campaigned on in a series of tweets during and after his speech. Of course, Ann spent most of her energy on building the wall and deportation of undocumented workers. One thing she said which I do agree with Coulter; tax cuts do not create jobs.
By 2:11 Wednesday afternoon, she was so upset with Trump that she wrote, “This is the worst, most tone-deaf speech ever given by @realDonaldTrump.”
There were a few things that seem to stand out in the text of the speech. After the introductions of the notables in the audience, including a number of cabinet members, Sen. Roy Blunt, and Gov. Greitens, and after acknowledging the victims of Hurricane Harvey, he transitioned to the heart of the speech, tax reform.
It was when he gave the marching orders to Congress that things turned. Trump spoke about Congress’s need to “get the job done,” emphasizing the point not once but three times. He said:
“So this is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver real tax reform for everyday hardworking Americans, and I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done. And I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress, do you understand me? Do you understand?”
His tone was not “matter of fact” but threating in nature. It is obvious that the president does not understand that Congress, the U.S. House and Senate, are not subject to his demands. This not so veiled threat would make many in the GOP lead Congress to take pause.
Trump then laid out his four points of his “tax plan.” First is to simplify the tax code to make it easier for the citizens and small business to file each year and to get rid of the loopholes that seem to benefit the wealthiest 1% of the population. There were no specifics here, just the strong suggestion as to what needed to be done.
Second, he wants a “competitive tax code” that will create jobs and “higher wages for Americans.” He wants a tax code that is competitive with the rest of the world. The fallacy here is that the taxes for small businesses and families in other countries include universal health care, which increases the tax rates. The United Kingdome, Sweden, Finland, even Belgium have higher rates of personal taxes (federal plus state/regional) than the U.S. And as it concerns business taxes, the U.S. is somewhere in the middle of the list of nations.
Third is be the need for “tax relief for middle-class families.” More money in the pockets of American families would mean more buying power, which to Trump means buying more American made products. The problem here is that the U.S. has turned from a manufacturing economy to one of technology. With fewer products made in America means more money going overseas.
“Fourth and finally,” he said “we want to bring back trillions of dollars in wealth that’s parked overseas. Because of our high tax rate and horrible, outdated, bureaucratic rules, large companies that do business overseas will often park their profits offshore to avoid paying a high United States tax if the money is brought back home. So they leave the money over there.”
This would be nice if other countries would not look to lowering their own tax rates even further to keep those multi-national corporations’ money in their own nations and not let the money slip back to America.
Throughout the speech, there were many examples, but no specifics, not unusual for the president or a presidential speech. However, we have not seen any other proposal(s) by the White House concerning tax reform that is more unambiguous on details. As with many others, I am waiting for the specifics before I call the plan foolish and skewed to the wealthiest Americans and corporations.