Mulvaney: Trump eyeing another corporate tax cut in a second term

Updated

We know Donald Trump wants a second term. We don’t know what he intends to do if he gets one.

The president doesn’t have much of a policy agenda, per se, and in those rare instances in which Trump looks ahead to 2021 and beyond, he tends to keep things vague. There have been reports, for example, about massive and unpopular budgets cuts Trump might pursue if re-elected, and the president occasionally promises to someday come up with a “great” health care plan, but in general, the electorate currently has no real idea what the Republican would do with four more years.

That said, there are some hints. MarketWatch had this report yesterday:

President Donald Trump wants to go beyond the corporate tax cuts put in place by the 2017 law, his acting chief of staff said Tuesday when asked about plans if Trump gets re-elected. Mick Mulvaney made the comments at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting in Washington.

The tax bill Trump signed lowered the corporate rate to 21% from 35%, but said Mulvaney, the president has been “disappointed” it wasn’t cut farther.

If you watch the clip, note that Mulvaney, who’s kept a relatively low profile since acknowledging serious White House misdeeds at a disastrous press conference two months ago, said the president has long believed the Republican tax breaks didn’t go far enough to lower corporate rates.

Mulvaney suggested Trump’s push for more tax cuts will be easier “now that we’ve proven they can work.”

In reality, we know that the Republicans’ tax plan didn’t work at all, Mulvaney’s boasts notwithstanding. In fact, it’s failed in practically every measurable way.

But putting that aside, if Mulvaney sees this as a winning electoral message, he and his boss are likely to be disappointed. There was no public appetite for massive corporate tax breaks when Trump signed them into law two years ago – polls showed Americans actually wanted the opposite – and there’s no evidence of public support for even more corporate tax breaks now.

But Team Trump has nevertheless positioned tax cuts as a top priority. In fact, it’s unnerving how frequently this comes up.

Shortly before the 2018 midterm elections, the president announced that he and congressional Republicans were working “around the clock” on a new, “very major” tax cut, which did not exist outside of his imagination.

Several months later, Trump again emphasized his interest in additional tax cuts. In September, administration officials started referencing “Tax Cuts 2.0.” In October, the White House and its congressional allies raised the prospect of pushing for more tax cuts before the 2020 election.

It’s against this backdrop that Trump’s chief of staff looks forward to even more corporate tax breaks.

Don’t be surprised if Democrats shine a bright line on this ahead of the 2020 elections.