Sunday, May 08, 2016

Trump Misrepresented about Taxes, Minimum Wage

By Douglas V. Gibbs

I've been hearing about how Donald Trump is reneging on his promises already.  One of them is his promise to cut taxes.  Now, we are being told, he has changed his tune, and he's going to increase taxes.  Being the kind of person who wants good solid evidence, I've been looking into what he's been saying about taxation in the last week or so, and I am not hearing that he wants to increase taxes.  I am hearing from him that he understands that when negotiating, he will be calling for the tax cuts he's been championing, but the Democrats will negotiate to raise taxes, and after the negotiations his tax cuts may not be as good as he wants, and when it comes to the rich the Democrats may demand the rates go up for the wealthiest Americans in order for him to get what he wants in the other brackets.

This was the same kind of mistake Reagan made a few times - giving in to Democrats too easily to get what little he felt he could get.

I have had a number of Republicans tell me that is how it is.  You get what you can get, and you give up a lot in order to get crumbs.  I have always argued against that idiocy, saying that our problem is that the GOP negotiates low, rather than trying to get everything it wants.  We compromise too much with Democrats we have nothing in common with.  We need to stop compromising, and defeat them.

With Trump, and understand my goal here is not to defend him as much as to determine what the truth is, I don't hear him saying he wants taxes to rise.  From my observations, he has been saying that he expects some parts of his plan to be given to him, but he will have to give some things up to get them.  Again, I think he, if that's the case, would be giving in too easily - but he is expecting the worst from the Democrats in regards to negotiation.

To grasp what Trump would like to accomplish in tax cuts, which would be his starting point in negotiations with Democrats, I went to his own website.

His goal is to increase the level of amount earned that is exempt from paying income taxes, and lowering the other rates and reducing the number of tax brackets. . . four instead of seven.  In other words, based on what I read, the plan is designed to not only lower the tax rates, but also simplify the tax code.  He also calls for eliminating some of the exemptions.

Now for his quote regarding taxation that has everyone in a hissy.

Conservative Firing Line reported the following quote by Donald Trump while he was on with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ “This Week.” - “On my plan they’re going down. But by the time it’s negotiated, they’ll go up,” Trump said. “Look, when I’m negotiating with the Democrats, I’m putting in a plan. I’m putting in my optimum plan. It’s going to be negotiated, George. It’s not going to stay there. They’re not going to say, ‘There’s your plan, let’s approve it.’ They’re going to say, ‘Let’s see what we can do.’”

Again, it sounds like he's saying that because of negotiating with the Democrats, to get what he wants he may lose a few things.

CNN reported: On taxes, he said he'd be willing to bargain away those cuts in negotiations with Congress.

"On my plan they're going down. But by the time it's negotiated, they'll go up," Trump said on ABC's "This Week."

"We're going to submit the optimum," he said of his tax proposal. "That's what I'd like to get and we'll fight for it. But from a practical standpoint, it's going to get renegotiated. And in my opinion, the taxes for the rich will go up somewhat."

He said the points in his tax plan he's most intent on keeping are tax cuts for the middle class and businesses -- particularly those that have refused to bring profits earned overseas back into the United States. He'd like his plan to incentivize them to return the profit to the U.S.

"And I will fight like hell for that," he said.

Through negotiations he expects to lose on some of his offers, and that his bargaining chip will be taxes on the rich.  In other words, to get the tax cuts he wants for the lower and middle economic classes, he's willing to compromise on the taxes regarding the rich.

I don't think that is a good strategy.  I am a "Fight, Fight, Fight" kind of guy.  But, again, I am not hearing Trump say that he plans to raise taxes.  He's saying that a rise in taxes on the rich may be a byproduct of his negotiations.  That's not a flip-flop or a case of reneging on his promise.  That's him saying he believes the reality is that he will not get all of his wish-list items in regards to his plans regarding taxation.

CNN goes on to quote Trump saying that his offer is a "concept".  A concept to start with when negotiating with the Democrats. But, again, he is saying he will likely not get all of what he wants. 

"It's a concept. And I'll tell you what the real concept is, lower taxes for business, lower taxes for the middle class, lower taxes for everybody," Trump said.

"And then we're going start negotiating. So if I want to get lower taxes, which is very important to me, I'm not going to put in high taxes. And I'm not even going to put in what I necessarily want. I'm going to put in lower than I want, and we're going to negotiate," he added.

Trump said he personally would be willing to pay more in taxes.

"I am willing to pay more," he said. "And you know what? Wealthy are willing to pay more. We've had a very good run. You know, we hear all about Obama, we hear all about -- we've had a very good run."

BBC used parts of quotes - just enough to make it sound like Trump "wants" a tax increase.

As for the accusation that he has changed his mind on the minimum wage, again, I think he is being slightly misrepresented.  Reuters reported Trump saying regarding the issue: "I don't know how people make it on $7.25 an hour," Trump said of the current federal minimum wage. "I would like to see an increase of some magnitude. But I'd rather leave it to the states. Let the states decide."

That was not a call for something as silly as $15 per hour. . . but even more important he essentially said it wasn't his call.  "Leave it to the States.  Let the States decide."  To be honest, that was the right answer constitutionally.  It doesn't matter what he thinks on minimum wage, it's a State issue.  If, when the issue rises again, he remains with his "Let the States decide" attitude, I really don't care what he thinks the minimum wage should be.  Will he flip-flop?  I hope not. . . though I could see him willing to play with the minimum wage number during negotiations in order to try and get some of the other things he wants to accomplish.

Once again, Republicans have been telling me for a long time that is how the political game is played.  You give up some things to get what you can.  Have these GOP political pundits suddenly decided that their own rules don't apply when the dreaded Trump is negotiating?

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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