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"That's correct." Trump Treasury chief admits tax scam won't increase wages for years

The ink is barely dry on the Republican tax scam, and Donald Trump’s “commissars” are already failing miserably in their attempts to defend it. As Republicans prepare to force a vote on their historically unpopular and corrupt-to-the-bone tax plan this week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was sent out on a tour of Sunday morning news […]

By Tommy Christopher - December 17, 2017
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Steve Mnuchin
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin

As Republicans prepare to force a vote on their historically unpopular and corrupt-to-the-bone tax plan this week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was sent out on a tour of Sunday morning news shows to try to make the bitter pill go down a bit easier.

It did not go well — especially when “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson pressed Mnuchin on claims that the tax bill will result in higher wages for Americans.

While CEOs themselves have destroyed this notion, Dickerson pointed to comments by Trump economic adviser Kevin Hassett, who told a Yahoo economic forum that even by his own reckoning, such effects could take as long as ten years.

“This is the disappointing answer in terms of timing,” Hassett said. “If you go to the optimistic side of the literature, it could take 3 to 5 years. If you go to the pessimistic side, it would about double that.”

Dickerson asked Mnuchin how long the promised effect on wages would take. Mnuchin responded by citing recent stock market performance.

“But that’s not wages,” Dickerson interjected.

After trying similar evasions, Mnuchin was forced to admit that Dickerson was correct, and that even by the Trump White House’s own reckoning, the wage effects of the plan are many years away:

DICKERSON: But for something that’s being sold to people as ‘Wages are going to go up, happy days are here again.’ Happy days, even in the best case scenario — and obviously there’s a lot of debate about whether this will even turn out the way you’ve argued — but even in the best case, we’re talking three to five years for broad shared middle-class prosperity as a result of the theory this is based on.

MNUCHIN: Not the case at all. You’re going to see happy days starting in February, where hard-working families see that they have more money. That’s something thats absolutely critical. You’re going to see cuts anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 for medium families with two kids. This is going to have a huge impact in the economy and it’s going to have a huge impact on American jobs. You’re going to see that right away.

DICKERSON: OK. Difference between what people see in their taxes going down versus the paychecks.

MNUCHIN: That’s correct.

In fact, CEOs have consistently said they will not use tax cuts to increase jobs or wages, including an embarrassing episode in which Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn was confronted by a large group of CEOs who refused to go along with this fantasy.

What Dickerson fails to mention is that even those Americans who see reductions in their taxes would also see those cuts expire before Mnuchin’s promised prosperity would arrive, while the cuts for corporations and the wealthy are made permanent.

By the time Americans figure out that wage growth is a lie, the theft will have already occurred.

It’s not too late to defeat the GOP tax scam, but it means that people will need to pay attention to what people like Mnuchin say when they’re backed into a corner. And it’s a testament to this plan’s weakness that it is so easy to do that.


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