President Donald Trump’s tax plan has been
Trump’s plan would slash business tax rates, lower individual rates and kill the estate tax for the richest families, among other things. That’s why the Tax Policy Center estimates the plan would cut taxes for the bottom 95% of earners by 1.2%, while the top 1% would get an 8.6% tax cut.
Not so, says Trump, who will insist in a speech in Harrisburg, Pa., on Wednesday evening that truckers and other middle-income workers stand to gain bigly from his plan.
“Truckers will be the No. 1 beneficiaries of President Trump’s tax plan,” a senior White House official told reporters on Oct. 10. “Nothing gets done in America without the hard-working men and women of the trucking industry.”
That may be true, but Trump’s trucker math is sure to warrant the same skepticism as the supply-side assumptions that underlie his whole tax plan. The typical trucker earns between $50,000 and $70,000 per year, Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Association,
Trump’s broader claim is that other elements of his tax plan would create trucker boom times the likes of which we’ve never seen. Cutting corporate taxes would, in theory, generate more demand for goods that would move by — can you guess? Right. Truck. Truckers who file their taxes as so-called pass-through entities would benefit from lower rates for those types of businesses (though only if they made way more than the typical driver). Then there are family-owned trucking companies that would be spared the hardship of having to sell parts of their fleet to pay the dastardly estate tax when a principal owner dies. How many trucking families are worth more than $5.49 million — the value at which the federal estate tax kicks in — the White House doesn’t seem to know.
Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, gave a speech recently
Hassett is a well-regarded tax expert, but there is plenty of countervailing evidence that tax cuts alone don’t do much to boost economic growth in ways that thoroughly benefit the middle and working class. A
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Rick Newman is the author of four books, including