This Isn’t Tax Policy; It’s a Trump-Led Heist

Apr 26, 2017 · 593 comments
Barbara Striden (Brattleboro, VT)
I'm as sure as I can be that if an actual plan based on these vague, millionaire/billionaire friendly "principles" was constructed and enacted, his base voters wouldn't even blink. The only thing that would make them start to abandon him would be some sort of initiative that helped disadvantaged non-white people. For instance, allowing 5000 Syrian refugees into the country, providing some sort of aid to Historically Black Colleges.

It's not an accident that the first African-American President was followed by someone who mounted a multi-year racist campaign based on the bogus claim that the black President might not even be an American citizen.
loveman0 (SF)
You mention that the wealth in rich estates has not been taxed at all. A better, fairer, tax would apply the capital gains tax to all these estates, even those worth under $11 million. Corporations should also not be allowed to write off fines and settlements for serious crimes, such as the losses from fraudulent housing loans at Wells Fargo, or the injuries and deaths at General Motors from faulty ignition switches. Taxpayers should not be paying for their wrong doing. Settlements for serious injuries should also not be allowed to be kept secret for obvious reasons.

Reducing corporate rates should also include a minimum rate, say if the rate were reduced to 30%, the minimum rate would be 15%, retroactive 5 years for major profitable corporations. The statistic that should be put forward here is the per cent of Federal revenue from corporations in 1955 compared to today. The federal deficit is probably an artifice of the current low rate of collection. Allow income earned abroad to be taxed at no more than the taxes paid abroad, provided the income is not from products made abroad and sold in the U.S.
older and wiser (NY, NY)
Well this would put an end to tax arbitrage and reverse takeovers. It might put some accountants and lawyers out of business, but more corporations are likely to pay that 15% top rate, rather than devise plans to keep revenues overseas.
Michael (Morris Township, NJ)
You lefties live in mortal fear that people who earn money might actually be permitted to keep it; any $$$ government lets you keep is a gift.

Lefties adhere to a Brezhnev Doctrine of taxation: a level, once set, shall NEVER be reduced, because to do so "disproportionately benefits the wealthy".

A "heist" is when you steal something which doesn't belong to you. Letting people keep there own money is NOT a "heist". Taxation is a "heist".

Since when do lefties care about deficits? (How's that stimulus working out?) Where was your outrage when BHO was blowing through $2T in borrowed money every year? Where is your outrage that the ACA is tacking $1T onto the debt?

"Employment taxes" pay for Social Security, a program already staring down $13T in unfunded liabilities. How do you propose to pay for YOUR SS if we cut that tax? Oh, sure; send the bill for your retirement to "the rich".

And corporations, being fictional (aren't leftists always bleating that corporations aren't people?), can't pay taxes. Taxing Apple is like taxing Hogwarts. Only people can pay taxes. The corporate tax rate should be $0.

Taxing death is immoral.

The idea that lower taxes slow growth is so patently silly as to defy credulity. If you want lower deficits, cut spending. Start with the $1T that the ACA is adding to the debt.

It's very simple: I am entitled to $0 of your income.

Policy based upon envy will always produce catastrophe. Just look at Venezuela.
luluchill (Winston-Salem, NC)
We are on the brink of a nuclear showdown with North Korea and now a deficit meltdown courtesy of this tax proposal. Thanks, Mr. President!
Tony Mendoza (Tucson Arizona)
LOL. It is a transfer of income from the poor Conservative center of the country to the rich Liberal coasts. Heck, I will take your money. Suckers!
WishFixer (Las Vegas, NV)

Is the favoritism displayed by the tax cut proposal any surprise to anyone?

After major legislation defeats, including health care and immigration, Trump promises more on the way!
James (Houston)
..enough of this liberal nonsense. This is about stopping the government from taking money and wasting it on nonsense rather than allow competent people to make their own decisions about where money is spent. I would much rather millionaires make investments and get the government out of the business. When you ask people how much money they have, the only answer is what is in their pocket. Expensive cars, homes, toys, etc. all represent money that they paid out for these items. Stocks represent how much they invested in a company, a bank account is a piece of paper showing how much money the bank took from you and lent to somebody else for their new car or home. PLease stop with the nonsense about how much others have and stop allowing the government to rob people to fund inefficient vote buying programs that have been proven failures and a waste of money. More crawfish on treadmills? Your government in action.
Miss Ley (New York)
'Imagine those millions saved! You feel better already'! Mr. Kristof, you are a wit. Laughing with a note of despair as a neighbor has offered to drive this American to a pawn shop this weekend to hock some of her family bobolinks.

How to reply to a friend of many years who writes 'things are getting worse and worse' is a toothache, and can wait until dawn tomorrow. It is kind of dark humor that America is letting Trump get away with this.

The only predictable thing these days is Fox News. Mr. Obama apparently has a net worth of $12 M? There are quite a few people on Park Avenue who have an apartment at twice that amount. He is receiving $400,000 for a speech and this is causing an uproar naturally from his detractors wondering on which side of the coin he rests. The Humanitarian One for starters.

But back to the heart of the matter when it comes to Trump and his generosity. He does not know how to govern, he is silly at best and costly for the majority of the Nation. When is he leaving, and he can take his 'unreleased tax statements' in his baggage and bagatelle.
Dave (Eastville Va.)
If the people who voted for Trump don't get it yet, there is nothing left to do but keep digging.
Robert Gould (Houston, TX)
Trumps tax cuts give the Republicans more money to buy the elections, which they seem to have more than enough to do already
Christine Economides (Houston, Texas's)
On the Trump taxes: to me it is not about how much tax he paid. It is about where he got his money and whom he owes. This is why he won't allow release of his taxes. The information there might get him impeached.
Bruce Stasiuk (New York)
Alas, America is going to get what it deserves. We are indeed fools. With all the warnings, we elected a self-serving charlatan.
Indeed, our educational system must be terrible. It created enough people to elect a painful joke.
EMS (Boynton Beach, FL)
Even an excellent educational system cannot get through to kids who've learned these things at home: racism, misogyny, xenophobia, elitism, entitled behavior, greed, lying, corruption. And, tragically, in many homes these are the things that ARE taught. And in many educational systems these are the things that are reinforced after they are taught in the homes. -- Those people in the Electoral College who allowed a mentally ill, corrupt, unfit maniac and con artist to assume the office of the Presidency are examples of the kind of people who learned these kinds of dreadful things in their homes, and maybe in their schools, as well.
Bruce Stasiuk (New York)
So, a taxpayer with huge medical bills looses the ability to deduct those expenses....
While the wealthiest will no longer be subject to the alternative minimum tax.

Can Trump and his legions really present that with a straight face?
EMS (Boynton Beach, FL)
Sure. They have no shame. Repulsive people. Just outrageous.
workerbee (<br/>)
Trump's tax plan won't create any meaningful economic growth. Speculators are betting that any wealth corporations acquire due to lower taxes and repatriation of wealth hidden offshore will be spent on share buybacks and dividends. Trump's plan is to make the rich richer, in part by means of the stock market.
g zurbay (minneapolis mn)
No matter what the problem, republicans recommend " tax cuts " as the cure. Does it never occur to the true believers that in ANY OTHER ARENA there is never one consistent answer to each and every problem confronting human kind? This is no more a reasonable course of action than BLEEDING THE PATIENT used to be before society became willing to examine how often blood letting was working.....
SuperChimp (Earth)
(Corporate) America First!!!
Jim (Ogden UT)
I'm surprised the GOP doesn't just write a straightforward clause that grants them preferential tax treatment, just like they did with their healthcare plan.
Christine Economides (Houston, Texas's)
On the estate tax: cancel that and some people will be born into fabulous wealth. Just like European royals. I think this is a part of what our forefathers left Europe to get away from. Now. What can you do with fabulous wealth? Well. Maybe buy politicians to pass tax laws that enrich you even more. Maybe buy judges who enable you to buy the politicians with no one knowing where the money came from. A drop in the bucket of fabulous wealth. Easy. Maybe buy academicians to provide fake peer reviewed papers that justify that destroying the environment will help bring jobs. Maybe buy the presidency you had coming to you for being born rich.

Without sufficient government to keep the peace (impossible to maintain without taxes) the fabulously rich stay out of sight on their estates while the moderately well off board up their windows and double bolt their locks to keep the impoverished thieves out. Nice world - just like Venezuela.
Rita Tamerius (Berkeley)
Who would have thought that a group of white male billionaires would put together a tax plan that will create trillionaires, hurt average Americans, allow our infrastructure to fall apart, and balloon the national debt?
Desert Rat (Palm springs)
I would benefit from this one page policy statement. But it's a scam. Heartless and thoughtless. Even people in my income bracket should be outraged. As usual, those making less suffer more. DJT has sold his supporters down the river. Wake up, people!!
Susan (Los Angeles)
Is this 'tax plan' not exactly what has been done in Kansas? And hasn't it been proven to be a miserable failure? The schools are completely bankrupt and the state has been ordered to fund them. Kansas ranks 45th in job growth.
The administration has stopped publishing a semi-annual report on job growth because it's 'too confusing'. Sales taxes have increased to pay for the income tax cuts, which leads to fewer dollars in people's pockets.

The Kansas experience is important because the notion that dramatic tax cuts pay for themselves by spurring economic growth still unaccountably has an allure for conservative policymakers, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Trickle down economics was proven a non-starter back in Reagan's day; the Laffer curve is a joke.

These proposed tax cuts are illogical and will put the entire country on the path that Kansas is already on. Over the edge of a cliff.
Barry Ellman (Scotch Plains, nj)
I think the last minute, one page tax policy announcement is so obviously pathetic that I can't believe anyone would buy it.

The Donald, our President with an attention span of a gnat, the maturity level of a 5th grader, and the insecurity of your average school-yard bully, can't stand the fact that his stupidity has lead to his being exposed as a LOSER! Big "L" on his forehead.

So, in order to try and have at least one "winner" before the 100 days are up, he proposes to feed the rich so that they will "trickle down" to the poor. Didn't we try that already? Twice?

Absolutely pathetic. Sad. Bad.....
Bob (My President Tweets)
So, the same evil job outsourcing corporations that draft dodger trump railed against on the campaign trail are to be rewarded with huge tax cuts before he makes them agree to return those outsourced jobs to his poor belegeured supporters...

Do you think trump's Algonquin Round Table supporters will ever realize that their draft dodging president lied to them?
MissouriMan (MO)
This is no different than trickle down economics, falsely promising more GDP growth and more job growth as long as you cherish big companies and the rich wealthy moguls by showering them with more money, they will send more down the line.

We already know that does not work, as they react to their corporate profit earnings by giving lucrative bonuses to their CEOs and hand none of that cash on down the line or create new jobs. They know that the amount of people they hire or the amount of product made and sold has nothing at all to do with their profit increase. They know that the profit increase is merely a spawn of the new tax policy so they send and spend more mega bucks towards re-electing the money clown in the suit.

But what is more ridiculous is that the American people stood by while false promises were made, and watched as their voting process was not necessarily hijacked by a foreign country, but hijacked and held hostage by their own elected leaders, in their own state's legislative chambers.

Gerrymandering laws, or what they call redistricting bills, allowed them to shape the voter base to where their own particular political party had more weight in winning elections of potential legislative leaders. As such, we now see how you can get a moronic clown voted into the presidency even though 3 million more votes were against him.
Harriet Husbands (Seattle)
It seems ridiculous to even talk about this "plan" and how it would or wouldn't work. We waste endless time and effort discussing the swindles and frauds being put forth by this man. I would like to see, after every ridiculous words that come from him, a set retort referring to the ongoing incompetent organization that is pretending to be the Executive Branch of the United States. This is no different from the fake university or the bankrupt casinos. There has got to be a way to stop this. It is ludicrous to go on and on about each ridiculous, dishonest and useless words that are thrown out in an act of being President.
Jon (Murrieta)
"Effectively, we’d borrow from China or other countries to finance huge tax breaks for Trump and his minions. And this is populism?"

OF COURSE it isn't. It never was. It was always faux populism aimed at easily duped faux conservatives.
W (Houston, TX)
We'll make Mexico pay for it.
DMilrany (Portland Oregon)
Mr. Kristoff, would you please compare this Trump trickle-down proposal to the original, Voodoo economics of Ronald Reagan. Didn't Reagan's 1981 "tax reform" give almost identical windfalls to the wealthiest individuals and entities (my post Citizens United word for corporations). And would you help me understand how those so-called reforms were followed by 35 years of stagnation for most of us working Americans while the 'growth' went to the people represented by Donald Trump and his cabinet. Thanks for anyt help you give me with the staggering impact of cognitive dissonance I am experiencing.
PJM (La Grande)
Given Trump's current dismal position, I understand his need to shift the discussion. I guess I am happy that he is choosing tax cuts rather than a bombing campaign as his way of achieving this goal.
Bob 81 (Reston, Va.)
When donald faces a crisis, his quick response is to divert attention to something else, as you said Nick, a tax cut, that satisfies his base that still believe he's working on their behalf.
Hopefully his future crisis will not be diverted to a claim that Syria has Weapons on Mass Destructions.
MJ (Denver)
Republican voters are horrified by the idea that the bottom percentages of the population, the poorest among us, pay no federal income tax (although they do pay state tax and sales tax etc.....), but they don't seem to mind when the very richest don't pay taxes. They even voted for one of those people!

I wonder why that is?
Bob (My President Tweets)
Ruth L (Johnstown, NY)
Exactly what I expected. If you're not wealthy, you and especially your children and grandchildren will be paying so Trump and his grandchildren get and stay wealthier.
Idahodoc (Idaho)
Go ahead and cut the taxes. The deficit has, IMHO, traveled far past the point of no return. It is far too vast to be monetized. This cut will just accelerate the descent into chaos. Sorry to be such a pessimist, but really, I have not heard one credible voice suggesting a workable strategy to get out of this mess. Certainly Obama's 8 years of perpetual war did not help things, did it?
Barbara (Conway, SC)
Gosh, Mr. Kristof, you co-opted all the adjectives I wanted to use to describe this lousy excuse for tax reform: "irresponsible, shameless, budget-busting gift to zillionaires like himself."

Here are a few more that will work well: deceptive, tried and failed (trick-down economics), selfish, country-wrecking and lacking in compassion for those less wealthy than Mr. Trump.

As usual Mr. Trump has taken a good idea, true tax reform that would require little work for taxpayers, and turned it into a boon for himself and his cronies.
[email protected] (Los Angeles)
there you go again.

of course if rich people enoy juicy tax cuts they will rush out to hire a bunch of people they don't need to do jobs they don't have to fufill demand that doesn't exist. of course!!

not because it makes any kind of sense, but merely out of gratitude.
Robert Cohen (Atlanta-Athens GA area)
As preposterous as his tax reform horse apple by-product seems to be, DJT's true believers or "base" probably isn't too perturbed, because it's been conditioned that Chuck & Nancy's Congressional leadership tax reform plan is worse.

But if DJT can eliminate enough ambiguity, agony & time consuming paperwork, almost anything, including convoluted/complex/fakery and typically sophisticated for the wealthy games, would probably be acceptable by the cynical me too.
EB (Seattle)
The proposal is so outrageous that Mnuchin couldn't help smiling when he said that growth would pay for the tax cuts at the big press roll out. This "plan" is akin to the three card monte that grifters used to play on Sixth Ave in NYC . As Mike Bloomberg said at the Democratic Convention, Trump is just another New York con man. Now he gets to con the whole country.
A.G. Alias (St Louis, MO)
"Trump’s new tax “plan” ... is an irresponsible, shameless, budget-busting gift to zillionaires like himself."

How could he be so clueless? He often comes across as unhinged with irrational decisions & statements. But to the surprise of many he occasionally demonstrates rationality, even astuteness about which he is cognizant as well. His choice of Neil Gorsuch was a great feat! His comments about the "beautiful babies" being killed by Assad was genuine & human; his subsequent bombing campaign was proportional & presidential. Then he goes off the track & acts plain crazy!

If Donald Trump can adequately restrain himself & thoughtful, he could become a great president.

Instead of cutting taxes, he should raise them, on the rich. He can easily fix Obamacare. People would accept it as a great achievement. If he listens to bipartisan leaders & proceed cautiously & deliberately on N. Korea & ISIS, he would be admired, even if he isn't successful.

Trump needs to relax & eschew pettiness. He's not an evil man. He does have a heart, I believe. He's not callous. It's futile, I know but I would still say he should take a tiny dose of a mood stabilizer to mellow.
Carter Nicholas (Charlottesville)
I say, he is wholly the responsibility of the Republican Party now. They have defaulted in Congress in duty after duty of oversight with him, and they shield his palpable incapacity under the 25th Amendment, only to rip off America. I deny that this plan has only the malign nitwit's authorship.
planetary occupant (earth)
In fishing terms: chum for his backers, but the tuna goes to the one percent.
Jon (Murrieta)
"If it were, it might cut employment taxes, which genuinely do discourage hiring."

"Encourage," not "discourage."
liz barron (Sarasota, FL)
I urge everyone to read a letter to the New Yorker in the May 1 issue titled Running The Court. How does Leonard Leo have such power?
Adam Stoler (Bronx NY)
if you cut all these taxes
have a huge deficit

who is going to pay the government's bills?

hint: w 45 in charge he's gonna stiff everybody
EMS (Boynton Beach, FL)
Adam, they will say that they cannot afford anything anymore, so they will have to take away Medicare and Social Security. This tax bill is a big scam on all of they can get to the point where they say that the government doesn't have enough revenue (because rich people will pay even less taxes...FAR LESS taxes), and the deficit is now no more entitlements. Most of us will sink into poverty, illness, and despair, and the rich will laugh all the way to Wall Street and the Cayman Islands.
Barry007 (Stony Brook, NY)
Trump's tax plan is a mirror image of his Atlantic City Casino plan.
GreaterMetropolitanArea (outside New York City)
You can't find child care for $10 a year? You aren't really looking!
Eric (Ohio)
There are many reasons, I suppose, that middle class and "redcollar" Republican voters support schemes like this one, even when they are victims of them. One of them seems to be a deeply felt tribalism--that since the ones who are critical of such schemes are not "us" (but the hated "lib elites", "illegals", etc.), "we" must buy into them. It's a shame, because what's hurts "us" hurts us, regardless of what our enemies think of it ...
seagazer101 (McKinleyville, CA)
Oh, well, as long as the uber-rich get richer ...
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)

electing trump pres makes as much sense as hiring john dillinger as a bank guard
As it is doubtful that any of this will become law -- why are you so worked up about it?
marriea (Chicago, IL)
Of course, it's a heist.
I think of the movie The Sting although I know there is a few other good, 'stealing right in front of your face' movies out there.
Way to go, Trump undereducated people.
And the GOP, they are so busy trying to take everything that isn't nailed down, they don't care.
Trump and his entire family are nothing more than Grifters.
Maybe that's what we should call him President Grifter.
And perhaps, all of the money they con this country out of will be possible put in Russian Banks.
Ian MacFarlane (Philadelphia PA)
Mr Trump has never lived and in all likelihood cannot imagine, thanks to racism among other impediments, the poverty which greets some families every day for years.

Certainly upbringing has a share but neighborhood and the false promise of anything but education may do more to subvert improvement than any others.

Mr Trump like many of his friends did little beyond being born into a wealthy family and consequently has little if any experience with the ups and downs of labor. In addition if his purported reading habits are any judge he may have garnered nothing from Charles Dickens.

He his Cabinet appointees and most of our Congress know likttle of the reality most people of the world live with throughout their lives and in all likelihood they never will.

Too bad for humanity we keep electing less than qualified men to govern our nation and to some degree the world
Bart (Massachusetts)
Only small businesses providing goods or services to the uber rich will benefit from Trumpty Dumpty's tax plan; all others will be trying to sell to customers with a lot less money to spend.
Trumpty's plan benefits only the wealthiest 1% of the people of the US and does so at the expense of the other 99%.
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)
benefits only the wealthiest 1% of the people of the US and does so at the expense of the other 99%.

known as the new american way
JawsPaws (McLean, Virginia)
It is way below 1%.
JayDawg (Over the Rainbow)
Economies do not exist in a vacuum. What I don't understand is that any wealth is dependent upon consumers, ultimately, in a capitalist economy. If they don't have any money to spend, how can that economy thrive, however novel innovations and inventions are, and how then can investors generate profit? If the bailout money had been given to the people, it certainly wouldn't have gone under their mattresses. They would have spent it on living. And that's not as in "living it up." I mean survival. Food, shelter, clothing. Car upkeep, apt, home repair. I really don't think Wall St is a real thing anymore. The cat is out of the bag and howling. Stock markets were an invention of clever (brainy) people to take advantage of less clever (brawny) people in a way that makes the less clever people think they've outsmarted the clever people for the few ducats now that they need to survive in exchange for an indebted/indentured future. Most of the wealth that the world economy has created since 1750 or so has been built on the backs of the less clever, either through slavery, colonialism or conquest. The world's economy was worth $41 trillion in 2010. It has never stopped growing and it never will as far as we can tell. What has stopped growing is economic equity and the just distribution of wealth. This sustained inequity will ultimately be the downfall of the wealthy. A flat tax only works in a developing countries. Graduated taxes are normative for developed ones.
[email protected] (Los Angeles)
you have bought the phony notion ours is a consumer driven economy.

useless military buildup is the driving economic force they're after.

run right out and buy yourself a new aircraft carrier or some spiffy new stealth technology. it's your patriotic duty.

there is only one customer who really counts, economy wise and it ain't you, Jack.
Dave B (Virginia)
Sometimes I feel like the captain of a private boat sailing off the coast of Somalia. I know the pirates are out there, but I just don't know what to do about it.
For the pirates, carry lots of sticks of dynamite, when they come at you start tossing them into the boats. You can't care if you kill them all. You can't stop to pick up survivors. Just shoot them.
It's coming the time when we may have to do the same with our politicians if WE wish to survive. The same rules will apply. Kill them off as fast as possible. Letting it be known that anyone who runs for political office puts themselves in the line of fire. Then once the government is in shambles start on the rich. Same thing. But, with them, set up a legal fund, tell the filthy rich if they donate 99% of all their cash, all the money they get when they sell everything they own, from personal property, to businesses, to money given to build buildings at private universities, in their name, so their stupid kids can get an unearned diploma. They do that, they live. Poor, but they live. As every cent they make forever (including all decendents), except that 1%, will go to the fund, to be divided among American citizens who are poor, thru lower Middle Class. There will be payments made to them every year as the payments come in automatically from the stinking rich, who probably now live in hovels, shacks, & old tents. The 1% will then be worth less than 1%. As it should be.
EMS (Boynton Beach, FL)
Such a good analogy, Dave B! You know, if that were the real would chart a course towards some safe land, and stay there, praying the pirates wouldn't reach you before you reached safety. But we live HERE, in this country, and we all cannot just pick up and leave, like the Syrians have been forced to. And can you just imagine that--if it got to the point where it would be SO bad here that we would be fleeing the United states of America? And you know don't have to be on a ship in a sea to encounter pirates. To me, that is what the republicans are: Thieving, murderous, plundering pirates.
Douglas Kinnear (The Great Plains)
Once again, Trump proposes a plan that will punish the working-class people who handed him the White House...And those people still tell pollsters that they support the guy. Go figure.
Whatever (Sunshine State)
Critical thinking is so passé dontcha think? Proven every day, day in day out, by these "plans" that are very, very great.
EMS (Boynton Beach, FL)
Working class trump supporters are like children. They have been told not to run into the road because it is likely that they will be hit by a car. But they keep doing it, even after they have had so many close calls, and gotten so many spankings for not listening to what is for their own benefit. They might have even lost a finger, a toe, an arm, or a leg after being hit by a car...or seen their friends run over, and killed...but they just either don't learn or don't care. Or they are under some kind of trance or spell. (<br/>)
H.L.Mencken wrote, " Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." And here it comes!
Deirdre Diamint (New Jersey)
Under Trump's tax plan workers will pay higher federal rates than business owners

What else do you need to know to understand that you have been Trumped? He is not a populist and never was.
DMS (San Diego)
I wait with baited breath to hear what the middle-class minions who voted for him will say when they awaken from their deep sleep....HA...kidding! This is obviously exactly what they all wanted. They should be very proud and pleased to see how much they've agreed to give up to help the downtrodden wealthiest 1%. (oh to be a fly on that wall)
Fred (Volpe)
Trump's new tax plan is a leveraged buyout of the American government. Like all leveraged buyouts, he will load it up with debt in order to pay himself and others as corrupt as he with the output of American workers.
David Johnson (Vienna)
This is textbook private equity: You buy a company. You borrow a ton of cash against its assets. You pay that cash out to yourself. Then you watch it flounder.
You got what you wanted, who cares about what happens next? See also, Sears.
Edward Baker (Seatle)
The Man of Steal is at it again.
EMS (Boynton Beach, FL)
Man of Steal--WONDERFUL!
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

H. L. Mencken, c 1915
There is only one answer to all of this.
Go down in the streets.
Americans do not have the fortitude to do it.
JUDY CORSO (New Port Richey, Fl)
Agree 100 %.
Jeremy (arizona)
Why dont we ask the Kansas governor how trickle down economics is working out? it isnt, never has nor ever will. It is a proven fact and a very dead horse.
WB (Massachusetts)
So glad the two Goldman guys and the populist billionaire want to cut everyone's taxes. Can't wait until they abolish Obama care and use the money to pay for the Wall and those public-private infrastructure projects. The tide's gonna rise fast and when it does it'll float everyone's boat!
Into the Cool (NYC)
A Grand Monument to Hypocrisy is correct. It's Scoundrel Time, no doubt about it. Trump lines his and his families pockets along with his very rich (soon to be richer) buds. Meanwhile, most folks get creamed once again. I'm outraged over this e.g. no medical deductions...WTH! Even with employee group insurance, my co-pays are very high. They want to take away health insurance and deductions. Why? So sick people can be poor and just die? More for them, right. But don't talk about class conflict in the good ol USA. No classes here, we all get along; we all pull together. Trump and Co. = Ugly, greed, no compassion, know-nothing, out only for themselves. Convince me it's not true. I'm not like them, I have an open mind.
Pat (New York)
Shameful. Schadenfreude for the foolish white working class who will pay more and get less. Hoping it helps to change their minds, but it won't.
William Wintheiser (Minnesota)
Someone or something should offer a large reward say 5 million dollars for trumps tax returns. Let's see how this tax plan benefits the number one tax dodger.
Tuna (Milky Way)
"Effectively, we’d borrow from China or other countries to finance huge tax breaks for Trump and his minions. And this is populism?"

Populism for those richer than sin. This is what Bush II did as well. Anyone remember the Chinese lecturing our government on debt burdens during the Bush Admin? I do. Funny, that didn't happen during the Obama Administration.
Ed (Old Field, NY)
Employment taxes basically means entitlements, which is the largest part of federal spending, and no one seems to want to touch that one.
Laurence Carbonetti (Vermont)
You mean, of course, social security and Medicare. The reason we are "entitled" to these is that we paid for them. If we all paid our fair share, including all income, we would not have any problem with solvency, ever. What is it that you dislike about having a modestly secure retirement for all citizens? How is that bad?
Maria Rodriguez (Texas)
For those of you wondering why Trump's base falls for his lies, they do it because they believe cutting taxes will deprive "welfare queens" of their money. They think that businesses will suddenly pay them higher wages, pensions, and other benefits. It won't happen. However, these same businesses would be deprived of their excuses for not providing sick and maternity leave, for paying lousy wages, and for cutting pensions, now that DT is promising them a Republican Utopia.
mgaudet (Louisiana)
re"the standard deduction is smart and would simplify everything, reducing cheating".
The cheating is not among the people taking the standard deduction, it is among the million and billionaires.
Eroom (Indianapolis)
Behind the scenes at the Trump White House is a cabal of far-right extremists (Pence and Mulvaney, et al) who believe in a mythology where taxes and government action are always bad and where billionaires are "God's chosen." They never tire of trying to cripple the government and enriching the already rich. Somehow, this is how they define "freedom" and morality. Meanwhile, I am not at all sure that Trump has a clue what this is all about! Nonetheless, the buck stops at Trump's desk and he will go down in history as America's most ideologically radical and destructive President. Let's hope that these lunatic aspirations remain just that!
Beth! (Colorado)
Trump is a business man who has had deals with Mafia-types and unsavory entities such as a front company for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. He is corrupt to the core. He knows no other way of conducting himself. He clawed his way into the presidency and continues on the same path.

As an upper middle class business owner, I would benefit from this pretend "plan." But, as I did when Reagan pushed his tax agenda, I feel depressed and disgusted to be given tax cuts and credits while the country as a whole is going downhill due to abominable infrastructure, low wages, and a thousand other ills that will NEVER be addressed with this destructive approach to taxation.
John Mulvihill (Oakland, CA)
Eliminating the estate tax would further divide our society into haves and have-nots. With each succeeding generation more of the country's treasure would be distributed among a few hundred aristocratic families, whose offspring would be under no obligation to contribute in any way.

The country's debt would be shouldered by the have-nots and their successors for generations to come. Once this burden became unbearable, the American underclass, as did their forebears in France and Russia, would rise up to destroy their oppressors. Then would come the police state. This isn't speculation, it's history.
Susan Anderson (Boston)
Extra, extra, read all about it.

Tax cuts for the rich!

More trickle-up, trick[le]down has been proven, over and over and over, to take pennies from the poor to make those who don't need it laugh all the way to the bank.

And are Trump and his kleptocratic bought-and-paid-for tame enablers prepared to fix the almighty crash they're inviting (anybody remember 2007-8?). Hell no!
Steve B. (Pacifica CA)
Eliminating deductions for state and local taxes will be devastating. The fact that conservatives believe that's a reasonable policy says volumes about the future of federalism.
WMK (New York City)
If a tax cut had occurred under the Obama administration, the liberals would have been ecstatic. Of course, no such thing would have ever occurred. That is why the Democrats lost the election. All they want to do is raise taxes especially on the rich. They believe in taking from the rich and giving to the poor.
EMS (Boynton Beach, FL)
No, that is just not so. The Democrats believe in the rich paying their fair share. A lot of Democratic politicians are EXTREMELY wealthy, and unlike the republicans they do not seek just to enrich the already wealthy and themselves. Perhaps some do--there are good and bad Democrats, just as there are good and bad republicans. It just seems to me that most of the republicans are for disenfranchising the poor and the middle class in favor of the wealthy. As for the Democrats "taking from the rich and giving to the poor," I would agree with that ideology rather than the republican ideology of enriching the already rich, and trying to make sure that the poor and the middle class get as little as possible from the government, so that they will die quicker, and their deaths will also benefit and overjoy the republicans and their wealthy friends. The government is supposed to have the best interests of ALL the people at heart, and that often requires raising taxes. All other civilized nations take care of their people, and their politicians are not always trying (as the republicans are doing) to take away the programs that make their citizens healthier, happier, more productive, and safer. The republicans are self absorbed, self-aggrandizing, greedy destroyers of humanity, without insight and without foresight.
Whatever (Sunshine State)
Much will be asked from those to whom much is given.

People who inherit wealth are able to capitalize on their wealth. Try capitalizing on poverty.

The real welfare queens are Monsanto, the Koch brothers, mega corporations. Get real.

They don't care and it seems many who work hard in a system that rewards achievement more than measuring actual effort don't care either. A worker who lays tile likely works much harder than someone doing stock trades. But the tile worker is labeled lazy, or doesn't try hard enough to climb the ladder and the stockbroker is called smart. But the stockbroker in many cases had social capital as well as some wealth i.e. To achieve a higher degree. Or had friends in the business.

Until we quit demonizing regular folks and adoring those with money the system will stay the same. Democrats want to level a playing field that republicans think they own.
Alanna (Vancouver)
Is there never 'enough' for these people? An average of $11 million in annual income and you need MORE tax breaks? I cannot understand this greed that knows no limits or compassion for anyone else. Instead of looking at these folks enviously as the elite, we should be shaming them for their incessant greed and willingness to stomp on anyone to get even MORE. I also cannot believe the American people are tolerating an absolute crank as president. Its pretty obvious he and his family are their to enrich themselves (and perhaps Exxon) to the exclusion of the 99% of Americans who are good people struggling to get by.
VC (University Place, WA)
A majority of us are not tolerating the Donald. I believe most of us see him as a greedy vulgar ignorant lout. Remember he was not elected by popular vote, but by the electoral college.
Jonathan (Boston, MA)
From Breitbart:
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the president had “released plenty of information” that he had “given more financial disclosure than anybody else.”

Lying must be catching in the Trump administration.
C.C. Kegel,Ph.D. (Planet Earth)
Bleed, America, Bleed. Not only will lowering taxes on corporations and the wealthy not help the poor and middle class, it will hurt them.
And more money to the rich, lowering incentives to workers, will lower GDP. We have already hit the bottom where workers don't produce growth.
But, oH! They can buy robots! Leaving people unemployed with no safety net.
Innocent Bystander (Highland Park, IL)
Populism, Trump-style! There's going to be a big party down at the country club this weekend. Unfortunately, invitations are limited to the 0.01%. Cheers everybody.
Edward (Wichita, KS)
"Only the little people pay taxes."
Leona Helmsley
Tom (Show Low, AZ)
So how much more will we pay China in interest costs on our debt? What's the old saying, "numbers don't lie, but liars figure"?
cbi (Pennsylvania)
Trump's so-called tax plan is nothing more than a pass-back to the wealthy. In reality, he proposes that a portion of what now goes to the government will go to wealthy individuals and corporations. In its wake, he wants to cut government spending on clean air services, national parks, social programs, health care subsidies for those unable to afford the high cost of insurance premiums, and more.

Apparently, he assumes that those wealthy individuals and corporations sharing the pass-back largess are going to clean the air, donate to the national parks and not drill on that land, provide clothing and shelter to the poor and underwrite the cost of health insurance premiums for the needy in their employ or community. Ha!

The fat cats, including our greedy leader, have rarely if ever done that while they were alive or unless it was to avoid paying taxes, and they will certainly not do it now. That is precisely why we need to fund the government to provide those supports. Putting it in to the hands of the rich only makes the distance between the haves and have nots even greater.
Theodore Seto (Los Angeles, CA)
We are becoming, like Russia, a kleptocracy, where the very rich use their control of government to become even richer. I don't know what's going to happen to our country over the next four years. But one thing I do know: the Trump family will emerge far wealthier than they were when Mr. Trump took the Presidency.
Carol D (michigan)
The "trickle down" theory has never worked and never will. It has been said over and over again. What we do need is to close the loopholes that corporations and the top 1% use to get out of paying their share of taxes and an equal percentage of the American taxpayers. And, there should absolutely be no tax reform until we see Trump's tax returns!!
Jeff (Evanston, IL)
What are corporations likely to do if they find themselves with this bonanza of money from taxes they won't need to pay? They can buy up competition and put people out of work. They can pay higher dividends to their shareholders. They can increase the salaries and bonuses of corporate executives. But they are unlikely to add more jobs unless there is an increase in demand for their products. Why would there be such an increase in demand? I don't know.
Adam Stoler (Bronx NY)
there cannot be

no more $ to spend

so what

look at united airlines

who needs paying customers?
rickflick (NY)
The bold chicanery of this plan is like some fictional account of a nation beginning to move from representative democracy to oligarchy. But it's not fiction.
Doctor Bob (DC)
This is an insult to the working classes, especially the highly educated ones. We count for nothing! We will pay up to 35% on our wages, while the hedge fund managers will have their tax levels dropped from an already obscenely low 22% (approximately) to 15%!
That's because they are much more important as they try (not always successfully) to make rich people even richer.
This will be a system in which law firm partners will pay taxes at a much lower rate than their much lower earning associates. A system in which doctors owning their own practice will be paying much less than the hired doctors and nurses working for them.
Welcome back to feudalism! We missed it badly over the last 500 years.
FromSouthChicago (Central Illinois)
The heart of Trump’s plan is to substantially lower taxes on Trump and his heirs.

The two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax returns now become more significant and informational than ever. Look at lines 43 through 46. Trump's taxable income after deductions was about $31M. The tax on that income would be $5M. However, line 45 is of the greatest interest and it is $31M. Trump was subject to the AMT - a tax specifically designed to make sure that high gross income earners play taxes. The AMT is based on gross income, not the net. If the AMT had not existed in 2005, Trump would have been able to keep an extra $31M, instead he paid $36M instead of $5M.

Eliminating the Estate Tax would enable Trump and his super wealthy cronies to pass on their wealth. In a country where wealth inequality and economic is reaching levels that could begin to cause significant societal and economic problems such as a significant reduction in social mobility and increasing intensification of poverty and the poor, we don’t need changes to the tax system that will make these problems even worse and aid in the establishment of a permanent oligarchy. This is not what this country needs.
DMS (San Diego)
As a puppet of the Russians, this administration is doing exactly what was expected by its handlers: to upend government of the people and replace it with government for the rich. Bravo! Record time.
Susan H (SC)
I wonder how many of the top income earners will use their tax savings to become citizens of New Zealand like Peter Thiel. Or to buy estates in other countries that are considered safe havens. I very much doubt that they will be investing here, especially since their customer base will not be getting much benefit.
WI Transplant (Madison, WI)
Maybe I missed it, but what are the income brackets for the three individual tax codes of 10%, 25% and 35%?

If families with taxable income under $250K only pay 10% then maybe that is something I could get on board with since I'm no where near that. But my guess is it is poverty level income that pays the 10%. I never could see how someone whose taxable income is $250K pays the same as someone who has over $1million in taxable income. We need the brackets "pre-Reagan" which were a gradual increase of % tax based on incomes. The more you make, the more you rely on the rest of country for your incomes, the more you pay in taxes.

Along with Science and Climate Change, Mathematics is now a "alternative fact". Give me a break and stop fleecing and robbing the standard Americans who barely can keep their head above financial well being waters.

Oh yeah, I'll echo a previous commentator: Until Drumpf releases his taxes, I accept no tax policy on him. I think it is becoming clearer, each minute, that this "so-called" administration is only it for themselves and their "rich club". Most of these people never worked a day in their lives, inherited their fortunes(thus eliminating the estate tax), and have no clue how most of America struggles on a daily basis.
ACounter (USA)

"Defining deviancy down — How We’ve Become Accustomed to Alarming Levels of Crime and Destructive Behavior” was an essay written by New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

The progression of presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon to Bush 43 to Trump is an example of this. Older people look back on the earlier presidents as better than the current one, yet younger people, who have no experience with the earlier presidencies, think that the current president is normal enough and that the old folks are whiners. In fact, some ambitious young people look at Trump as a role model. To them, Trump’s methods — stiffing contractors, intimidating opponents, constant lies and self-promotion— are not deviancy. They are requirements.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Trump is a validation of the ugliest America has to offer.
Jefflz (San Franciso)
These tax cuts for the super-wealthy that will cause massive budget cuts eliminating programs that subsidize the Red States more than any others should make Trumps poor white masochistic fans squeal with untold pleasure.
HRW (Boston, MA)
I guess the average Trump voter can't acknowledge that President Trump (an oxymoronic statement) is just a con man with a low attention span.
Typical Kristof Rant. After 8 paragraphs of mandatory bashing, Saint Nicks allows that "[I]n fairness, Trump's proposal does include some sensible elements. Raising the standard deduction is smart and would simplify everything" for "millions of filers". But, shucks, to hades with millions of Americans, because Trump is robbing Fort Knox.

Kristof is opposed to Trump's proposal because it's a huge tax break for those evil corporations (like The Times Corporation, one would assume). Then he discovers this alarming fact : "The GAO found that two-thirds of active corporations paid no federal tax...Even large, profitable corporations paid an average federal rate of only 14 percent".

So, what is your point, Nick? US corporations aren't paying much in taxes in the first place, so how is Trump's proposal going to be a HEIST?

The answer is simple. Trump speaks - Kristof and The Times shrieks. All the facks, trooth and lawjick that are Fit to Print.
Joe S. (Harrisburg, PA)
Two things. First, you're confusing the statutory tax rate with the effective tax rate. While the current statutory corporate tax rate is 35%, many have an effective tax rates much lower than that. If you lower the statutory tax rate without eliminating the various loopholes and creative accounting that corporations use, the effective tax rate goes down even more.

Second, don't think so narrowly about corporations. Think limited liability corporations, or LLC. Under this plan you'll see an explosion of them, as people shelter income in corporations to get a 15% tax rate rather than, perhaps, a 35% rate.

This thing is a non-starter.
Merry Runaround (Colorado)
Yes, exactly, it is indeed a heist. A transparent heist. It shows the contempt the administration has for ordinary citizens. Don't be FOOLED by platitudes or the the aura of incompetence in this regime. They have dark plans and they will pursue them quietly and at all costs. A kooky kleptocrat is still a kleptocrat.
Haitch76 (Watertown)
A blatant attempt to weaken America. So much for his making America great again. He is making America White and Protestant again, though. Together with Putin's Russia , oligarchies will strengthened in both countries and they will dance over the graves of the middle class and poor until climate change inundates them at Mar A Lago.
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)

you elected a known thief, and now youre shocked hes robbing you ?

do you expect to win at 3 card monty also ?
Garz (Mars)
My stocks have gone up and my taxes are going down. What is wrong with YOU?
Robert Haberman (Old Mystic Ct)
Isn't this where the investments from Citizen's United pay off ?
Jefflz (San Franciso)
Bankruptcy at the expense of workers, contractors and investors is Trump's business specialty. He is now applying this technique to the US economy. There is nothing more predictable about the unpredictable so-called president than self-entitled thievery paid for by everyone else.
Eric Donelan (Wheaton,Illinois)
The Republicans war on the middle and lower classes, deportation of non-whites, failure to provide for basic healthcare of all citizens, collusion with election-rigging foreign powers, insistence on massive deficit spending to build more unneeded nuclear weapons, suppression of science, attacks on the Judicial Branch, deregulation of industrys' toxic contamination of air and drinking water, and spying on private citizens 24/7 constitutes "conspiracy against the public liberty and the general safety"- the same charges that sent the last French King to his public execution. Is America counting down to its own Bastille Day?
BWCA (Northern Border)
It took Trump 10 minutes of a foreign leader's time to understand six decades of conflict in North Korea.

Can someone please spend 10 minutes with Trump and explain to him the meaning for and the reasons for taxation?
SKhalsa (West Palm Beach)
The disgustingly deceitful and greedy are in power. They bamboozled the ignorant and stupid (a group in which I include all of those - yes including you "progressives" - who did not vote for, imperfect but not like this horror show, Hillary. The whole country, world and planet will now suffer.
VicG (Portland OR)
The commander-in-thief comes out swinging. World wide marches demanding I reveal my taxes . . . hah! Reduce my taxes is more like it. It only took 100 days for all the veils to drop away.
redstar (California)
We'll see very quickly by how the Tea Party people reacts to this hugely deficit increase, if they the Tea Party did not come into existence b/c of a black President.
pb (Brooklyn)
this regime needs to end right now
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)

many of you seem unfamiliar w the greed of the rich

have you not visited or lived on a farm, and seen the hogs feeding off the slop trough ?

well, there you are
John Grillo (Edgewater,MD)
Let's adopt a truly populist acronym when referring to our "Conniver-Chief's" tax spam: P. A. T. T. a/k/a Pigs At The Trough. After decades of growing income inequality, this is the Administration's heartless, stick in your eye response. Government of, by, and for Wall Street is unequivocally here. "Fearless Girl", it's time to take some drastic action against that bull bully!
elle (New York)
Let's be kind to trump and many of his rich friends in the executive office. An impeachment and criminal trial for treason is very expensive...
Civic Samurai (USA)
We already have an income disparity that is approaching Third World proportions. That's why increases in defense spending are accompanying Trump's "heist." Trump and company will need all that military muscle to keep the peasants from revolting if these tax policies are ever passed.
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)

beyond 3rd world

0.1 % of the top are richer than 90 % on the bottom, combined

20 individuals ( not corporations, persons ) on the fortunes richest american list are richer than the bottom 150, 000, 000 combined
WhiskeyJack (Helena, MT)
ANY TAX PLAN IS SOCIAL ENGINEERING ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. Via fiscal policy and monetary policy we the people create money to enable use to buy, sell, etc., etc. That money goes out and taxes brings it back. Many of our reps seem to not understand the difference between macro and micro economics, claiming that the federal government should balance its budget like a state or family. Such ignorance! I say, find ways to distribute the money down towards the social bottom and it will rise very nicely to the top. But the top does not see it that way because they already have a good distribution plan in action and will strive to make it even better.
Len (Pennsylvania)
Trump campaigned as the "Kind of Debt." He built a real estate business by borrowing other people's money.

Isn't his new tax plan an extension of that philosophy? He doesn't give a hoot that it will add trillions of dollars to the deficit. He could care less that other people's children will be paying off that debt in the next 20 or 30 years. Just as long as he and his family are benefiting.

I keep hoping that I will wake up from this Bizarro-World dream, where up is down and right is extreme right. I can't help but wonder how different things would be for the struggling classes in America if Bernie Sanders were president.
pamsmith60 (Portland, Oregon)
We were given to understand that corporations are people too. So why shouldn't they pay taxes the same way people do?
Loomy (Australia)
In America, any race to the bottom comes from the top.

It should be called trickle down venality and in this case has been shown and proven to actually work all the time.

More's the Pity.
schmitts (Michigan)
Every comment board I read has hoards of people excited about how much richer they're going to be! It's like we're Jed Clampet shootin' at some food, and up from the ground came a bubblin' crude. Too bad for the after school programs and environmental protection that will be cut, and too bad for our kids who are going to be saddled with even more debt.
Rozy (Knoxville, Tennessee)
When I marched in Knoxville Tennessee a few weeks ago demanding that trump show his taxes, one of our chants was - No trump taxes, No tax reform. We must demand that trump produce his taxes so all Americans can see how HE will benefit from HIS proposals.
Milliband (Medford Ma)
We are going to make up the expanding sinkhole of debt by supply side expansion.? If the states are the laboratories of democracy then we just had a huge clinical trial in Kansas a where supply side solution was shown to be a faith based theory, and it just caps a long list of similar failed experiments. As the frizzy haired one said, nothing is as insane as doing the same thing hoping to get different results.
Jeff (Washington)
Taxes don't mean a thing to someone who isn't making an income. If Trump and Congress wants to help Americans, they'll offer jobs that will offer a living wage.
At least Trump is learning from Putin how to create an oligarch class.

And should there be a special one time nuclear war tax to pay for the cleanup of the next North Korean War?
Eric (Oregon)
Just another reason why its critical to keep up the pressure - on the Democrats. We know that the Republicans in congress would vote unanimously for a law that eliminated all taxes on the wealthy and raised the middle class rate to 79%, and as long as the words 'abortion' and 'immigration' were in there somewhere, conservative voters would choke it down with a big angry smile. But let's not forget that the GW Bush tax cuts for the rich could not have become law without Democratic support, and for the most part neither can the Trump, uh, ideas.

If all Donald Trump has to do to get Dems to cooperate is release his taxes (surprise! he's a total criminal but its all technically legal), the bar is being set far too low.
Kjensen (Burley, Idaho)
Whenever this tax cut question comes up, I'm reminded of the story called "The Little Red Hen". As you may recall, the hen gathers the wheat, bakes the bread and does everything, while simultaneously seeking help from other animals. None of them help, but they all want the bread after it's baked. So it is in the United States, we want everything probably don't want to pay for it. Trump wants a big shiny new military, but cuts the taxes needed to build it. Trump wants infrastructure, but cuts the taxes to build it. I could go on and on, but what's the use. The wealthy and all of the rest of us just want everything for nothing.
Marklemagne (Ohio)
All I ask of my politicians is to do your self-dealing and pilfering quietly and throw me a bone now and then. It's too much to ask them to do their real job.

This plan doesn't even keep the greed on the down-low and I don't see what's in it for people like me.
ZDude (Anton Chico, NM)
Trump doesn't even try to sell the masses on "trickle down economics" which has been amply demonstrated as feeding a horse oats and allowing what little passes to go to the masses. Trump's simply going grab what he can before he's impeached for colluding with Putin.
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)

The White House insists that economic growth will cover the cost of its proposed tax cuts

i read the same quote from the bush admin

word for word

how did that work for you ?
Bruce Olson (Houston)
At the end Kristoff asks "...and this is populism?" No, of course it is not populism, it's Trumpism where everything is "ugely" about Trump and nothing else except what's needed in the way of smoke and mirrors to get there.
RC (Newport Beach, CA)
OMG, the ridiculousness of it all. Two Goldman Sachs execs, both worth hundreds of millions each, tell the American people that they're going to cut our taxes. Fast, easy, and easier. They write it on a one-page napkin, conceived in selfishness, and tell us that we'll all be better off. Trump told us during the campaign that we were $20 trillion in debt. He'd cut expenses, lower taxes, grow the economy, and everything would be "terrific." Now his two munchkins break the good news. Good news for fat cats as they add to their winnings with lower taxes, and nothing news for most everyone else. If Trump has his way, the government will be decimated, $20 trillion will go to $40 trillion, and America will be the worse for it. Trump's teflon world is crashing down around him while he flogs about like a drunken sailor. Everyday he drops something new on us, some half-baked plan that shocks and awes. We are becoming so beat up and worn out by his daily craziness that America fears losing its soul. Everyday, Trump becomes more and more tragic, and as the certainty of his demise beckons, Macbeth's lines foretell his fate: "a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." While the world grimaces, Lady Liberty weeps, and we are all the worse for it.
will smith (harry1958)
Thank you God, finally someone who feels the same way I do.
tomasi (Indiana)
An Oligarchic Kleptocracy, pure and simple.
To survive --people who do not benefit from all things Trump must speak. Loudly. Those wealthy, those male, those white. You are key now. Please Speak Up........
mutineer (Geneva, NY)
There are enough ignorant people in this country to make this work. Trump knows this, so does the Republican Party. Groundhogs Day.
Robert McKee (Nantucket, MA.)
People actually get paid money to discuss Trump plans?
g.i. (l.a.)
Mnuchin who can't remember $100 million he made should be the last person to be Secretary Treasury. He has a condescending attitude when queried about the tax plan. He's another pathological liar like Trump. No wonder he has a nervous tic. It's his brain sending signals to his face to stop prevaricating.
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)

if you hired john dillinger as a bank guard would you be shocked when he robbed the bank ?
MyNYTid27 (Bethesda, Maryland)
This piece of trash is not serious policy. It reads like a Christmas wish list that Dear Leader might have written during a moment of boredom while sitting on his golden throne in his Tower.

The sad thing is that most citizens would agree that major tax reforms would be a great idea. While there would obviously be a lot of disagreement about details, there is probably enough common ground, particularly in the area of corporate taxation, to make genuine progress. However, this 98th-day piece of trash contributes nothing to the discussion.

Furthermore, there should be no personal tax changes until Dear Leader releases 10 years of his personal income tax forms to we could see exactly how he and his family would benefit. Even now, I would guess that about 99% of the American people do not favor eliminating the estate tax and the AMT.
Loomy (Australia)
How can a Rich Western Democracy pursue an economic Policy based on a clearly wrong and often disproven promoted outcome?

How is it even allowed to pursue it? Are there not even the most basic checks and balances to stop Governments in America from embarking on policies and/or National programs that a 12 year old (let alone most of the experts in any of the fields at hand) could tell you are either Unfair, untrue and not viable?

It seems not near enough to stop further real damage being done as has been done previously.

In a country where "Best Interests" apply only to those who least need something and are most often rarely applied to the vast majority of people who would need and also deserve it most.

Inequality operating in it's most venal form.
Naked and retired civil servant (New York)
I do not understand why journalists present at this briefing did not call Mnuchin on his prior statements about "no absolute tax cuts" for the wealthy. This proposal would certainly benefit the rich. Why does the press corps not insist he answer this. Also we now apparently have shifted from Trump promising to release his taxes after the "audit" to a simple refusal. Yet Mnuchin can blithely claim that Trump has released more information than "anybody" (whatever that means). Demand an answer!
HT (New York City)
The trick part is that the Reagan concept of tax cuts and trickle down did coincide with the emergence from Stagflation...double digit inflation and double digit unemployment that characterized the late 70's. Coinciding also with the evisceration of the weakening of the union movement.
And it has been consequential. And it has provided prosperity. But...

Enough. Apparently social change operates like a pendulum and that pendulum has swung far to far to the right. There is no question that real national prosperity for the maximum number of people lies in moving back to the left. Significantly Increasing taxes on the wealthy and funding infrastructure and education.
Karen Cormac-Jones (Oregon)
As for their explanation for the change in estate taxes and how it would benefit "family farms" - fewer than 2% of Americans today live and/or earn money from a family farm. Sort of goes with the Trump Administration bestowing more wealth upon the top 1%, who own more wealth than the bottom 90%. As for those bottom 90% - let them eat (chocolate China Mar-a-Lago) cake.
Loomy (Australia)
What many fail to realise is that the rot long took hold before Trump and much of the damage has been done. The fact that the rich, Powerful and corrupt want to continue to impoverish, exploit and garner even more Wealth, Profits and Advantage from the Nation and the majority of those who live, work and defend it, whilst also denying as much as they can to those that are least able to provide for it , so that any savings are given or taken only to those who least need support, wealth or advantages to own and have even more than they already have.

That's why it seems America the richest Country on Earth and which gets richer every Year, cannot provide workers with overtime pay, maintains a federal minimum wage 22% LESS than what it was in 1968, does not provide Paid Maternity Leave to new Mothers and does not guarantee even a paltry 2 weeks Paid Vacation time per year and of course, a Universal Health Care System for All it's citizens.

In fact, the richer America becomes and the more wealth it earns a year...the poorer and least secure the vast majority of it's Citizens become.

What happened to For the People , Of the People, By the People?

All the People...NOT just the wealthiest of them.
Mick (L.A. Ca)
The person who lost by 3 million votes was denied the presidency that's what happened.
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)

unless you lived amongst them, you have no conception of the gutless complacency of americans

its quite disgusting, actually, esp when they congratulate themselves on their greatness and exceptionalism

thoughtful i must say, one hears less of that drivel now that trump has leveled their karma
Loomy (Australia)
Regardless of that, the downward spiral of inequality , wealth going to mostly the already wealthy few and little or marginal gains in income and security for the vast majority of Americans and withdrawal of previous levels of support for the poor and disadvantaged which are growing , has been happening for decades and regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans hold the balance of power. How else would you explain the lack of Benefits to Americans that are enjoyed by every other advanced (but less rich Nation ) nation except America? Or a Federal Minimum wage in 2017 22% LESS than it was in 1968 (allowing for inflation) 49 Years Ago?

I just don't see either side of Government doing its best or working for the best interests of the Majority of Americans. One more than the other , sure.

But None doing a decent job that could be considered acceptable especially versus other less Rich countries and what they have achieved to improve the lives of ALL their citizens .
Al Rodbell (Californai)
Growth! Sure, of the value of ultra luxury dwellings.

An index could be top floor condos in Manhattan. With more income to the top, they can double from the current 40 million, as they did over the last decade. This will expand the value of "moderate" cost dwellings which has another name, gentrification.

So, bigger grander digs for the rich, and, well, with decreasing medicaid the number who can't afford shelter will somehow decline. Trump's support is not based on any cost-benefit analysis by his base, but hatred of Obama-Clinton liberals.

At some point perhaps this will fade and they will focus on what President Trump is doing not for them, but to them. The only question is how much damage will be done before this transition occurs.
Raul Campos (San Francisco)
The tax code is a mess of special interest loopholes. Moreover it penalizes income earners over investors with high federal and state tax rates (I live in California, which is very liberal and has very high tax rates). Our tax rate is inhibiting economic growth and it is time to lower rates and reform the system.
Naked and retired civil servant (New York)
With any change in the tax code there are going to be "winners" and "losers" Any tax reform must be accompanied by a detailed statement from all who vote on it (Congress and the Executive Branch) or who eventually rule on it (the Judiciary) as to how they will either "win" or "lose" by the changes proposed. "Winners" by definition have a conflict of interest. If that is not sufficient to provoke recusal, at least the voting public should be aware of the conflict and the size of the windfall.
Lostin24 (Michigan)
I continue to be puzzled at the support for Trump. For those who voted for him, my only and very sincere inquiry is to ask them to identify any action he took prior to become president that was in defense of and a boon to working class Americans.
The only qualifier to this request is that there must have been no benefit to Trump, his interests, or his family.
ef (Massachusetts)
Agilemind (Texas)
The United States is about to become a grand scale version of Brownbackistan.
Mogwai (CT)
And it will work just like Trump worked in the fall: the Left underestimating the depth of stupid. Sure the grey lady speaks truth but only is believed in a bubble.

Think about someone stupid in ohio. They will cheer. The NYT misses the subtlety of stupid.

There is no common good. Only greed. America, take your money and leave.
mjbarr (Murfreesboro,Tennessee)
Such a scam artist.
Lance Brofman (New York)
Except for periods in the 1950s and 1960s and possibly the 1990’s when tax rates on the rich just happened to be high enough to prevent overinvestment, the economy has generally suffered from periodic overinvestment cycles.

It is not just a coincidence that tax cuts for the rich have preceded both the 1929 and 2007 depressions. The Revenue acts of 1926 and 1928 worked exactly as the Republican Congresses that pushed them through promised. The dramatic reductions in taxes on the upper income brackets and estates of the wealthy did indeed result in increases in savings and investment. However, overinvestment (by 1929 there were over 600 automobile manufacturing companies in the USA) caused the depression that made the rich, and most everyone else, ultimately much poorer.

Since 1969 there has been a tremendous shift in the tax burdens away from the rich on onto the middle class. Corporate income tax receipts, whose incidence falls entirely on the owners of corporations, were 4% of GDP then and are now less than 1%. During that same period, payroll tax rates as percent of GDP have increased dramatically. The overinvestment problem caused by the reduction in taxes on the wealthy is exacerbated by the increased tax burden on the middle class. While overinvestment creates more factories, housing and shopping centers; higher payroll taxes reduces the purchasing power of middle-class consumers. ..."
Bill (San Diego, Ca)
The new GOP monicker: Greed Over People
Sarah (Arlington, VA)
Dear NYT, Waking up in the morning I do not turn the tele on, but check your paper first to see if #45 has already started WWIII with a 3am tweet.

I have one little request though, please, please don't top all your articles about Trump with his picture. Seeing it on an empty stomach makes me sick, and I am running out of puke bags.
Mick (L.A. Ca)
Proof! The deplorable's are gluttons for punishment.
The Last of the Krell (Altair IV)

you elected a conman and youre surprised hes robbing you ?

i suppose this does answer thne burning question : how stupid can americans get ?

well,now we know
Gitano (California)
Surely this is not shocking. The chutzpah of this faux president, whose brain inhabits many rooms, all of them filled with crayons and coloring books, knows no bounds. Reagan blew up the deficit. Shrub added trillions to it and never made it to the Hague where he belongs. Now this joker comes along. When you think it could´t possibly get worse, look again.
petey tonei (Ma)
If NYT intended headlining every column and news item with "Trump" in it, with a photo of him, then their mission has accomplished. Nyt columnists now mention trump in each headline and column and also attach a visual so we can look at his puffy face Every Day! Good job NYT.
Kip (Vermont)
A trump image filter app needs to be developed. It would make millions.
JohnH (Rural Iowa)
What did you expect?
Doremus Jessup (On the move)
Odious, repugnate and mean. Donald Trump the Thief in Chief. What an embarrassment he is. Go far away sir, far far away.
barb tennant (seattle) least THIS president is trying to help the middle's been 100 days, get off his back...especially Nick K from the tiny village in Oregon..............................what is his economic background? OR, his plans to help us?
TN in NC (North Carolina)
One for you, two for me, one for you, three for me...
CastleMan (Colorado)
This is Republicanism - drain the Treasury, give handouts to the rich, impoverish the agencies and public officials that protect us and serve us.

This is plutocracy - make the government and the law serve the wealthy above all, consequences be damned.

This is America - write greed and grift into the law, lie about the motivation, forget about what it will do to anyone who is not in the gilded class.
If middle and low income trump supporters are still in denial that they've been fleeced, then they are more ignorant, nay, more stupid than ever thought.
Gerard (PA)
Dear Santa ...
Stephen Beard (Troy, OH)
"Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Trump’s tax “plan” would be paid for partly “with growth” — which means that he has no idea how to pay for it." Thank you, Nick Kristof, for pointing out yet again what everyone with a brain who has watched Republican tax policy since the 1980s already knows. But there's twist: Not only do Republicans have no idea how to pay for their plan, they don't care to pay for their plan. They'd rather leave that up to Democrats so they can sit in the grandstands and boo sensible steps to fix their own grand screw-ups.
Mary Penry (Pennsylvania)
Wow. Peronism goes north, no?
RJ (Londonderry, NH)
Only in the hallowed chambers of the Times could allowing people to keep their own (hard-earned) money be called a Heist.
Richard Heitman (Wisconsin)
"Self-serving" is inadequate to describe the never-ending Republican meme that tax cuts overwhelmingly for the wealthy pay for themselves and eventually benefit the rest of us.
Jsbliv (San Diego)
Maybe when reality sets in after next years tax cycle that this guy isn't a friend to the middle class will we see some dissent from his supporters. The man is trying every trick he can muster to deflect any real examination of how he got elected by attacking friends, neighbors and actual enemies. Will we be in a shooting war by the end of the first year? There is no shame nor justification for how this administration operates.
Gazbo Fernandez (Tel Aviv, IL)
To put the latter number in perspective, that’s additional borrowing of about $160,000 per American household.

Great, a second mortgage i never really wanted.
Lori Wilson (Etna California)
Oh, Nicholas, silly man, deficits only matter when a Democrat is president!
Spencer (St. Louis)
Just like golf.
blackmamba (IL)
Trump is neither brave nor bright enough to lead this tax heist.

The real brains and brawn behind this this tax 'reform' scheme are the master puppeteer ventriloquists Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu, James Comey and Julian Assange.
Patrick O'Brien (San Juan Capistrano, CA)
This proposal by Trump shows us the greed that has always prompted Trump to act. His selfishness and pure idiocy and megalomania know no bounds. Great column. Thanks. I've sent it on to many others.
Simple? Gut the Poor, Bolster the Rich. Yeah. Simple.
Rita (Mondovi, WI)
Greed is God in this country.
RHJ (Montreal, Canada)
Trump had to postpone the "Grand Monument to Hypocrisy in their honor." It's called the Mexican border wall.
the doctor (allentown, pa)
So after nearly 100 days of getting knocked around on the mound, Trump decides to throw a hanging Laffer curve.... Figures.
Aaron (<br/>)
Obvious kleptocracy is obvious.
chamber (new york)
Putin owns Trump. That's why it's important to focus more on your tax package. Who knows? If Trump gets his way maybe we'll all be paying our taxes to Vladimir before long.
Catherine F (NC)
Isn't a major article of faith of the Republican Party the old "pull yourself up by your bootstraps?" If so, why eliminate the estate tax? Let's tax estates 100% and let everyone pull themselves up by their bootstraps!
tom carney (manhattan Beach)
Your head line was really all that was necessary. All of the details are just that, details on what he is stealing and how he is planning to do it. If it were a movie about a bank heist we would have Oceans 11 details about the tools and getaway methods. All very clever but still just a bank robbery.

Why any of us is surprised says a lot about our not paying attention. Stealing is what thugs do. This individual has been doing it all of his life. Anyone who expects that he will change as he "learns about the job" is a not very observant fool.
He, like all really skilled mobsters, has surrounded himself with a gang of sophistic double talkers, except for the two who presented the "tax cut" who were more like hit men than scammers.
What we really need to be talking about right now is how we can possibly impeach this unfolding disaster before it blows up the planet.
Bo Lasquis (American Alps)
The rich get a tax cut under this plan ... a HUGE one.

Corporations get a tax cut under this plan ... a HUGE one.

Working people and the middle class get a hot poker shoved up their butts under this plan ... a HUGE one.
Ray (MD)
Trump can pull of this heist only if we let him.
Gordon Swanson (Bellingham MA)
Given the massive deficit implications, and the inability to cut spending enough to even get close to bridging the gap, this is a plan that even conservatives won't be able to swallow. This OMB report on this will be devastating. This is nothing more than a plan to loot the treasury for the benefit of a few, and is the Kansas Experiment on steroids. Nice try Don.
WMK (New York City)
SkL in the southwest,

You are not paying a lot in taxes due to your living in the southwest. Your cost of living and housing is much lower than mine. I live in Manhattan where the cost of living is one of the highest in the country. I pay a fortune for food, apartment maintenance and transportation. I pay a lot in taxes and any reduction is greatly appreciated. Most people would never refuse a tax break no matter their income. The money saved can be used for necessities or putting it into a bank account.
rawebb (Little Rock, AR)
In Doonesbury, around the end of Reagan's first term, the President gets a visit from his economic advisor, Tinker Bell. Reagan says he followed her advice, but the national debt doubled in four years. She tells he has to close his eyes and believe. He did, and we're still paying for it. The solid advice in Doonesbury that week comes later when the homeless schizophrenic, Elmont, announces in a loud voice on the street that "People, we need taxes!" That Republicans are still following Tinker Bell's formula, and getting away with it, suggests that more people need to be reading the funny paper.
Gingi Adom (Walnut Creek)
The GOP convinced its "voters" that wealth RE-distribution is a really bad thing, especially if it goes to suspect groups such as the poor, the immigrants, the visible minorities, etc.

I just wonder why this wealth RE-distribution to the wealth is not wealth RE-distribution any more.

This budget proposal is criminal.
Lynn (New York)
"If Republicans embrace this “plan” after all their hand-wringing about deficits and debt, we should build a Grand Monument to Hypocrisy in their honor."

we already have a monument to Republican hypocrisy: the destruction of the great Post-war American middle class with national debt piled up due to the huge deficits created by by the Reagan and Bush tax cuts (which were sold as paying for themselves of course).

(Note to Republicans tempted to comment about the debt rising under Obama as we crawled out from the 2008 crash: learn the difference between deficits and debt.)
elfarol1 (Arlington, VA)
It is a heist! And his supporters will love him still!!! Any well educated and articulate person who would provide the nation's majority of earners with job training, day care, basic medical care, etc. would still be doomed in the next election. Any politician with bombastic crudeness would be loved my millions and re-elected regardless of the outcome unless they completely devastated the economy. But if any one man alone can devastate it, Trump can.
Kootenaygirl (BC Canada)
How much longer is this bizarre creature going to be allowed to hold press conferences where he scribbles his name, holds up the papers for all to see and then these images are conveyed across the world as if something really important has just happened. So, some man can scribble. So what. It is unfortunate that no one in the U.S. has been able to gain control of what is becoming a global threat, a disaster,an economic hazard--you name it!
It is as if he is silently saying" Look! See" I can sign a paper" Golly! Gee! How impressed can we be!
George Santangelo (NYC)
You would think that after 18 months of campaigning and 5 months since the election Trump would have more than a one sheet of paper "tax plan". But why ask for competence from a fraud and a liar.
Dominic (Astoria, NY)
We are already living in a new Gilded Age. How much "more" do these wealthy parasites need?
Jim Cummings (Denver, CO)
I'm surprised you would refer to this announcement as a plan...this is not yet a plan his Goldman boys acknowledged so much...we have not yet put any details to it. I suppose this too is more complicated than anyone (Trump) imagined.
David McDonald (Great Barrington, MA)
What did anyone expect? What did his base expect? You get what you pay (vote) for. Only three years and what – 258? – days to go. We rail at this guy and his cohorts, but he and they are there because the Democrats weren't, and aren't, and likely won't be, Tom Perez and Bernie's somewhat laughable barnstorming tour notwithstanding. Elections are lost, not won. Maybe it's time to take some inspiration from France's Macron, find someone new and start over. But better get cracking – at this rate there'll not be much left of the Republic to fight over by the mid-terms, God forbid in four years' time. North Korea doesn't need to launch missiles – just sit back and enjoy the show.
Luke (Princeton, NJ)
No kidding. Do you think a reality tv star and peddler of tough steaks, a bogus university and cheap wine rubbed elbows with the ceo of Exxon or too executives at Goldman Sachs?

Putin needed the price of oil back up - he put together an excellent coalition of amoral American executives and politicians and stole the election.
Dwight M. (<br/>)
Wow. I have been watching this show since the mid 70's and it's always the same: promises of my productivity increasing and thus my wages. Not likely as the boss has eaten my productivity! Liars, grifters. And you still believe n Capitalism. Fools not exceptional people. Uneducated. So you can be taken advantage of. But the rest of us on this planet have to live with you thieves.
I would ask you to grow some integrity!
Hawkeye (Cincinnati)
his supporters will not get past the "tax cut:" part and support it 110%....Republicans will blame Democrats when it bankrupts the country
wes evans (oviedo fl)
It is the medium and small business that do business locally or mostly in the US that pay the 35% rate. Global businesses can and do avoid the higher rate. Mr Kristof your op-ed shows that you are ignorant of main street business reality.
Richard (Madison)
No, it's not populism. It's GOP SOP--Standard Operating Procedure.
Fred (NJ)
Trump is avoiding Saturday's correspondents' dinner and heading to his Deploraville, PA rally where he will scream "You guys are going to save a bundle, a bundle, a bigly bundle" by which he means $50 a year.
SJM (Florida)
We're all in Kansas now Toto.
Nora 01 (<br/>)
The tax "cut" for the rest of us will be "reduction in payroll taxes". That translates to ending FICA, the tax that funds Social Security. Talk about stealth! No, Joe, it will not help you at all. I would say you will never be able to retire, but that is a joke. You have to have a job to begin with in order to retire.
petey tonei (Ma)
I am rich, so I know better than you, not so rich. Says someone who forgot his mother escaped from poverty ridden village in Scotland to dream of becoming domestic help in America.
Ellen Campbell (Montclair, NJ)
trump and his administration have zero shame. To come before the American people, fellow citizens, with a one page document that consisted of bullet point items that will redistribute wealth to themselves, is shameful.
Nora_01 (New England)
Oh, Ellen, They are beyond shame. That, too, is the "little" people.
Ed (Oklahoma City)
Nick, you'd find your time better spent taking wagers on the number of times he'll travel to Mar-a-Lago in 2017 to escape the bigly and insane pressures of issuing executive orders and one-age tax "policies" he hasn't even read, to say nothing about the yuge number of forced dial-backs on domestic and foreign blunders. Who knew being president could be so stressful?
Father Eric (Ohio)
Kleptocracy ... kakistocracy ... lots of words "bigly" describe this plan (and the administration that fostered it) but Kristof cuts accurately to the heart of it: "It's a heist." Exactly right.
Donald CReddish (florida)
Let's have Mexico reimburse us for the tax cut later.
libdemtex (colorado/texas)
The people who put this scam out have no shame.
Kalidan (NY)
As things become clear, I hope NYT will install a calculator to see the difference in taxes paid by the new plan. My guess, if the total family income is derived from salary, dividend, and interest, and is less than $200,000 - the income tax burden will increase (even as states raise their tax rates).

Whereas I suspect that if the family income is greater than $1 million, or the income is from business, or represents stock options, LLCs, and other clever mechanisms, the tax burden will effectively come down close to zero.

This is a very clever political move. The democrats under-estimate this president.

This move sends a clear message to the Nascar set of parasitic Americans who live in the red states - who live off food stamps, welfare, subsidies, social security, disability, medicare, medicaid, farm hand outs, and work for the very government they seem to hate - that Trump is looking out for them by shafting the big city, tennis-watching set, and the poorer Hispanics and Blacks and others.

Trump wins this one - game set and match. Not because of the merits of the tax plan, not just because 90% of whites in southern states are republicans who would rather have pre-civil war privileges, not just because the red states are filled with economic parasites who vote republican, but because older whites in democratic states are seriously polarized and want to shaft it to someone too. They are resenting their neighbors!

Trump is the right tyrant for the right time.

Donald McDonald (The Heartland)
Wanted: Smart people, with creative ideas on how to impeach bad presidents.
Tony, New York (new york City)
This is expanding the swamp with SR-72 Blackbird, in a hurry.
Cheekos (South Florida)
all Street, where the very beneficiaries of Trump's Corporate Tax Give-Away reside, met Donald's (ahem) "Tax-Reform" Sell-a-thon with a rousing...yawn, a Bronx Cheer, and a dip in closing prices. No wonder that the rest of us, on the outside looking in, were not even that overly-whelmed.
Joseph Chan (New York)
President needs to show his last ten years tax return before he can touch our tax laws. The reason is that he need s tp prove the law is for American or for the rich people like himself. This proposal will save rich people billions of dollar on taxes and put a big holes on our buget.
S lohman (New Orleans)
Donald and his friends get millions and all we get is "Trump Change"
Justo Taina (Indianapolis, IN)
First of all, Trump MUST show his taxes.
Barbara B. (Hickory, NC)
Sorry. The House of Representatives just voted he doesn't have to--a testimony to the current corruption in the federal government.
Richard Harris Podolsky (Rockport, Maine)
Trump took a uge write-down (was it 800 mil?), and because of it he doesn't pay any taxes for what, 18 or 20 years? That's what was revealed way back during the campaign, though the details escape me. If true, and it certainly sounds plausible, what more do we really need to know? The man doesn't pay taxes.
James SD (Airport)
Estate taxes and AMT are tools to ensure it's less likely for the super wealthy to become a permanent aristocracy without contributing to the general welfare. They still do get to do that, but not cost free. This proposal just further concentrates power and capital, and the expense of everyone. And cutting taxes for the wealthy has never trickled down to anyone, nor created many jobs. That knee jerk Republican Laffer Curve strategy failed in the 80s, failed in the early 2000s, failed in Nebraska and Wisconsin. At what point do idiologues look at outcomes?
Randall Johnson (Seattle)
As Governor, Thomas Jefferson changed inheritance law in the state of Virginia to reduce intergenerational transfer of wealth within families -- to "avoid an aristocracy of wealth."

Trump would eliminate the estate tax to ensure plutocracy.
Assay (New York)
For the middle class, the tax proposal (it is not a plan, nor is it a policy) gives higher standard deduction and takes away itemized deduction. The net effect for those who live in high property tax areas (incidentally, most happen to be more democratic states) could end up paying more in taxes.

The Trump base will not be affected as they are mostly in states with less property tax and will see some reduction in taxes.

Trump base will only recognize few extra bucks as the promise kept by Drumph ... and will care less that the super wealthy class and Trump will make millions in benefits.
Frederick C. Dobbs (Los Padres)
Many commenters here wring their hands and ask, “Why does the Republican base fall for this tax charade, again and again?” Much like Trump’s “health care” plan, this tax plan would do nothing for the 99% but gut what few protections we do have. So we continue to ask ourselves, why does the Republican base continue to vote against its interests? The answer to both questions is the same, and it’s quite simple. The Republican base could care less that they continue to suffer economically, that they don’t have good paying jobs, that they don’t have good public schools, that they can no longer afford higher education. They want none of these things, as long as they DO have:
1. A Congress and Administration that targets ethnic and religious minorities with impunity. That enables their racist, bigoted behavior. That understands that our freedoms are guaranteed only for white Americans.
2. A Congress and Administration that believes “The Handmaid’s Tale” describes precisely how all women should be required to live.
3. A Congress and Administration that will dispense with every Constitutional right and protection we’ve fought for, for decades, as long as they can live in a Christian Sharia state.
From where I sit, I can understand completely why the Republican base continues to vote, again and again, decade after decade, for Republicans, including the most unfit person ever to hold our highest office. The Republican base isn’t “fooled” – it is getting exactly what it wants.
Ted (NYC)
One thing to keep in mind while evaluating this gross, grasping, thoughtless giveaway to people who don't need it -- anytime you lower marginal rates, it's the people who pay the most taxes who get the most relief. That's math. It's not something DJT or the GOP cares for most of the time, but let's not make the same mistake. It is not inherently bad if you are going to cut everyone's taxes that the people who currently pay the most get the biggest advantage.
AdobemanAZ (Arizona)
Same old trickle-down that leads to deficits and eventually the economy tanking. Reagan, G.W. Bush - we've been there before. The last thing we need is the rich getting richer. If Trump wants $1-trillion infrastructure, then you have to raise taxes to pay for it, not cut. The Republican's are a one trick pony and the trick doesn't work.
Steve Shackley (Albuquerque, NM)
Hey, this is a the typical "twofer" plan that is the only plan these anti-Americans ever have. Their "plan" is to give massive tax cuts to the rich under the lie that we'll all get rich from these "job creators", and the two is the real kicker: since there will be no money left in the treasury, they'll just say "sorry, there's no money for the rest of you" - Social Security, Medicare, National Parks, indeed all social programs for the 99%. At least it's simple. Remember Soylent Green?
James Ruden (New York, NY)
Amen Brother Kristof.

If this "plan" is enacted there will be a tidle wave of hurt coming as more than 20% of the population hits retirement age. Looting the Treasury like this is beyond incompetent behavior.
Amir (Texas)
I never understood why many Americans consider themselves the most wealthiest country in the world with such a debt. I cm also borrow hundreds of thousands to buy a Porsche and brag to my friends that I am the wealthiest.
Esteban (Philadelphia)
We now have direct evidence of the Apprentice in the White House true intention in proposing this tax giveaway. He ,himself, will handsomely profit from this brazen in full-daylight heist. I doubt there is anyone on this planet who is surprised by this blatant attempt by Trump to enrich himself and his family, and his Goldman Sachs cronies. This has been his number one(two,three ) objective since he assumed the throne. The Wall, Nafta- not so much, just window dressing to distract while he carries away his haul.
falcant (chicago)
How much richer do they need to be? It's ludicrous.
Jonathan Campbell (Minnesota)
Didn't we learn that Reaganomics never worked? Didn't we learn that Bush's tax cut for the wealthy didn't work? Trump's financial advisors are billionaires. Aren't they the same people who tanked the economy in the Great Recession of 2008-09? What will it take to wake up Congress (approval rating at 20%) to understand they are being led like sheep by a Reality Show Host?
MoBob (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)
After Trump and his Republican toadies slash taxes on the wealthy while spending bigly on defense and the wall. deficits will soar. And how will the boys deal with that? They'll be looking to slash health, education, and social program budgets to further increase the already shameful gap between the 1%ers and the rest of us. Sad.
John Brews ✅__ [•¥•] __ ⁉️ (Reno, NV)
Nicholas, your objections are cogent. But the underlying attitude of the Trump administration and the Ryan-McConnell corporate machine is the more basic problem. Trump and Ryan-McConnell aren't exactly on the same page: Trump wants to be emperor, Ryan- McConnell work for a narrow-minded Oligarchy. But they all have the 1/4% in mind, just different members.
Mike (Mill Valley, CA)
Same old, same old from the GOP. Reward the wealthy while the rest of us pay the bills. But wait, there's still time to add Paul Ryan's border adjustment tax. That way, the rest of us can not only pay the bills for government spending, we can also pay more day to day for all imported items.
Nancy (Canada)
His promises were nothing but lies. He said on the campaign trail that he would raise taxes on the wealthy including himself. Why is he not held accountable by his base?
Geoffrey Thornton (Washington DC)
Exactly like W. Bush, Trump plans to cut taxes by at least a $Trillion, spend a $Trillion on infrastructure, spend $Billions on a military buildup. All while cutting domestic programs like meals on wheels, head start, school lunches and housing programs.

If you think W. Bush collapsed the economy, wait till Trump is through. Only difference is W. Bush didn't line his pockets with your $money.

A sucker is born every minute and Trump seems to have cornered the market.
Dan (Sandy, UT)
" And this is populism?". Well, for many of us we would say no, not even close. But, the Trump supporters may still believe that he is "a man of the people" even as he is picking their pockets with this farce of a "plan".
weese07 (San Diego, CA)
Once again, the con is on as the rich get richer and the poor get... When is the focus going to get back on the "fake" election of this carpetbagger, as well as the release of his tax returns. Do we have to wait for a hacker(s) to do the work of the politicians and media? I have to wonder that it may have to come to this scenario.
ACJ (Chicago)
I know Mr. Kristof you had to write a column on this, but, did you expect anything different from the Donald. He is just a harder version of past Republican Presidents who deeply believe that greed is good. The only difference between Trump and his GOP predecessors is his honesty about what he is doing. Past GOP presidents adopted PR vocabularies---remember compassionate conservatism---to hide the real goal of all GOP tax plans---to make me even more rich again.
J Pritchard (Sequim, WA)
The Grifter POTUS pulled off the greatest con in history by getting elected, and is now going for the second greatest - de facto eliminating any meaningful tax obligations for himself, his family and his zillionaire cronies. It's the poor and middle class that will pay for whatever social safety net will be let in four years. Not to be overly dramatic, but this country will be very different if this passes, and not for the better.
Faria (NYC)
Can anyone really get upset anymore? Everyone knows what the Republicans and Trump stand for. The American people have spoken. Republicans control the House, the Senate, the majority of state governorships and legislatures, and the White House. If this is what the people want, then so be it.
DJ (Tulsa)
The only saving grace in the two-man Show from Goldman Sachs was hearing that they just have a blue print, but are working closely, diligently, fantastically, and marvelously with the leadership in Congress to hammer out the details.
Congress? Leadership? Details? Those three words are enough to guarantee that no plan that is half-way able to pass both houses of congress will ever see the light of day.
GarrettClay (San Carlos, CA)
This is getting out of hand. Even if the laughable Dems get control of the house in 2018 Pence is the alternative. It seems democracy is finished.
Christy (Blaine, WA)
Trump never cared about jobs. All he cared about was using the White House to enrich himself and his buddies. Heist is right, and if Republicans go along with him on this one I never want to hear a peep from them again about the deficit.
amrcitizen16 (AZ)
This is the real reason King Trump is in office, the fleecing of America. They will bankrupt us and take as much of our money as possible. Then run to their billion dollar homes in a foreign country and wait for a while for us to calm down and come back to get more. It was never about governing which is why King Trump and Court are so dangerous. The War climate is getting hotter and King Trump does not care whether our young die on a foreign field so long as the billionaire club's (Congress included) loot is huge. Glad to see they are trying to so hard, the world will get to see how Americans deal with losers who rip us off.
coale johnson (5000 horseshoe meadow road)
you give him too much credit. it has been obvious since the debates that he is out of his mind. the shots of his face while hillary was speaking showed the signs of a very active and chaotic inner conversation. i have come to realize that donald trump is the most lonely man i have ever seen or heard of. every, and i mean EVERY, thought in his mind concerns the well being of NUMBER 1. there are no coat tails, no meaningful alliances..... just him, all the time. they say prison is hard on people because they have to confront themselves everyday, all day. here is a man in prison.
Aunt Nancy Loves Reefer (Hillsborough, NJ)
An insane proposal.
Another Healthcare embarrassment is in store for Trump if he attempts to push this horror thru Congress.
Pelosi and Schumer must have laughed themselves silly.
John (Tennessee)
Even as he was running, it didn't take a genius to see thru the sheep's clothing. It was a poor disguise. The Wolf was clearly visible. Yet millions voted for the sheep they wanted to see.
Since his election he shed what was left of the cheap sheep suit. And this budget plan, designed to help the very people his supports claim to despise, is the latest proof that he doesn't care who knows that he IS the wolf.
So why do his supporters continue to see The Sheep?
P Gould (Apex, NC)
Call your senators. Call your member of congress. Say your reason for opposing Trump's irresponsible tax plan. Say you're a constituent. Then call again tomorrow!
Spencer (St. Louis)
Call every day!
Keith Morrison (Salt Lake City)
Watching Trump and his ilk is like watching a bad golf shot. I should watch it but I usually find myself averting my eyes.

Trump remains unhinged. His primary drive is obviously self-aggrandizement with a strong dose of spite.
Mark F. (New York)
Ah, yes, the old "We'll-pay-for-the-tax-cuts-by-unleashing-economic-growth" carnard. I'm old enough to remember when Reagan's gang trotted out this nonsense back in 1981; didn't work then and won't work now. Trump is too ignorant to know it, but Mnuchin and his Wall Street buddies are "Laffering" all the way to the bank....
mikethor (Grover, MO)
I thought the "Grand Monument to Hypocrisy" for Republicans had already been under construction since the Nixon administration. It is just on the same schedule as the Crazy Horse Monument.

If it is not already under construction, we need to get started on it. Maybe the funds for it could be sneaked into the $1 trillion infrastructure plan - yeah, right.
Aunty W Bush (Ohio)
this is a period in history when the wealth disparity in this country
equals levels which led to revolution in western history. To repeal the Estate tax- a key leveler, as well as an important source of federal revenue- is outrageous. We need to soak the super-rich- not enhance them!
GreenHearted (British Columbia)
"And this is populism?" Why yes, yes it is ... when the populace has never learned been taught to think critically and independently.
Manuel Soto (Columbus, Ohio)
Voodoo Economics has risen from the grave, like a vampire sucking wealth from the economy, terrorizing the middle & lower classes of villagers. We thought a stake had been driven in the heart of such intellectually bankrupt economic theory, especially after the National Debt fiascoes of the Reagan-Bush41 Administrations & Bush 43. Both proved the Laffer Curve to be laughable. Statistics & charts clearly show how National Debt escalation resulted, yet the Drumpf Administration & its conservative sycophants are trying to tell us they can do the same thing with different results. They are in denial, expecting us to believe them & not those lying facts & statistics.

"Conservative" economists & politicians have been troweling out this sludge for 40 years. When will Americans grow tired of swallowing ideas in direct opposition to their self-interests?

45% of all taxpayers & businesses pay no tax now, whether low income individuals or multinational corporations with creative accountants taking advantage of every loophole, dodge & shelter available. True tax "reform" would end this situation & everyone would have some skin in the game. Low income individuals & retirees should pay something (5%?), with progressive rate increases topping out at around 35-40%. Businesses would be much more competitive with a top rate of 15-20%, depending on profit/loss during the tax year.

A progressive & fair tax system will result when our elected politicians are the lobbyists for citizens.
"Tax cuts will spur the economy to great heights!"

--the ghosts of the Reagan and GWB administrations
Steve Hunter (Seattle)
His tax plan is modeled after his trump university, fleece the little guy to further enrich the wealthy.
Dominic (Astoria, NY)
"Growth" is Republican-speak for 'magic and dreams and unicorn wishes'.

They don't care much about how their scam of an economic policy will be paid for because that's not what they care about. The goal is to stuff more unnecessary and undeserved money into their already engorged bank accounts, both here, and in the Caymans, and beyond.

What does that do to working Americans? Who cares. What does that do to the deficit? Who cares. What does that do to the long term health of our economy and infrastructure? Who cares. It's all about the further enrichment of the 1% at the expense of the rest of us.

Are voters really so deluded- after nearly forty years of this scam- that they keep voting for it, expecting it to work?

Let me make this clear and simple: Unless you are a millionaire or a billionaire the Republican party does not care about you. Not one bit. If you're not rich, you can literally die in the street for all they care. Wake up!
JayK (CT)
The GOP fetish concerning "deficits" only seems to bother them when they are trying to bust the social safety net by trying to convince everybody that Social Security and Medicare are going broke, wah, wah, wah.

But amazingly, all that faux concern about the evils of deficits magically vanishes into thin air when you put a sexy tax cut in front of their face.

They start hyperventilating like a guy at a strip club.
Larry (Bay Shore, NY)
Alas, poor country!
Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot
Be call'd our mother, but our grave; where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air
Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell
Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good men's lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken.
Todd Yizar (White Plains, NY)
Not every American is knowledgeable about tax breaks, tax codes, what percentage does what, etc. If you want to say that it's each individual's responsibility to know about taxes, that may be valid, but to have something MAJOR, as expressed by the president, to be presented to the public on ONE SHEET OF PAPER to be discussed at a later date is an insult and a disservice to the average American. Where's the rest of it? What, just the statements that Mnuchin and the rest of the Goldman Sachs posse gives us is supposed to be satisfactory? I guess this tax plan was meant for those that understand it! The rest just have to bend over and take it! Guidelines? Really?
ken (Boston)
Well presented argument as usual. Trump has no sense of decency.
Emile Myburgh (Johannesburg)
Donald Trump doesn't think is unpopular with a record law approval rating. He thinks he's the greatest president ever.
Marc (Vermont)
We do have a "Grand Monument to Hypocrisy". It is called the Republican Party.
wolf201 (Prescott, Arizona)
Sounds like they want to turn us into Kansas. They are using the same formula. Guess what happened?
Razzledays (Pasadena, CA)
The abolishment of the Estate Tax not only benefits a tiny fraction of American families, very wealthy families, if it also abolishes the 'stepped up basis' applicable to all inherited assets. It will cause huge tax bills for the survivors of every decedent who owed substantially appreciated assets. Under current law, even if your estate is not a taxable estate for Federal Estate Tax purposes, your heirs get a new date of death basis on the inherited property, sheltering all of the appreciation from any taxation. Watch the fine print on this or we will have a new 'death tax' that will effect every estate with appreciated assets, including mom and pop's highly appreciated home. If the entire Estate Tax is abolished, this tax will also be a problem for spouses of the deceased person. Watch the fine print, taxation is almost as 'complicated' as Health Care. Who could have known?
Larry (NY)
By far the largest items for many who itemize deductions are medical costs and property taxes. Lower income people don't usually pay either and truly wealthy people aren't bothered by those costs. Those of us in the middle, however, need the help itemizing those deductions brings.
Vicki (Boca Raton, Fl)
What no one is mentioning is that the elimination of the federal estate tax will likely have devastating effects upon charities. Today, even the richest folks need never actually pay the federal estate tax. Above the exclusion amount of almost $11 million, they just have to leave their estate either to their spouse (which only defers the tax) or to charity, which totally eliminates it. Do you really think that the Kochs, the Mercers, the De Vos' or the Walmart heirs will still consider leaving some of their vast estates to charity if the estate tax is eliminated? We face a future of enormous wealth (and power) held by trust fund babies who never did anything...see, eg, the Waltons.
NYCtoMalibu (Malibu, California)
The one percenters who will benefit from this disastrous plan will not circulate their infusion of cash back into the economy. Rather, they'll hoard it, thereby exacerbating the downward spiral of our economy. For most of those at the very top, money is power. For the rest of America, money is a necessity to provide sustenance. And therein lies the difference.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
One of the biggest lies in this festering sewer of dissimulation is the notion that the spending of the rich has any more multiplier effect per dollar than anyone else's, or the government's.
Kennedy (Fullerton, CA)
We are only 100 days into this? How will we ever survive the next 1,360 days? The damage this man and his minions can do will last generations. I truly fear for the trajectory this country is feverishly and recklessly surging on without any concern for the massive and devastating consequences. Well, save the plutocracy which Trump serves, they'll eventually own and control everything, including us.
Out of Stater (Colorado)
Your frightening scenario is quite possible.
That's why there are only two solutions.
First, Democrats must take back the House.
Second, #ImpeachTrumpNow.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
No individual on this planet is the subject of more wishful thinking that this ridiculous slob president who validates nothing but American narcissism and bullying.
Raj (LI NY)
OK, let us take this non-sensical “tax cuts will pay for themselves” argument to the ultimate, rather absurd, n-th degree:

If a from 35% to 15% tax cut will be such an engine of growth that it will it will release a veritable gusher of new tax receipts, why not cut ALL taxes, for everyone, to say, 0%, yes – zero percent? Going by the reasoning and logic that is getting flogged to us right now, a zero-percent-tax-on-everyone-and-everything will quickly boost the economy into the stratosphere, and the federal government will be deliciously grappling with budget surpluses, and as a little side-note, would wipe out the national debt in no time.

And in doing so, we can also get rid of that old stone in the conservative shoe – The IRS. We won’t need an IRS to collect all those zero-income-tax returns!

So, can we do a zero-percent-tax-on-everyone-and-everything? Any takers?

I hope enough of us can see through the so-called one-page tax “plan”.
SkL (Southwest)
kwb (Cumming, GA)
If I read the tenor f those who comment here often, as well as the columnists, the only acceptable tax reform is one in which Trump himself pays more. Is that sole criterion one on which our tax system should be based?

As a side note, I believe that the major justification for a 15% corporate tax rate is to incent the repatriation of offshore earnings by American corporations. At present the 35% rate is applied to these earnings if repatriated; hence they stay offshore.

If the mortgage interest deduction were ever to be eliminated, now at a time of low interest rates is the time to do so. Increasing the standard deduction would even the playing field for non-homeowners.
TwoSocks (SC)
Having Trump pay taxes is not the sole criterion, but it's a start.
Doesn't it bother you that he has paid little or no taxes for probably his lifetimeI
I know you hail from a hotbed of progressivism, Cumming, GA, where as little as 30 years ago, there were no persons of color allowed to live there.
Instead of "incent"ing (when rich people get things, they are just being incentivized: when poor people get things, it's welfare) our corporations to pay their taxes by lowering them, how about they just pay taxes like they're supposed to be doing, at the posted rates?
Eliminating the mortgage interest deduction You don't change the rules by which people made their single biggest purchase, taking into account the tax advantages. Homeowners are also the only ones soaked with property taxes. What's up with that?
Jed (Houston, TX)
Well, how about closing loopholes. How about not designing a tax plan that clearly benefits Donald Trump and his family? And what ever happened to concerns about the deficit? All gone now?
Steve Bolger (New York City)
They're not gong to build any factories here with repatriated profits. They will simply buy back stock to make management even further out of reach of shareholders or the law.
OldMan (Raleigh NC)
So many words for a non-tax plan. The one sheet of nothingness continues Trump cornerstone philosophy, vagueness. Like his Executive Orders nothing tangible is intended, just ridiculous showmanship in the extreme.

Some 40% of Americans pay no income tax. The bulk of corporations already pay less than 15%, many household names such as Verizon pay zero. We do not need tax reform, we need a complete overhaul of the massive, incomprehensible tax code.

This brazen attempt to further enrich the wealthy while causing national debt to skyrocket is so nonsensical as to never get a minute of consideration by Congress, like the healthcare plan, dead on arrival.

It is appropriate for commentators to pounce of the stupidity of one page of meaningless words. The real harm is the angst felt by many such as my wife who is so scared our retirement is in tatters, not by any action taken to date, rather as FDR said we have nothing to fear but ... Sadly it is impossible to assuage these fears as it is impossible to refute vague, meaningless words, each makes of them what they will.

Can we please get back to the only issue that matters, the ties or not to Russia.
jrd (NY)
"Why, you announce a tax cut!"

No, Mr. Kristof. You launch a few dozen cruise missiles, and are applauded for it on the op-ed pages.

Perhaps you remember, because you were among the chorus.
Rose Weber (Berlin, MD)
BRAVO, Mr. Kristof, again. Thank you. Encore please.
Brad (NYC)
Trump is evil, plain and simple. But there is one point in his plan I do agree with. The elimination of the AMT.

The AMT primarily traps millions of upper middle income filers (like myself) who have children and live in high tax states like New York and California. You could almost call it a Blue State Tax.

Instead of the AMT, tax capital gains the same as ordinary income. This will make the rich pay their fair share and simplify taxes even further.
David Gregory (Deep Red South)
The next time any Republican starts talking about Budget Deficits and the Debt would someone interject that the last Republican to Balance the Federal Budget was 1969 under Nixon. Eisenhower did it only twice. Hoover before Roosevelt also submitted Deficit Budgets. Ford, Reagan & Neither Bush managed to balance a budget despite all the yammering on the Right about the Debt.

It is funny (as in strange) that Deficits only matter when a Democrat is in the White House.
Mick (L.A. Ca)
They don't mind deficits as long as most of that money's going in their pockets. When Democrats are president that money goes to help the people. That they hate.
Spucky (New Hampshire)
Robber baron.
Out of Stater (Colorado)
Exactly. J.P. Morgan would be proud.
Ron Mitchell (Dubin, CA)
So, Trump worked his whole career, if you can call what he does work, paid no taxes because he is so much smarter than the rest of us, and now wants to pass all of that wealth to his kids tax free. The art of the deal indeed.
ulysses (washington)
Of course it's a policy., Nicholas. It's just one that doesn't suit your worldview. Try a little compromise, for a change.
Billseng (Atlanta, GA)
It's one page of bullet points. If ever the phrase "the devil is in the details" applies, it is to this so-called "plan".
David T (Manhattan)
We can only hope that red state media and voters pick up on this and see through the boondoggle.
Mick (L.A. Ca)
Anybody who can't see through Trump in five seconds is it worth saving. Let them suffer.
Mark Shoenfield (Cedar Grove)
How about a minimum corporation tax, say 15 to 20 % So no corporations pay zero (see GE).
Phil Carson (Denver)
If corporations are people, they need to be taxed like people.
belle55 (Johnstown, PA)
As has been said, this is nothing more than "voodoo economics," cherished since the Reagan administration and recently re-christened "zombie economics." Has never worked, and never will. When will Republicans learn?
mary (06239)
Is anyone the least bit surprised? I think not.
Steve (Sonora, CA)
A modest proposal:
1) AMT. The problem with the AMT is that the threshold has not been reset for 15 or 20 years. So as incomes increase, one becomes possibly liable for AMT (a form of "bracket creep"). This issue could go away if Congress did a one-time reset of the threshold to an amount consistent with congressional intent back when, and indexed the new threshold.
2) Estate tax. We can get rid of this by removing a loophole: inherited property would no longer be subject to a "stepped-up basis." Heirs would pay the regular tax (ordinary or capital gains) rates on profits based on what Grampa paid for the asset, not on what it was worth at the time of death. Some reasonable exemptions could apply: e.g. a principal residence; the first x million of property transferred; ...
Martin Basson (South Florida)
Having spent my entire professional life in the world of estate taxes and money management this will clearly make some folks ecstatic and others disappointed at the elimination of their livelihood. The large investment firms will now have virtually unlimited amounts of money to manage now that rates will be lowered to 15% (take it from me, the lawyers already have the LL.C.'s ready to role out to convert the income of the rich to the lowest rate available....I've seen this happen my entire career). The profits of these firms will greatly increase and their tax rate will only be 15%. The losers will be the small group of estate planners who have had to conger up intricate estate plans to avoid this tax. The biggest losers will be charities now that the wealthy no longer need a charitable deduction to pass money tax free to their heirs. In a world where "afluenzia" is the most prevalent concern of the wealthy for their children and grandchildren there will be a virtual epidemic. And the middle class with high property and income taxes in "blue states"......well screw them since they didn't vote for me!
John F. McBride (Seattle)
Just as the Republican "American Health Care Act" is a sham that intends to grab more income and wealth for the Oligarchy in power, so is this tax plan.

A primer: from World War II until 1980 income in the U.S. grew at very close to the same rate for all Americans, the top 1% controlled about 10% of it, the bottom 50% controlled about 20%. By Trump's election the top 1% controlled over 20% of income, the bottom 50% about 13%.

Wealth is worse. The top 10% of Americans control over 76% of wealth.

Trump's tax proposal would return us to Grover Norquist's ideal, a Gilded Age society of very wealthy haves, and the rest as have nots. The have nots will fight Trump's wars, the haves will hang out in his Ireland golf resort with the wall built to keep out the ocean, not much different than his country with a wall to keep out the have nots created by other Oligarchies in Central America that enjoy the largesse of U.S. favor.

Ironic is that those who elected Trump and who will be punished badly by this outcome, still love the guy.
SkL (Southwest)
Nearly forty years later the "trickle down economics" ruse is still being peddled. It never worked. It never will. How on earth is it that so many people have let themselves be convinced that economics works in the exact opposite way that it does? You would think after decades of this failed nonsense anyone proposing such stupidity again would be drummed out of town. What will be very telling will be if the self-proclaimed party of "fiscal responsibility" goes for this.

If tax cuts paid for themselves we would have had no deficit for decades. If letting the ultra wealthy and corporations have hoards of cash created jobs and boundless prosperty we would have no uemployment and no poverty. The facts speak for themselves, but the usual suspects aren't listening. Brilliant solution Trump. Let's do more of what doesn't work.
Hank (Mokelumne Hill, CA.)
Gee-Whizz....with the Trump Tax Non-Plan, I'm just not seeing where there will be much money left in the budget to pay for that HUGE national infrastructure fix-up plan.
ZebecXebec (USA)
One would think that this is obvious, but apparently there's a light that needs to be switched on for some of us.
LoboSoltero (Seneca Falls, NY)
Perhaps the worst aspect of this travesty is that the debate necessary to stop it will preclude, yet again, the much needed, non-partisan, national discussion necessary to reform the tax system in a constructive way.
Chris (La Jolla)
Since when has Mr. Kristoff, usually an advocate for open borders and sending our tax dollars to third world countries, become a commentator on tax policy? I suspect that any policy that does not allow for accepting large numbers of refugees or send large amounts of money to other countries, is one to be criticized.
TDM (North Carolina)
Cutting the tax rates of the rich simply does not help the average American. We have been cutting the top personal tax rates since Reagan. If this humbug actually worked, we would all have swimming pools in our backyards and comfortable retirement savings. Instead we have nothing but a hugely growing inequality in income and wealth, which can only end up badly.
Dahr (New York)
Actually President Obama raised taxes. According to an analysis by liberal economist (and NY Times commentator) Paul Krugman, both the Bush and Reagan tax cuts for the wealthy have now been reversed.
L. L. Nelson (La Crosse, WI)
Stop the empty promise of trickle down and use tax policy to force a torrent down. Although I have a very very unfavorable impression of politicians' IQ's, surely they can figure this one out!

Hands off our deductions! Do not tax us on our taxes! Leave the deductions for property taxes, state income taxes, state and local sales taxes. Create a simple formula for calculating a sales tax deduction.

And while we're at it, strongly encourage all states to stop collecting sales taxes on groceries and clothing. It is highly regressive taxation.

Do not tax us on interest paid to our home mortgages, but limit this to two homes only, ones in which we reside for at least three to four months a year. Allow deduction of major home maintenance and improvements. Add a deduction for rent paid. Deduct dedicated saving for a home purchase.

Stop soaking single people at such a high rate. There are many more of us than there used to be, and while many of us are single by choice, many of us just don't get lucky. No more tax advantage just for getting hitched!

Increase deductions for dependents. Yes, tax credits for education, from quality childcare in infancy on up to the Ph.D. No more urban school district and state voucher programs: instead give parents a federal deduction for all child care and education expenses-- tuition but also books, fees, computer, internet connection.

Tax policy is social engineering. Feed the economy from the bottom up. It's not hard, people.
WMK (New York City)
Everyone will be seeing a reduction in their taxes which is great news for Americans. The wealthy pay an enormous amount of taxes while some people pay nothing. It is only fair that those who pay the most in taxes get the most in reductions. This is not unfair and why are the liberals so upset?
SkL (Southwest)
I'm middle class and I don't want a reduction in my taxes. I want our society to work. How exactly, are we going to fund our society with such huge tax cuts? The wealthiest among us have benefitted the most from our society so they should contribute the most. No one is saying that they can't be fabulously wealthy, but the extent to which it has escalated is ludicrous. These 1% are not thousands of times more important than the rest of us. In fact, for many of us the people who restock items at the grocery store, teach our children, and plow the snow from our roads are much more important.

If we live in a society then like it or not our economy is linked. These millionaires and billionaires are not smarter and do not work harder than most people. And they couldn't achieve what they did without the rest of society working. They are just rewarded more while others who work just as hard struggle to get by on the most minimal of minimum wages. That is wrong. It is an ugly and unfair society that gives more money to millionaires and billionaires who don't need it while others can't even afford to take their kid to a doctor.
WMK (New York City)
SKL of the southwest,

Your cost of living in the southwest is far less expensive than mine in New York City (Manhattan). Your housing prices are extremely lower than the east coast and you get a lot more for your dollar. I pay a fortune in maintenance fees and my food bills are enormous. Everything is much more expensive for me than you.

I am extremely happy to get any tax relief that I can as I pay a lot and get very little in return. You may not like getting a tax cut but I certainly do. Of course, you do not pay nearly as much as me.
TDM (North Carolina)
Because the price of bread is not proportional to one's income.
hen3ry (New York)
Proposal: any tax cut that benefits the current administration or Congress should not be put into effect until after the next presidential election. If the same president is elected he shall not benefit from the tax cuts he enacted until he's out of office and only in that year will he benefit.
Mick (L.A. Ca)
Trump would quit.
Laura (Traverse City, MI)
We're not well off, in fact some measurements label us lower middle class, but the tax plan Trump proposed during his campaign would have moved us into a lower tax bracket, saving us 3% of our income.

I suddenly found myself married to a Trump supporter, as my husband, who worries about us constantly, saw the potential for some relief. In the end, he stumbled across the Access Hollywood video and the clip of Trump mocking the reporter and sadly realized he couldn't vote for this man. My sigh of relief may have been heard 'round the world.

However, with Trump elected, my husband looked on the bright side - a 3% raise. When I despaired over the countless heartless actions and proposals of the POTUS and his minions, my husband simply remarked that Trump had better deliver on his tax plan or he'd be a one term president. Not the response I was hoping for.

The past month has been interesting, as my husband has become incredibly critical of Trump for a variety of reasons, the most surprising of which was him questioning Ivanka and Jared's place in the WH (Ivanka was once a major point in his pro-Trump argument).

Now that this tax proposal has come out, my husband is at a complete loss. We may or may not move to a lower tax bracket, but between losing the ability to write off our state and local taxes and our investment property, we will definitely lose, while Trump will gain even more.

It's very possible my husband will join me at the next march.
john petronius (jax)
Hey Laura,
Don't get a divorce yet...wait a bit.
Patrick Stevens (Mn)
Who needs an entertaining President at the podium for the White House Correspondents Dinner, when we have one who throws out punch lines and comedy skits on a daily basis while doing his "work". This tax proposal is a one page, one liner. it makes no fiscal sense, will bankrupt the country with hand outs to billionaires, and provide no lasting economic stimulus. It's a joke. I am not laughing.
Greg Lesoine (Moab, UT)
Well said. The one assured outcome of Trump's "plan" as such, would be to pass on our current spending to future generations for no good reason other than to provide a windfall for Trump and other millionaires and billionaires. Very populist indeed.
Carol Abramovitz (KW, Fla)
"Trump's tax plan is a betrayal to his supporters", we all know that his supporters do not read and get their news via the entertaining Fox. Trump knows this fact as well.
This one page"tax" plan will enrich Trump and the 1%, the inevitable result of this Presidency. Can the country survive this Presidency is the real question.
Andy (Salt Lake City, UT)
One more thing. For the tax cut proponents out there, I'll acknowledge that tax cuts are a form of fiscal stimulus. They do grow the economy. However, you need to understand the full implication of what you're getting yourself into when slashing taxes.

Historically speaking, tax cuts generally provide about a one-third return on investment. That's 0.33, not 1.33. Meaning for every $1 dollar in tax cuts, the government receives 33 cents in returned revenue through economic growth. Therefore, cutting taxes by $7 trillion will grow the economy by some amount but explode the deficit by about $4.5 trillion dollars anyway.

The next point to consider is distribution. The benefits of economic growth are unequally distributed. The tide may rise but that doesn't mean everyone or even most people are on the boat. We've been watching wage inequality expand since the time of Reagan. I don't expect that trend to magically reverse because GDP hits 3% growth. If anything, I expect it to accelerate.

Finally, you have a counter force at work. Namely, the Fed. Their job is to keep the economy from overheating. An overheated heated economy is like excess fission in a nuclear reactor. If the Fed fails in their duty, the economy eventually melts down. As witnessed in the Great Recession, the fallout disproportionately impacts low income households and retirees.

The alternative is for the Fed to raise interest rates. Do you see? Even if you don't like government, you can't have it both ways.
Steven (Marfa, TX)
Let's try to make this really simple, so everyone understands:

The rich want to eliminate any taxes on themselves, to make themselves richer.

This will cause a massive, unprecedented level of debt for the country, beyond anything we've seen before.

The country will then have to borrow to pay back that debt.

Who will the country borrow from? The rich people it indebted itself to, so that the rich people wouldn't have to pay any taxes.

And what will happen when the country can't pay back the debt it incurred to make the rich people wealthier?

The rich people will take the assets left. They will "foreclose" on all of America.

There will be no public schools, trains, roads, healthcare, retirement.

There will be no "public sector" -- such a nice, jargon term.

In other words, there will be no commons for the commonwealth. There will be no public.

There will only be rich people, and slaves.

That is the plan. Whatever is not in the rich people's pockets, must be drained away from any of those places where value exists in public holdings: national parks, public lands, pensions, retirement funds, social security, all savings, any private properties -- including cars and boats and such -- not already owned by the rich people.

And then they will have it all, will have all the money, the political control, and we will have nothing except the ability to beg.

This has been the plan since Reagan.

It's the future we are rapidly heading towards. Pay attention.
Bonnie Lee (NYC)
I disagree. We won't have the ability to beg because begging will be illegal. However, it won't be necessary to beg because everyone will be fully employed in whatever form of slavery is required to support the elite power structure and the endless wars they need to justify their existence. 1984 has finally arrived.
ECWB (Florida)
Thank you for explaining this so concisely.

The GOP has also worked to -- and succeeded in weakening public education so that future voters don't have sufficient understanding of history or the ability to think critically enough to understand how they are being used by the rich.

That is one reason his supporters follow him so blindly now. That and their shared hatred of "the other".

Our democracy is in real trouble.
Mike BoMa (Virginia)
That "Grand Monument to Hypocrisy" has been in the works for some time now. The Republicans built it themselves but placed different signs on it as they became increasingly self-interested and extremist. An early sign was "Contract with America." It has also been known as the "Pledge to America" and the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge." Republicans love to hide their primary efforts to diminish the federal government and serve the wealthy behind various labels with attendant PR campaigns. Now, with an acknowledged PR master in the White House, and an administration packed with wealth manipulators, the hypocrisy becomes more boldly evident. If they complete their campaign to control the courts, the other signs won't be needed and their hypocrisy will reveal itself in its full unconstrained glory.
s (st. louis, MO)
Cutting taxes on businesses has at most a minor effect on job growth. As a small business owner, I hire people because I need the help. Running a business entails a lot of expenses. Each month, most money that comes in also goes out, as wages, rent, supplies etc. Taxes are a relatively minor expense. Put it this way, if the difference between profit and loss were the taxes, it wouldn't be worth the effort to stay in business. I am glad to live in a country that enables me to create and build a business. As long as the taxes are reasonable, I am happy that I am earning enough that I have to pay them. Trump's tax plan is pure nonsense as far as job creation is concerned.
Michael (North Carolina)
To top it all off, Mulvaney recently and cynically said in the context of his budget proposal that "elections have consequences'. Never mind the fact that this so-called administration was installed with less popular votes, and the help of extreme interference by a foreign adversary (of the US, clearly not of trump), which has yet to be fully disclosed or even independently investigated. This is the height of dangerous, destructive arrogance. Our nation, and especially our democracy, is in peril, and utterly from within.
Terry (ct)
Corporate tax cuts will stimulate spending on infrastructure and jobs? Okay, instead of setting a new rate, how about this: each corporation's tax rate will be computed according to a formula that considers (a) investment in research and infrastructure; (b) the number of new American jobs created each year; and (c) the size of the gap between senior executive compensation and the salaries of the bottom half of the company's employees. The hbetter the score, the lower the rate. (Smaller companies get bonus points.) Let's prove, with hard data, how well it works.
Agreed. It's madness.
All criticisms of GOP tax proposals need to emphasize that the top marginal tax rate under Eisenhower was 92%. Period. Start with that. Then maybe mention the "Greatest Generation." Mention the price of war. Mention the GI bill and the Interstate System. Then let the Republicans counter.

Of course there were a ton of caveats and loopholes and shelters for this marginal tax rate of 92%, but use this rate as an opening salvo and let the GOP crazies explain those caveats. That's called going on the offence.

Sure. Using this rate is slightly misleading, but it is true. Absolutely true. Much more true that projecting that economic growth will result from making the richest Americans even richer. That is neither true false. It's just Uber-Rich-Guy's egocentric wishful thinking.

Did America go belly up with the richest in a bracket above 90%? Quite the opposite.

Reality Check:
But Democrats are fundamentally cowards and fundamentally almost as selfish as the Republicans. They are scared to be called socialists, even though it was a Republican War Hero who taxed the rich at 92% and built the interstate system that facilitates our addiction to oil. Eisenhower is the socialist. In terms of economic policy, the modern Democrat is a Nixonian Republican. The modern Republican is just pure unrestrained id.

Tax 'em like Ike.
Joe (San Francisco)
The rich never paid anywhere close to those rates btw. A study from the Congressional Research Service concludes that the effective tax rate for the top 0.01 percent of income earners during the period of the highest taxes (actually 91%) the income taxes paid was actually 45 percent. Given that the top bracket is so much lower today ($3,425,766 in 1955 vs. $413,200 in 2015), the 39.6 percent top marginal rate probably yields something pretty close. Another major factor was the myriad of deductions and loop holes that used to be available. Many of these were eliminated by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which by no coincidence coincided with the biggest rate deductions.

Unfortunately though, some memes die hard.
John Q Doe (Upnorth, Minnesota)
I didn't see the Border Wall Adjustment Tax (BWAT) that would tax individuals with total gross income above $500,000 at 1.5% for four years and corporations with earnings above $10,000,000 at 1.25% for 3 years to be used to pay for the Trumpsters Wall. Did I miss this and do I need to contact Mr. Mnuchin to have this amendment added. All of The Donald's tax beneficiary's need to have the opportunity to contribute to his dreams for America.
Andy (Salt Lake City, UT)
There are quite a few numbers flying around. I agree there's probably no point in calculating any exact cost at this stage. Once Republicans start factoring GDP growth into their estimates, arithmetic need not apply. We know it'll be big though. These guys make Dr. Evil look like an amateur. For the sake of consistency, I'll use the $7 trillion figure. Just to give a sense of scale, you could build the HMS Titanic roughly 4 million times using $7 trillion. That's after inflation.

Lets play a game: What would you do with 7 trillion dollars?

Think hard about your answer. I certainly have my wish list. Handing it to a bunch of wealthy people with absolutely no accountability whatsoever isn't on it.
Donald Ambrose (Florida)
Trump has been a low life grifter from day one . He has held every law and bit of decency in this country in contempt. He is now looting the nation on th front end with his endless golf trips to his over priced properties to crafting a tax policy tailor made to benefit himself. Perhaps the fools who wear those stupid hats should take them off and let some sunshine clear their vision.
Vesuviano (Los Angeles, CA)
On my agenda for this week: call Congresswoman Judy Chu's office, and the offices of Senators Schumer, Feinstein, and Harris, with the following message. Please do not even participate in any legislation on tax reform unless and until Mr. Trump releases his current tax returns. Further, do everything in your power to obstruct, oppose, and delay any such tax reform until Trump's taxes are a matter of public record.
Jonathan Simon (Palo Alto, California)
We're getting ever deeper into "Let them eat grass" territory here. The elections of 2018 and 2020 are all that stand between Americans and the awful choice between storming the Bastille or living meekly under the thumb of fascism and permanent and extreme economic injustice.

The Dutch took one whiff of our 2016 elections and decided on the spot to count theirs by hand (and surprise! the far-right candidate fell on his face while the Greens quadrupled their previous best showing). Are we really going to just sing "tra-la" and go on trusting the computers and programmers of Dominion, ES&S, Hart Intercivic, Triad, Command Central etc. to gin up our electoral results for us in the pitch-dark of cyberspace? Are we really that dumb? Are we really that lazy?

We like to think of democracy in terms of rights, but it comes also with duties. Like the Dutch (and the Germams, Irish, Candians, et al), we could count the votes of 2018 and 2020 by hand, observably in public, or we could at least institute uniform, public risk-limiting audits on Election Night.

It's not that hard, not like bringing about world peace or solving climate change. But it will take mass public insistence and the use of our best weapon: the economic leverage that organized consumers have in a capitalist system that depends on their continuing to buy more stuff. If we don't follow the Dutch and secure our elections, all the protest and howling in the world won't keep Trump&Co from telling us to eat grass.
Atul Rai (Kansas)
JK Galbraith once said that modern conservatism is about finding moral reasoning for selfishness. Trump's tax plan exemplifies the selfishness of plutocrats. Give a ten dollar credit for child care for the poor and save two billion dollars in estate taxes for Ivanka Trump and her siblings, all the while scamming public and future geberation with voodoo economics.

Yes $10 for a poor family and $2,000,000,000 for Trump kids. That seems just about right.
Green Tea (Out There)
One slight oversight in an otherwise excellent column: the corporations that so easily avoid American taxes are multinationals that can "shift" their profits to the books of a foreign branch. A purely local corporation can't do that, and ends up paying the world's highest rates.

That probably SHOULD be changed.
FrankWillsGhost (Port Washington)
Here's where Trump's tax plan becomes an obvious hypocritical give away to the ridiculously wealthy. He wants to ELIMINATE the AMT. If he wanted to help middle class families and NOT give a huge tax windfall to the ultra rich, he would re-INDEX the AMT. The AMT was instituted in the 70's to ensure that the very rich would pay their fair share. As the years went by and inflation took its tool, the AMT ensnared more and more of the middle class at the bottom of the AMT. So, Trump and his billionaire buddy Mnuchin should simply re-INDEX or raise the floor of the AMT so middle class families wouldn't have to pay the higher AMT tax. But keeping the AMT at the higher end would ensure that the very wealthy, who make much of their wealth through LLCs, carried interest, capital gains, etc. pay their fair share since they have access to loopholes that the middle class does not.
Dave Sproat (Pittsburgh)
Doubly brilliant tactically and strategically! Lower taxes for businesses and the wealthy, while at the same time, emptying federal coffers so as to strangle the Federal government financially. It makes it a lot easier for Congress to slash social support programs , healthcare, etc. if politicians can by default say: "Hey, I didn't want this either, but "gosh darnit" wink wink, we just don"t have the funds anymore to support it". Forming my LLC now.
Mary Pat M. (Cape Cod)
Thank you Mr. Kristof for telling it like it is - now let's hope the Congress is paying attention so when they are presented with Trump's plan to enrich himself they will reject it.
Nina (Newburg)
Congress will not pay attention unless, and until, we all get on the phones and call our representatives. They are, after all, supposed to vote as we, the electorate say....not as they choose! That is why they are known as "representatives." It is up to us to hold them and at the ballot box.
Gerard (PA)
Never in the field of taxation was so much given by so many to so few. Mission accomplished.
RK (Long Island, NY)
After about 100 days of Trump, people are nostalgic about the Bush/Cheney era. That's probably the best that can be said about Trump.

Bush had a surplus at least when he took over and decided to give a tax break to the rich. At least Bush didn't give away government land, as Trump is apparently planning to do.
Independent DC (Washington DC)
Large corporations will benefit which stinks. However, large corporations employ the most people. They will hire and keep more people not because it is the it is the right thing to do, but because of their greed. They will make even more money and attempt to crush their competition which will cause their competition to hire and keep more people. Trump knows this because he is one of them!
It is silly to think that Trump is changing the tax system to benefit Trump. The man already has more money then he or his family could ever spend. You need to remove the Trump hater glasses for a minute. He actually knows what he is doing with this plan.
Its all about jobs and this plan is good...very good.
Nancy Rockford (Illinois)
Give to the Rich, take from the Poor! It's the Republican way. Never mind that Trickle Down is known to be completely ineffective. Just look at the disaster in Kansas to see this plan in action.
Richard Rubenstein (New Jersey)
Did anyone hear any mention yesterday of the carried interest deduction, which Trump ran promising to do away with? No, I didn't think so.
Ron (New Haven)
This is just another Republican plan to transfer wealth to the wealthy that does nothing for the average American (especially those who voted for Trump). This is just another sales pitch by Trump and his wealthy friends to gain more wealth without doing anything for the economy. All the Wall Street pundits are happy since, should this tax go through, it will boost stock prices while the rest of America goes hungry. Wall Street greed knows no limits.
European American (Midwest)
"...we should build a Grand Monument to Hypocrisy in their honor."

They passed the threshold for that monument long long ago...
Mark (Rocky River, OH)
You are wrong. Republicans 'pretend" they can't do the math. The goal is a simple one. They will bankrupt the country when the demographics make it impossible for them to ever win another election fairly. Who knows what else will occur in the interim. It's over folks.
Marie (Boston)
After reading some of the comments, as well as the basis of this plan, it seems a lot of people are like the seagulls in Finding Nemo. They see every thing as mine. ......Mine. ....Mine. ...Mine. ..Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. MineMine. Minemineminemine. When is enough enough for them? Why should they be happy with 15%? Or 10%? After this the oppressed wealthy will be back for more of what's mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Believe me.

I doubt that I am little different millions of others who wouldn't mind more pocket money but pay our taxes through deductions, have what we have at the end of the day, and don't obsess about every dollar as mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. We know that while less than fun, taxes are necessary to maintain this country that Trump claims he wants to make great again, as if it already isn't.
mtrav16 (AP)
No thought of changing anything in the tax code until the head miscreant and it sycophants release their tax returns and investments.
Curt (MD)
I guess it's time to form my s-corp. Maybe the CPA industry will get a little economic boom out of this and we all rush to form tax saving scam entities? Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.
Mathias Weitz (Frankfurt aM, Germany)
Under Cheney-Bush they had at least a fraud scheme for their heist.
And with subprimes Bush boosted at least for a short time the economy before the system fell apart. And something tells me that Trump will in time come up with something worse, maybe he sells warrants for his university or Ivankas fashion trade mark.
sjs (bridgeport, ct)
And the average voter will not understand that they are being had, being cheated, were conned.
USMC1954 (St. Louis)
Reagan economics redoux.
Cut taxes solves all the problems.
Let future generations pay for the excesses of today.
Low or no taxes and HUGH military expenditure and subsidies to the carbon merchants.
What else in new in Republican land?
William J. Massicotte Ph.D. (Montreal, Canada)
Trump is merely being consistent, i.e., he admired Putin who is a kleptocrat which he equated with being a 'strong' leader.

Hence, this outline of a plan would help create a class of de facto kleptocrats in America, including Trump himself.

I gather the average American's role would be to function as a 'human battery' much like the role humans had in the Matrix. But here they would supply financial energy to the new kleptocratic class.
TDurk (Rochester NY)
Republicans love to trickle down on the American people.

Trump's proposal merely opens the spigot to allow more trickle.

Kansas. How can it be said any plainer?
Victor (Pennsylvania)
You remember Obama's proposed tax cut for constitutional scholars and community organizers, don't you? Republicans rightly shot it down, as they should do for this Trump self-tax reduction.
Joel A. Levitt (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
The unprecedented President Donald Trump, the most accomplished American at hoodwinking the humble, wouldn’t take from the poor to give to the rich if he could find a better way to line his own pockets.
Aslan (Narnia)
No tax returns, no tax reform.
petey tonei (Ma)
Who is going to twist his arms?
beth reese (nyc)
If this tax"reform" horror show passes Congress, I propose we re-name the United States. Oligarchistan comes to mind-it would be an honest term for what we will have devolved into.
Nora 01 (<br/>)
This is simply another way to increase inequality. That will be the result. We have been dragging these one percenters around on our backs long enough. We don't need a tax holiday; we need a tax revolt.
bellstrom (washington)
While Ryan and the "freedom" caucus are working to shift the cost of Medicaid to states, Mnuchin is working to tax the increased state taxes that the middle class will have pay to support the increased cost of Medicaid. NYTimes, how about an analysis of how these two plans work together to make America great?
Jonathan (Black Belt, AL)
If they build that wall maybe we can name it the Grand Monument to Hypocrisy. And yes, in his situation you first announce a tax cut and then you announce a war. Stay tuned!
Now it is clear to me how Mr. Trump declared so many bankruptcies.
DAM (Tokyo)
Hey, it's a big country. The rich are a minority. If every poor or middling class person skipped a cup of coffee a day, that would pay for this. Where is your perspective? People are sooo small-minded.
If Starbucks won't let us put collection cans in their stores, we need to find something else to tax that people will want. We need to tax beauty. Think how much Mr Trump would want to pay so he could publish his tax returns!
Konrad Gelbke (Bozeman)
Right on!. Swamp Monster Trump out to avoid paying his fair share in taxes try changing the tax law -- after all he won the election and is entitled to make a profit. The GOP does not have a problem with that.
jimfaye (Ellijay, GA)
The Republicans cut taxes for the wealthy every single time they get the Presidency, and every single time we end up with a terrible recession and financial collapse. Why don't they ever learn anything? And, why on earth do the voters keep voting these awful people into office? Don't you remember what George W and His father did to our economy, both times? It was brutal, y'all! For God's Sakes, vote for a Democrat, any Democrat! And, save our country.
roger (Painesville, OH)
The elements in this tax plan that benefit the very wealthy are cogent, focused, and well-defined. Those elements benefiting the vast majority of Americans , however, appear very hazy and more like a suggestion, not to mention optional. They are certain to be bargained away once the haggling with Ryan begins.

Anybody who is surprised by this hasn't been paying attention since the Reagan "revolution".
Virginia (Cape Cod, MA)
I'm really tired of whining million- and billionaires, who act like they've got one foot in the poorhouse while bashing people who do for being "lazy" or "making bad choices".

Really? If it's so tough up there because of your heavy tax burden (nonsense, btw), feel free to give it all up and join those lucky folk unburdened by taxes are we because they don't earn enough to pay an income tax...or for an education for their children, or for health care, or to buy a home, or pay for gas to get to work...

The very wealthy need Attitude Reform.

Real tax reform would be less about tax brackets and more about the income discrepancy and double taxation. I've never understood why public servants like teachers, social workers, firefighters, police, etc., whose incomes come from taxes have to pay income tax on those professions. That is money which has already been taxed, and doing away with an income tax for those people would encourage more people to go into those professions, which would hugely benefit society. Why is this country so hellbent on placating the very wealthy? If they don't like the "burdens" of being very wealthy, quit the wealth and go work at McDonalds! Sheesh.
Res (Los Angeles)
the wealthy need to be placated because they paid for the elected officials - those senators and congressfolks and they want some kind of return on their investment.
TalkPolitix (New York, NY)
Employment taxes, mostly known as FICA on your pay stub, are paid for by employee and collected by employers. The employer treats the payment of these taxes as simple wage expenses and all payments by companies are 100% tax deductible. Hiring expenses were tax deductible before this proposal, and they will be after it.

Hiring more employees is based not on expenses that are already tax deductible but on new economic opportunities that come from increased demand. Tax cuts do not create demand per se; the assumption is that tax savings will be spent on goods and services, and in the case of businesses that is rarely the case.

All Americans pay a flat 15% on wages before taxes for FICA capped at $117,00. This is not tax deductible for workers, it is never rebated and can not be avoided. This plan makes no change in this tax, and all working people no matter how little they make will pay this 15%, and despite GOP talking points that claim some pay no taxes this never happens, everyone pays FICA.

So no Mr. Krisof reducing "employment taxes" will not incentivize more long term jobs, nor will it grow the economy or decrease deficits. It is fools gold and should not be comingled within the framework of tax policy discussions.
maggilu2 (W. Philly)
Taxes are an investment in America. Without taxpayer investment, America would never have had interstate highways, the communications grid, the power grid, The CDC, the NIH and other initiatives that contributed to a higher standard of living for the average American. Incidentally, those same taxpayer-funded initiatives allowed businesses to make money.

How can a lower tax rate for corporations not be considered as anything but a deliberate disinvestment in our country. All one has to do is look at the state of our roads and highways, or the state of our railways to recognize the disinvestment in our country that has been escalating during the last 30+ years.

The fact that many of these corporations and the Über-rich already hide much of their income in offshore accounts, this is unpatriotic and bordering on being traitorous.
KPW (Basel, Switzerland)
As an American living abroad, I find it utterly shameful to return to my home country and witness the condition of roads and highways, compared to the everyday experience here. One 40CHF (equal to USD) yearly tag buys year-round access to all highways, bridges and tunnels (and with all the mountains, there are many) nationwide. You basically never encounter a pothole, and every single light in every tunnel is operating. All I can think is "something is wrong in America" - and indeed something is. A new tax plan is needed, but the proposed one is certainly not it. The rich need to be paying their fair share.
Deborah (Ithaca, NY)
Trump and friends:

"Golly. Writing out a tax plan for the nation is complicated. Wow, and Iran and that nuclear deal, that's more complicated than we expected. Not sure about Syria. Jared's gonna fix up that whole Middle East thing. The relationship between North Korea and China is pretty complicated. Negotiations are a pain in the neck because complicated. Replacing and repealing the Affordable Care Act ... that's not so easy. There are all these sick people in the game. Where did they come from? Hiring national security advisors who haven't sold themselves to Turkey or Russia ... yup, complicated. Nominating ambassadors and assistants and staff to help run various vital government agencies? Complicated. NAFTA? Complicated. Building a strong wall across a long, long border interrupted by Native American lands, rivers, and hard terrain? Hmm. Complicated. Jailing Hillary Clinton? Not easy. Let's forget that one.

Somebody should have warned us."
TexasTechie (Austin, TX)
Thanks!! You said it very well!
Virginia (Cape Cod, MA)
What is so depressing is that his supporters won't spend one second really thinking about this. Their support for him won't alter one bit. Everyone asks why. Well, here is the answer. Trump, in public, relentlessly expresses hatred for someone or some group, and his supporters love that. That hate of some "other", be it a judge who ruled against what they think they want or Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or immigrants (or as our new AG calls them, "filth"), they will love him more and more. It amazes me how right Trump was when he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Ave. in daylight and not lose one supporter. That massaging of these people's inchoate anger and need to blame someone else is the manna on which they feed, and Trump knows it. So long as he's the god delivering that potemkin nutrition, they will never question him. What is so scary is that history shows that the need to find a scapegoat and a leader willing to provide one has never, ever worked out well for anyone. Trump supporters hear only what they want to hear and reject that which they need to hear but don't like. They're going to pay a high price for that, but they'll cause millions of others to as well, because they needed someone to cater to their hate and blame rather than being adults and looking at facts, reason, history, and reality. Talk about snowflakes! They're a whiteout snowstorm, blinded by their own hissy fits of irrational rage.
Tom (Rochester, NY)
Very well put, Virginia. We are witnessing the escalation of tribalism in America -- the irrational rallying behind a tribal leader, regardless of facts or reason, stoked by his scapegoating of an "enemy" tribe, carving us up into "us" versus "them." Unfortunately, evolution wired us humans to be tribal like this, so all it takes is an effective demagogue who is willing to exploit this flaw in our nature, and turn us against each other, blind with fear, hatred and ultimately violence. History shows over and over again that this story never ends well for anyone. When will we ever learn?
Bigg Wigg (Florida)
I'm convinced that there is a large segment of the US that somehow believes, I'll give some the benefit of the doubt and say that it's unconscious, that the acts of govt intended to improve the lot of average citizens, ie civil rights, environmental and consumer protections, etc, have put them , as they see it, behind the 8-ball. And, that no other variables, micro or macro, have anything to do with it...
Sarah (California)
Spot on. I've said since November that there's a single reason he won: Trump gave the hordes of bigoted haters in this country permission to hate openly. Their resentment has been building through 25+ years of being told they had to be nice to women and minorities, and then a charlatan like Trump comes along and opens the relief valve on their ugly prejudice. That is the sole explanation for his God-awful "victory" at the polls.
Ron Amelotte (Rochester NY)
Every time I hear some politician say "I trust the American Voter" I want to kick him right were it hurts most! Trump looks at the average American and sees a "mark" a "chump" a "sucker"! Wake up America! At least when Bush did this we had a surplus and he couldn't wait to empty the "Piggy Bank" thus driving the country into economic chaos that took 8 years to dig out of. Now we have a deficit and this plan could do what? Trump just doesn't care. By the way my wife and I paid 14% of our income for taxes. Near as we can figure the Trump plan would cost us at least 20%. Thanks for thinking of the Middle class Trump, you thief. By the way I want to see Trump's taxes, even though we know what he is going to pay for 2016 taxes! ZERO!
Wake up America!
john petronius (jax)
U r up there in republican terr. Keep your voice hollering. glad to know there are still some of us who listen, appraise and think.
mr. mxyzptlk (Woolwich South Jersey)
Some corporations pay a tax rate of 35%. Ironically that is 4 % less than actual wealthy people are required to pay and Republicans have told us all that corporations are people. Who do these politicians actually work for? I think we all know the answer is their campaign cash donors. get the money out of politics.
tom (pittsburgh)
Since the Republican SCOTUS gave personage to corporations, why do we need two different rates? If 15% is good for corporation persons it should be good for real persons.
Gerard (PA)
A great idea except let the corporations use my tax brackets: filing as married after the first merger.
Doubling the standard seduction will not help any single or married salaried middle class Nyer who earns less than $200,000. In fact they will pay much more. NY (and other high tax states) have very high Real Estate taxes (downstate especially), as well as high State taxes. These total far more than the double standard deduction of 12,000 or 24,000. If they have high medical costs that are not covered by insurance this will add to their higher tax burden.
It will also hurt Seniors in the same category as above who probably have low or no mortgage but still pay high RE and State income Taxes on investments and pensions (Not including SSA). They are also probably have higher medical cost not covered by insurance (dental?)
This might also hurt the Real Estate industry in states that have high RE taxes. Who would want to buy a home in Westchester County where RE taxes are huge? And, if suburban Real Estate Sales are hurt, so will the school districts who depend on them.
So, doubling the tax deduction will hurt most homeowners in high Tax states. I redid my taxes by this plan and I would owe an additional $15,000 assuming I was in the 25% category.
Sparky (Peru, MA)
I beg to differ that this tax reduction is not paid for. The tax bill will be paid for with massive future reductions in Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid in order to deal with the huge deficit and debt this tax plan will cause. It's called starving the beast. This is the GOP plan to get rid of the safety net and repeal FDR's New Deal.
Defiant9 (Columbia, SC)
Trump, in many of his candidate speeches spoke boldly about tax reform. He even claimed the changes would cost him dearly but they had to be done.

Well his plan is here. It cost him dearly. He won't have to pay much in taxes under the plan. The only cost would be to USA. He would help you dig a hole so deep there would be no way out.

Or there could be a way out of so much debt after making the rich richer. How. Get rid of Social Security and Medicare as we know it. The programs would be gutted and alternate solutions benefiting corporations and rich individuals like Trump would be substituted. The country as a whole would be poorer for it.

The cost Trump talked about is on YOU.
Imagine if the Pres really thought the 100 day mark was an important measure. The sound bites alone this week are deafening. The big plans (which they are not) diverting. The results nil.
- Meanwhile alleged crimes committed by aliens are published
- An immigrant crime reporting hotline is established; (most calls are about
flying saucers); and,
- The Russian scandal inquiry buried under drivel.
Add to the mix, an almost weekly update on some potential conflict of interest among the nation's leaders.
But at least we will reduce the tax rate for the wealthy.
mancuroc (Rochester)
This single-sheet widely-spaced plan has about as much detail as Arthur Laffer's famous back-of-the-envelope curve.

And it's no more well-founded.
Gate (Florida)
Here's a tax reform proposal. At the start of each year companies and individuals identify the number of people they employ and the amount of their payroll. For the top 10 percent of their executives they get no deduction. If they have added workers or given raises during the year they get to deduct the raises and workers added in full (this would be separate from the normal business expense deduction). For the bottom 10 percent of workers that get raises they get to double the deduction. If they have lowered salaries and cut workers they would have to reduce their deductions by an equal amount. This would be tax reform that spur employment growth.
Dsr (New York)
Looks like the standard republican 8-step playbook for success:

Step 1 - cut taxes dramatically for our overburdened wealthy
Step 2 - praise small increase in growth and say resulting exploding deficits don't matter
Step 3 - watch economy stumble into recession, exploding deficits further
Step 4 - watch lots of Americans lose jobs
Step 5 - lose election
Step 6 - Blame democrats for deficits, insisting on deep cuts in spending - particularly education and food stamps - and more tax cuts to 'stimulate' economy
Step 7 - fight government investment in anything, hoping people get frustrated at how ineffective Govt is
Step 8 - ride frustration back into power
LWK (Long Neck, DE)
As a 76 year old retiree with several ailments, a large deductible paid share of my health insurance, regular dental expenses for check-ups and occasional crown or root canal with no dental insurance, two recent visits to the emergency room, and an outpatient surgery last month, taking away the medical and dental expense deduction would severely affect my tax return. There appear to be several ways our "Entertainer" President's tax and health care proposals would adversely affect seniors.

And remember that the only 2005 return that we have seen showed that Billionaire President Trump would not have paid a $30,000 income tax were it not for the Alternative Minimum Tax, which he now seeks to eliminate.
Cathryn (DC)
The title of the movie of the Trump presidency: "The Heist." Trump and complicit Republicans are taking apart our precious country for their own financial gain. It is obscene.
Mr Kristof asks: 'And this is populism?'

The likely answer is 'sort of'. It's a 'unpresidented' kleptocracy wearing a populist mask. This Administration will make just enough populist noise to justify or obscure its heists, and no more. And there is what is hopefully its fatal weakness: how much does anyone want to bet that Trump will show the necessary restraint in greed?

Many of us saw the signs that it would be this way (including, I think, some Trump voters), but it hasn't mattered so far. Hopefully, the blinders are coming off the Trump voters, but frankly I have more hope in Director Comey and the Congress at this point than that Trumpists will understand what is actually happening here.
Bill (Cleveland, Ohio)
This is, of course, reality-show theater to satisfy the clown-president's ego driven need to show 100-day accomplishments. But more interestingly, why would people like Cohn and Mnuchin soil their reputations by participating in this charade?
Bos (Boston)
Sure, he is robbing those who sent him to the Big House and giving the loot to himself, his family and his fellow swamp creatures; but the most curious thing is the voter constituents seem to cheer every time they are had. A classic case of Stockholm Syndrome
Dahr (New York)
Some of this is certainly junk, and I doubt it will pass as proposed. But focus on effective taxes really misses the point. People or companies with similar incomes should receive similar taxation. The way it is now, some pay a lot more than others. Some companies pay no tax, while others pay a lot. Our tax policy is why a lot of companies have "moved" ( for tax purposes) overseas. Closing loopholes and lowering rates that everyone pays is just fairer, whether for companies or individuals. The fact that rich people can benefit from hiring trust lawyers just perpetuates unfairness. A fair tax code would eliminate both the benefit and reduce the motivation to evade taxation.
Jon_ny (NYC, ny)
in other countries we would label so much of what is proposed and attempted as corruption.

some tax "plan " thoughts...
1. drop everything proposed.
2. eliminated 100 special interest deductions. one per day of presidency.
3. raising standard deduction does not help minimal income people. even above... means less for 15% ers. instead a negative income tax.
4. don't tax Social security income... tax was already paid once.
5. keep medical deductions as a separate deduction at 100%
6. keep state and local income tax deductions... don't double tax and further favor people having a second tax residence.
7. made social security deductions be on total gross or net income and increase the percentage with income. stopping having it be a regressive tax on lower income people.
8. keep estate tax. people should be encouraged to work instead of jetting the world using pappas money.
Rick Beck (DeKalb Il)
The über wealthy taking care of he and his own.

The uber wealthy growing the coffers of those who are in need of absolutely nothing.

The uber wealthy pretending that all that prosperity for those who need nothing will be good for those who by comparison have nothing.

The uber wealthy scamming bottom feeders with yet another trickle down scheme.

Been there done that. It never works out well for anyone but the uber wealthy. Those who gained while everyone else lost during the last scam are in line to exponentially grow those gains again.

The rich get richer at everyone elses expense because the fools have nothing but false promise to cling to. They do it over and over again at the fools expense. How pathetic is that?
Topaz Blue (Chicago)
My spouse is a middle manager for a beverage distributor, which is a privately owned company that would benefit greatly from this tax plan. There is no way the owner of this company would use the funds from lower taxes to pay for things such as new hires (salespeople, delivery personnel, warehousemen), additional inventory, new trucks, etc., if the demand for these beverages isn't any higher than what it currently is. Face it, these business owners will keep it for themselves, as this owner has done in the past with other windfalls (in this case, a large sales award from a beverage manufacturer). The focus of fiscal policy needs to be on demand not supply. Thus, claims that growth will ensue due to tax cuts is ridiculous, especially when the middle class and poor will ultimately pay the price in terms of reduced or eliminated safety net as a way to pay for this gift to the rich. This will dry up demand in the long run. An infrastructure plan would be better for demand than tax reductions that mainly benefit the wealthy.
Marie (Boston)
RE: "This isn’t about “jobs,” as the White House claims. If it were, it might cut employment taxes..."

Many large "job producing" companies already have millions and billions stashed away under the current "oppressive" tax system that they aren't using to add jobs, decrease prices, or any of the things that is being claimed they will do if that get more money.

If after the business owners decide to hold on to more wealth or buy out their competition with the savings there is any investment as the result of the new tax rates for corporations it will be in systems and automation that will either eliminate paid positions or make them more efficient so they don't need to hire additional people. Or both.

Go to any business conferences as I do. Go to the vendor exhibition all. None of the vendors are selling services or products to businesses that will help them hire more people. No, they are selling greater efficiency and cost savings that will allow them to do more with less.

Don't be fooled.
David (Maryland)
Republican politicians at the national level are not "deficit hawks" (with rare exceptions), they are "tax hawks." Grover Norquist must be grinning like a Cheshire cat, because this proposal would hobble the nation with debt and serve his goal to reduce government "to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." Trump did not campaign on doubling deficits, but of course neither did GW Bush. My Republican brother winces when I remind him that the Federal debt could have been wiped out under "liberal" President Al Gore. Instead, we got wars and tax cuts (sound familiar?), and we now have a debt of $20T.
Steven (NYC)
My wife is a self-employed professional and I own a small corporation with ten employees. This plan will give us the tax relief we need.
MMF (Arizona)
Why are you paying any tax at all on your corporation? I'm a business owner with an "S" corp and don't pay anything but payroll taxes. Everything else flows through the K-1
Cheryl (Yorktown)
We're supposed to comment on the policy, not ourselves. Sorry, but I doubt that I'm alone: i felt physically ill when I heard the framing of this tax cut, designed to create a permanent ruling class. Period, that's it. The ones who think they and their families will be able to live as they want, protected and secure no matter what happens to the environment and public schools, and the health needs of the small people ( Leona Helmsley).

Reductions in complicated tax regulations and marginal rates for small businesses do make sense to me ( and in NYS this may be doubly true).

But one can well imagine that if most corporations are paying little now, with a cut to 15% of taxable income, they will be paying what Trump pays - essentially nothing.
Mr.HowardBeale (Naples Fl)
What is fair share? I'm sure it's a higher tax for anyone making more than you. You liberals have no concept of economics. The great society ruined the black family and now you want to ruin anyone who is smarter, quicker and harder working than you at what they do. Look at Venezuela and see the results of your thinking.
Jan (NJ)
The estate tax was 40% it needed to be eliminated. Obviously the academic democrats (who have never taken a business or finance course) do not know how tax cuts work. They stimulate the economy and put more money into the economy. Three brackets is easier and more efficient than the seven. When companies here than enables more people to pay taxes because they are hiring more people and we are not paying unemployment checks.
Cheryl (Yorktown)
40% of what??? Most people don't come near the level (
$5,490,000 - single) of wealth to trigger any estate tax. and most people with sizable estates utilize trusts to wrap up their assets)
Meando (Cresco, PA)
I am a registered Democrat (not an academic Democrat) and I did own a small business. Taxes were the least of our concern, demand was our biggest concern, as it is by definition for any business. Lowering our taxes would have meant nothing. I now work for a large corporation, and lowering their taxes will not automatically put money back into salaries or the economy either, except after increased stock dividends and higher bonuses and profits for the top management. That's not cynicism, that's just how the world works everywhere but in Supply Side Wonderland
Marcia (NY)
Show me one time since Reagan first put in trickle down economics that this has worked? It just doesn't, only increases the deficit and income inequality. Trump's real plan. let them eat cake.
rajn (MA)
Make a stipulation for the companies- that they hire more people, reduce automation and cover fully employees health insurance. Then I do not mind if they are taxed at 15%
Seb Williams (Orlando, FL)
The average effective corporate tax rate was 2.5% last I checked. Why do they need a cut? They aren't paying those taxes anyway. It almost seems like they're trying their luck. The tax code is such a scam written for the benefit of corporations and the rich that it seems unwise to draw a massive spotlight to it (of course, everything is secondary to the Cheetoh's ego). I guess they just assume that they won't pay a political price for, well, anything.

I mean, I suppose the standard deduction increase would be nice (as an unmarried, non-home-owning, childless, above-average earned-income individual, the tax code pretty much hates me). But I'll just be mailing the extra back to the government's student loan profiteers anyway, and I'm sure Congress will be back to punch me in the face in a decade or two, so it's hard to see any silver lining. Of course, the Trump voters will love this, uh, "plan", because the President is wearing an American flag lapel pin, and the rest is just mumbo-jumbo and Fake News.

Wake me up when September ends... in 2018.
Dan (Pa.)
That lapel pin should only be worn by those who have a DD214. When I see it being worn by politicians I get sick.
Clay Bonnyman Evans (Appalachian Trail)
All the way back in the late 1980s, I worked with an in-law of the "great" Arthur Laffer, conjuror of the "Laffer curve," the bogus and transparent claim that lowering taxes always boosts government revenue.

It was dare I say, "laffable" then, and history since has proved it even more of a fairy tale.

And yet millions upon millions of people still believe in it.
Matt (SoCal)
Perhaps a love of irresponsible tax cuts helps to fuel the right's anti-choice position: it's much harder to steal from future generations' earnings if they won't be around to make those earnings.
delmar sutton (selbyville, de)
Vote for progressives in all local. state and federal elections that will ensure the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes/
Phyllis Mazik (Stamford, CT)
Creating extra tax brackets on very high adjusted growth incomes has built in benefits: it discourages greed, scheming, predatory activity and other negative behaviors used to make a buck and encourages reinvestment in businesses, hiring and providing employees benefits. It is counter intuitive but works because it encourages the use of assets to build the company which incurs no taxes as it is overhead. That is why we think of the 1950s as great years. High income tax rates built America.
John Eller (Des Moines)
Another pile of far-reaching, vastly destructive, lie-based policy from His Heinous, the Minority President-defect, President Golf.
ivehadit (massachusetts)
We've tried bombs, now free money. What WILL it take to get me more popular?
Edward Calabrese (Palm Beach Fl.)
Another con from the grifter-in-chief.
Those tax savings will go right back into their own pockets, once more leaving Joe Q. Public scratching his head , wondering where the job growth has gone.
Brian (New Orleans)
Mnuchin claims "growth" will result from the "plan". He is correct of course - For billionaires only.
DBman (Portland, OR)
Why are we surprised that Mr. Trump's tax plan, like everything else in his history, benefits himself while undercutting those who have done business with him? Why are we surprised that Mr. Trump reneged on a promise? It's the same pattern he has shown throughout his life. Trump has a well-documented record of ripping off people who lent him money, were his customers, were his contractors, or, in this case, people who voted for him.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Nora 01 (<br/>)
Didn't he get elected on a promise to run the country just like a business? Well, how does run a business? Into the ground. Who knew it would be so easy to put a large country into bankruptcy? Then, he will walk away with a pile of graft - er, cash.
jimbo (Guilderland, NY)
Republicans view higher taxes on the wealthy as redistribution of wealth and a bad thing, but they view lower taxes that benefit mostly the wealthy as not redistribution of wealth and a good thing. Corporate profit has soared since 2008 while median income has fallen. Yet the response is we need to help the wealthy so they can help the little guy. To help pay for this, Trump is going to cut programs like meals on wheels, after school programs, foreign food aid, and health insurance for the poor because "there is no evidence these programs work". But trickle down, proven not to perform as advertised, that is a different story. Bottom line: Wealth for the wealthy and profit for corporations will soar, the stock market with take off, and the average American will once again foot the bill. And Mr. Ryan and Mr. McConnell will have to ask our children,grandchildren,and great grand children to lower their expectations. But that is ok with them: The Republican hypocrisy train is running at full steam.
Tom (California)
If anyone still believed Trump was looking out for the little guy, this tax plan should put that myth to bed.
klm (atlanta)
Commenters here ask how long will it be before Trump's base realizes they've been conned. Read the interviews of Trump supporters in the Times today. The answer is "never".
hawk (New England)
Mr. Kristol has no fundamental understanding of the US Tax Code in it's current form, in fact the average person doesn't either. It has been years since most people have filed their taxes without the aid of of a computer program or a tax preparer.

There are 199 perfectly legal tax deductions, most of which are not available to the average tax payer. And unless you are a small business person, you have never heard of the safe-harbor rule.

Kristoff does not understand how the middle class, small businesses struggle with an obscene, perverse tax code. It was written by the donor class C-Corps to benefit big business.

People like Sanders and Warren should be shouting for joy over this plan, it is exactly what they have been preaching about. Kristoff believes every business person is a millionaire. Not true. Sub-S profits can easily be bracketed just like income.

Capital generated from profit is like water, it seeks it's lowest level, and it is mobile. Workers are not mobile. Which is why it finds it's way to place like Ireland that charges 12 points, not 39. Without investment in plant and equipment, wages stay the same. Productivity gains have come to a stop.

And it is the middle class that pays the biggest price.
Nora 01 (<br/>)
You have not figured in the fact that when corporations invest in capital improvements they invest in automation that eliminated jobs, not creates them. Your small business may need relief, but you will hardly profit when your customers cannot afford your product.
petey tonei (Ma)
Nope. According to Bernie the rigged economy just got more rigged
kayakherb (STATEN ISLAND)
This is what you get when you put a fox in charge of the hen house.
Do you expect anything different from this thief ?
Meredith (NYC)
Mr. Kristof....our various office holders have been lowering taxes for the rich and big business for a long time. Have you notices,through the decades, lower and lower, while shifting the tax burden to millions of average earners. Have you been criticizing this all along?

And criticizing why this has happened? Campaign finance laws allow our financial elites to buy our elections, since candidates are dependent on their funding to run for office, or must launch their run using their own wealth, then get the megadonors.
Thus corporate monopolies flourish, and can flood congress with lobbyists, direct party platforms and influence congress and presidents. ABC, get it?

Columnists are now making careers out of anti Trump. What an easy gig, and good benefits along with the prestige. Of course, we need the anti Trump, columnists must also criticize the system that spawned the 'shameless one' and the shameless congress that created this whole mess.
Alan R Brock (Richmond VA)
Republicans, with Trump as their standard-bearer, illustrate the need to re-calibrate the scales used to measure hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty.

The tax "plan" suggested by this depraved Trump administration is about jobs in the same way that voter ID and registration laws are concerned with preventing in-person voter fraud.
American household (dancing on the table)
Do away with this tax plan and give every American household the 160,000 dollars. Now.
The Washington Elite is being replaced by the Washington Mob.
petey tonei (Ma)
It's blatant siphoning in broad daylight. All the money siphoned to already billionaires and multi billionaires.
ihatejoemcCarthy (south florida)
Nick, it's realy ironic that Trump who professed to be the champion of the little people in all his rallies, has turned out to be the biggest hypocrite that we had ever heard of.

It's true that the ordinary Americans were having a rough time for more than a decade or so but what Trump did with his latest turnaround of slashing the tax rate to 15% from 39% for his billionaire buddies is nothing but putting a dagger to the very people's heart who voted him to power.

The big corporations who never paid any of the higher taxes as we had structured for them, with Boeing,Verizon,General Electric and Priceline paying no federal income tax over a five-year period as pointed by you here,showed how much Trump thinks about his billionaire buddies than the people who put him in the White House.

All the mom and pop shop owners and all those really hard working Americans beside the millions of unemployed or underemployed citizens like us who were just trying to make a living or put the food on the table or pay for our childcare has been thrown under the bus by this very stupid as well as evil, 'irresponsible, shameless, budget busting gift to zillionaires like himself' tax plan that Trump proposed yesterday, as you pointed out in this article..

Only good thing about this fiasco is that this horrible plan from our would be dictator is not going anywhere in our Senate as per the Government Accountability Office who already predicted that this tax cut will raise our deficit by ten fold.
Sara G. (NYC)
Mr. Kristof, you say that "Trump’s tax “plan” is a betrayal of his voters. He talks of helping ordinary Americans even as he enriches tycoons like himself."

It was pointed out, endlessly and everywhere, that Trump was a self-serving crooked, corrupt charlatan. There was audio evidence that he was a sexual predator and that he lied compulsively. Yet his supporters proudly cheered him on in the face of gargantuan evidence. They mocked those who pointed out this evidence and his serious flaws.

They deserve every bit of suffering they get; unfortunately and tragically, we and the planet will be suffering right along with them.
Ed M (Richmond, RI)
It is really a bad movie where the great majority of the population are robbed by a few to enrich themselves. They used to be called Robber Barons swooping down on the Rhine River traffic from their castles. Todays Robbers tell us that they are interested in helping the country. It reminds me of the politician who said he wanted to do the greatest good for the greatest number. asked what the greatest number is, he replied "number one". Multiple bankruptcies have helped enrich Trump, but the US government and our national solvency cannot risk such throwing of the dice.
Munit Ahmad Kakar (Islamabad)
The buck really stops with economists and particularly those of neoclassical hordes who developed theoritical models which were accepted as final truths by academia and politicians. All those fancy inverse U-shaped curves have turned out to be not only misleading but politically noxious too. Sponsored by corporate sector those models were not an honest attempt to explain reality but to reinforce the dogma of market neutrality. The consequences are too visible to dilate upon. Obscene inequalities, chronic unemployment, stagnant wages, financial catastrophes and bailout of too big to fail oligarchy. But the most disastrous outcome is political where the specter of populism is haunting the world. This tax fraud is nothing but paying homage to those defunct economists but with a keen eye on bank balance.
Mark Alexander (UK)
Take one look at Trump's cabinet! That will tell you what this president is about. It will tell you all you need to know. The Donald is turning the US into a nepotistic plutocracy. How the Americans put up with this nonsense is beyond me. Everything about this president is odd: his behaviour, his image, his grimaces, his body language, and of course his schemes. In fact, he has so many schemes afoot that one could rightly call him a schemer!

By the end of The Donald's time in office, America is not going to be any better off; but his cronies will be. Much better off. The billionaires will become zillionaires, the zillionairaires will become squillionaire. Welcome to Trumpland!
DK in VT (New England)
Trump's plan is the same as any other kleptocratic dictator's: loot the wealth of the nation at the expense of the people. And the inexcusable enablers are every last dishonest, greedy, irresponsible, mean-spirited, hypocritical, lying sack of manure republican politician in the country. This is not the party of Lincoln, it's the party of Baby Doc, Idi Amin, and Putin.
bill b (new york)
Make it stop. This is not a "plan" this is an exercise in
public relations designed to create the illusion of doing
This is supply side nonsense. Leave it under your pillow
and the tax fairyl leaves you with deficits ad infinitum
This is just another con and grift to hustle the rubes
and the media so it can pretend Trump is 'growing"
That an a Metrocard wil get you in the subway
Jane (San Jose)
I just woke up w/ the sober realization that the US is run by a criminal organization.
Paul N M (Michigan)
The only way to stop this tax plan or something similar is to convince Republican members of Congress. Not easy. The mechanisms are obvious: town halls, phone calls, letters to the editor. The difficulty is in getting the message to the people who can do that.

Analytical writing in the NYT, protest marches in California, think tank papers and mocking skits on SNL are of limited use. People in 'red' states who care about the middle class and workers should distill their views on the Republican tax plans and present them in local newspapers, ads on local TV (especially Fox affiliates) and in calm conversation with neighbors. Don't attack Trump (his supporters take it personally). Instead, criticize this Republican policy for enriching the rich while social services and protections for our workers and the environment we live in are reduced.
Chanzo (UK)
Perfect headline!

Somehow, Trump was allowed to get away with claiming that his tax cut was "especially for the middle class".

Apparently, enough people bought it. And who will they blame when some future administration has to deal with the Trump debt?
p wilkinson (guadalajara, mexico)
Looting the US for his personal benefit. RIP USA. I am glad I got out during Bush 2, the writing was on the wall. Being a citizen with family and colleagues in the USA I like many cannot believe this is happening - what were you thinking you working class and less than 1% voting in this marauder?
Elmo Harris (Niagara Region)
This will all be easily fixed with QE by devaluing the American dollar to create jobs that compete with third world economies. Welcome the the America Peso!

FW Armstrong (Seattle WA)
Stop referring to this criminal as the President, he is not.

Colluding with the russians is cheating, and you can not win if you cheat.

Also remember that none of this nonsense could have happened without the RNC and Mitch the turtle man himself.

Show us the tax returns.
michael kittle (vaison la romaine, france)
The Republicans are geniuses at getting people to vote for legislation that not only doesn't help them but arguably hurts them year after year.

Trump was elected by this same group of voters that actually believed he would help them. He didn't.

The explanation for this self destructive behavior is psychological, not practical.

If you convince the lowest economic voter that he is voting for a policy that will stop a dogooder from spending his money to help an undeserving neighbor you dislike, you will not notice that your own money is being stolen to help the already wealthy.
Mark Phillips (Helsinki)
This isn't a tax cut, it's a tax redistribution. The deficit will be paid for by ordinary Americans, while the cut will gift that money to the wealthy, who will likely redistribute it among themselves, with very very little trickle down effect. But the deficit is the biggest concern. While the trickle down is open to debate, having to pay the deficit at some point down the line is a given.
Lorraine Huzar (Long Island)
The trickle down is NOT open to debate. It has been debunked time and time again. Supply side economics fails every time. It did in the 1920s, in the 1980s and the in the early 2000s. Each time is was promoted by Republicans. The result ? The Great Depression and two subsequent recessions. The last ? The worst since the Great Depression. The Republicans do no work for ordinary folks this is a shameless gift to the rich.
Michael Chaplan (Yokohama, Japan)
Mark Phillips says, "While the trickle down is open to debate, having to pay the deficit at some point down the line is a given." I think you are confusing "debt" and "deficit."
Realworld (International)
People are correctly demanding to see Trump's taxes to see where he, family and stakeholders have benefited so far and how this sham of a plan will further enrich them. It's already well known he does not want to reveal the extent to which he has avoided paying tax. But the more interesting information that he does not want out there is: the amount he owes, his net worth and the most important detail of all, the actual people and organizations with whom he has been partnering and how much he owes them.
Dave T. (Cascadia)
I fail to understand how the party of Jesus Christ can keep pimping deficits when they run things and austerity when they don't.

Laffer gas, voodoo economics, dynamic scoring, it's all the same scam.

Still, I'm sure lots of people will swoon over it because everyone loves something for nothing, now don't we?
py (wilkinson)
Wonder what all those people who didn't vote are thinking right now? If this "plan" gets any hearing at all, the next step is to pass a law to make voting mandatory so we can all share in horrifically bad decisions.
William C. Plumpe (Detroit, Michigan USA)
Trump's supposed "tax reform plan" is nothing but government welfare
for Trump and his billionaire cronies.
Trump and his wealthy buddies will save literally billions of dollars in taxes.
Trump and his family alone could save at least a billion dollars in taxes.
And who will pay for those savings? Why you and me of course.
The most self serving, venal and mercenary tax plan ever proposed.
A major, major conflict of interest.
Certainly proof of the Devil's golden rule---
They who have the gold make the rules.
Welcome to the new Trumpocracy---
government of the Trump, by the Trump and only for the benefit of Trump.
Panicalep (Rome)
From my 17 year experience in finance and taxes in Germany, mostly with American companies, I think our country should follow the German course on corporate taxes e.g. higher corporate tax rates for companies that do not repatriate their profits and dividend them out, than those that do both. It worked then. Rather than reducing the high US Corporate Tax Rate, which no US corporations pay, keep it high for those that do not repatrate their earnings and have a lower one for those that do. Might be too simple and too negative for U.S. Corporations, but it is one that would work, and one that is fair to the country's citizens who are paying a higher rate of taxes than corporations and their executive officers.
Eliminateing the Alternate Minimum Tax again would benefit only the super rich and not the normal US tax payers, especially those with Buyers' Remorse who voted for president trump!
Mark (California)
The United States is dead. Why does any object to the vultures picking apart its corpse?
Jeff Jones (Adelaide)
I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect Trump just bought his second term.

What a different country America will be in 8 years. You'll effectively have an aristocracy and peasant class for one thing. Another few terms of Republican dominance on top of that and you may even get a caste system.

558 days until the midterms. For what it's worth.
John M. (Virginia)
Can you tweet "conflict of interest"? Apparently Trump can't!
TruthByFire (NY)
As an activist in the 60s, some of us grasped that there was an avarice, deceit and greed at large that had to be arrested by the better angels of our nature or we would perish.
Sadly, the damage to our planet renders it beyond saving.
Trump is what you get at the end of the world. Read my words and mock them as hysterical at your peril. It's time to leave and find higher ground.
There's no remedy.
Manuel Molles (La Veta, CO)
It gets worse every day as we watch the unfolding of 45's addled psychodrama, as his base cheers. I hope we survive as a country.
Dan (Pa.)
I have serious doubts about that "survive as a country".
Chris Bowling (Blackburn, Mo.)
"If Republicans embrace this “plan” after all their hand-wringing about deficits and debt, we should build a Grand Monument to Hypocrisy in their honor."

It should have been built after the '80s. Trumponomics is merely Reaganomics on steroids.
Ed M (Richmond, RI)
Another head for Mount Rushmore, only just as he has turned his back on Americans, the new head should be easily done by showing his mullet.
Sam (Richmond, CA)
Even Mr. Kristof doesn't say it clearly enough.

The main reason to keep a very substantial estate tax, especially for millionaires and billionaires, is to prevent the rise of a hereditary aristocracy of money and consequent power.
Nancy Parker (Englewood, FL)
The estate tax - labeled the death tax by the PC GOP - affects couples worth over $11 million. One 5th of the 1%ers.

I don't know anybody like that. It certainly won't affect my estate or my kids or any of my friends or their kids or anyone we know. And we're pretty well off. And our kids won't have to work if they don't want to. Why all the concern over kids that never earned the money they will inherit? They will still be obscenely wealthy without ever getting off the couch. Waaah.

Let them limp along on a few million, and their Ivy League educations and world travel and personal connections. See if, like poor Trump, they can build careers out of that kind of start, not like black Obama with split race parents and community service backgrounds.
Ed M (Richmond, RI)
The rich seem to do fine, even without making this a permanent class enshrined for all generations to come, no matter how vile and stupid they might be. Oh wait, they will have the private schools since the public schools will be holding tanks with education limited to adoration of the rich.
Steve G (Bellingham wa)
So, where does the money come for infrastructure?
Grover loves this because the purpose here is to "starve the beast" and thereby create a financial crisis in which entitlement programs cannot be payed for any longer. It has nothing to do with stimulating the economy.
If you want to stimulate the economy, raise taxes on the top 1% (a lot) and put Americans to work rebuilding America. More jobs, more money in everybody's pockets to buy stuff, more jobs,... Not to mention a healthy competition for labor which would lead to higher wages. Now that's a flood across the economy and we need speak of trickles no more.
Lew Fournier (Kitchener, Ont.)
One thing Trump has going for him is his idolators' absolutely willingness to be conned by the most obvious of his get-richer-quicker schemes.
kathleen (00)
Welcome to Trumpland, where Voodoo Economics transitions to vampire capitalism to zombie corporate oligarchy. Pretty soon people will start eating babies.
Longestaffe (Pickering)
"And this is populism?" That's my cry, too. Once again we return to the question, When will those members of the populace whose intelligence Donald Trump profitably insulted in 2016 begin to feel the insult?

Both fortunately and tragically, the robber barons in power now are going to hurt working people so badly that a Trump-style con can't succeed next time. To add to the tragedy, some of those people seem to have had the spirit and even the sense permanently crushed out of them.

A few days ago I saw a TV documentary (in Japan) on the reactions of Trump supporters to his performance in office. Several aging white working men interviewed in a group somberly agreed that their jobs were not coming back after all. Of course Rome was not made great again in a day, but these men had seen enough to recognize that things weren't going to get better for them. So what did they think of Donald Trump? Only one man spoke at length, but he put it this way: Trump is doing more than any other president has done, he's doing all that anyone can do, but -- (in a soft, subdued voice and with a look of blank despair) -- "he became president too late."

I've been exasperated with Trumpists who couldn't or wouldn't admit their folly in the face of all evidence. But for people like that man, the ability to live out life insulated from such shame may be one of Nature's mercies. I believe that most people will recover and move forward.
old sarge (Arizona)
"...facing investigations into the way Russia helped you get elected,..."

Sure would be nice to see proof rather than speculation, opinion or just plain old sour grapes over the loss!

But about the tax plan: If anyone believed that the wealthy would not benefit from Trump's plan they were delusional. Figures lie and liars figure. Or something like that. The most appealing part to me? Abolishing the death tax. What I own is what I bought with what I was able to keep after taxes. It is unethical to tax it after my demise. It is heartless. So I am happy with that. As for anything else, well, this is a great country. And it takes money to protect it. I just don't like to see it squandered.
Stan Continople (Brooklyn)
As long as we're trying to find out what Trump would gain from such a program, let's look into what Mnuchin and Cohn would get out of it. They're the real brains here and if they've resigned themselves to bowing before a boorish imbecile like Trump for a few years so they can become even more filthy rich, then it must certainly be worth it to them and all the other Goldman alumni.
Jeffersonian (NY)
I think the wealthy are not as much a problem as the rent-seeking wealthy. It appears that Trump promotes the rent-seeking wealthy that live in a market-free capitalist society instead of actual job creators that live in a free-market, capitalist, society. Trump seeks to promote and perpetuate the wealth of people who do not innovate but, rather, sell, at a high price, the milk of the sole cow left. Decent high-speed internet is priced at a $100 a month, while in Europe you can get better, and from multiple competing providers, for less than EUR 20.
Polaris (New York)
Who's surprised? Trump runs a government of, by, and for himself.
Robert (Seattle)
Nicholas Kristof writes, "And this is populism?"

It certainly is. For Mr. Trump, populism is saying what your supporters want to hear, whether or not it is true, realistic, what you really plan to do, etc.

The great heist continues!
Michael (Tacoma, WA)
The best way to help ordinary people is to do things that will really only help the super-rich. Deficits only matter when Democrats want to do something. Only Republican Presidents get to nominate Supreme Court Justices. This is just the new reality of American politics. Doesn't make any sense, but making sense is no longer an arbiter of truth.
LB (Del Mar, CA)
If this tax proposal doesn't prove that Trump cares nothing about the average American and sees the Presidency as a way of enriching himself and family and those similarly situated, nothing can or will. If enacted, this proposal would enable anyone who can work as a corporation or otherwise structure their income to realize tremendous tax savings. While the average American, who pays a large proportion of their taxes in the form of payroll taxes, will see little if any savings. The proposal only continues and exasperates growing income equality by taxing, as a practical matter, income from work at a higher rate then passive income earned from investments (often referred to as income from "rents"). And while the AMT should in all fairness should be applied only to much higher amounts (due largely to the historical failure to index the tax for inflation when it was enacted) in just one year in which Trumps tax information was obtained, the elimination of the AMT would have saved Trump over 100 Million dollars in taxes. So Trump is hardly a disinterested party. The same applies to the estate tax. Is it any wonder the poor struggle to survive while the rich only get richer?
Plan in a nutshell--Make rich richer and thrive--Kill off all poor and propel middle class into the poor, and then kill them off too. A utopian world of wealthy is the goal.
Colenso (Cairns)
Paid maternity leave and paid paternity leave mainly benefit the white upper-middle, professional classes: lawyers; doctors; degree qualified accountants etc. Compared to the relatively well-heeled, the least well off men and women don't benefit much from paid family leave in any country.

In the longer term, what does benefit the poorest more than paid family leave is a statutory minimum, living wage.

Of course, a civilised nation has both. When it comes to paid family leave, the USA is in good company with Liberia, Swaziland, and PNG. As for a federal minimum wage, the USA will introduce that when it introduces a federal GST or VAT — in other words, when hell freezes over.
Ruby (NYC)
The Grand Monument to Republican Hypocrisy is already overdue.
Ray Ward (Idaho Falls Idaho)
Just another in the never-ending, GOP led fraud scheme called 'Trickle Down Economics." Tax breaks, especially for the wealthiest Americans, have never, or will they ever, create real jobs, increase incomes for the poor and the middle class and certainly won't reduce the deficit (it's pretty simple math here folks). The hero of the modern Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, used the same formula to create the largest deficit in the country's history, at that time.
The truth is that the deficit is only an issue when the Democrats either control the House and the Senate, or hold the Presidency. Hell, they (GOP) will jeopardize the credit of the United States of America, when a Democrat is President, due to him doing what every President over the past 50 years, or more, has done, raise the debt limit to keep the government running. Of course, that brilliant "patriotic stand" cost the taxpayers billions of dollars, due to the effects on our nation's credit score.

As the author so accurately wrote about Trump running on a Populist agenda (just another one of his countless lies), then doing everything in his power to screw the average American ( and this is definitely not the only policy decision that runs totally opposite to his campaign promises, nor will it be the last) will eventually, one would think, alienate his supporters. But then, I'm not sure that is possible.
Adirondax (Southern Ontario)
Trump's supporters still believe in him. Yugely!

Why? He's giving them a bigly tax break.

The fact that he's actually giving a monstrous tax break to the .1% will be totally lost on them.

And so it goes.
Reader In Wash, DC (Washington, DC)
Kristof like most bleeding heart liberals really get upset with the idea of people keeping their own money rather than it being stolen via taxes to buy Democratic votes.
Chris Miilu (Chico, CA)
Or maintaining the interstate highway system, and bridges and dams. Not that there is much maintenance going on.
Realworld (International)
But sorry to break it to you, the average person is not keeping their money under this plan. They get a few inconsequential crumbs while as always with your GOP it's "benefits for the boys" and to hell with the deficit despite utterances to the contrary. You've been had (again and again and again).
Reader In Wash, DC (Washington, DC)
Someone posted:
Residents of high tax states would no longer have tax deductions for state and property taxes.

Not everyone wants to subsidize NY, NJ, CA, etc... Let those state stop their wasteful spending.
Chris Miilu (Chico, CA)
D.C. squanders whatever amount of money Congress allocates for the running of the local government. When I lived there, the mayor was convicted of fraud. Congress is now full of bought and paid for representatives of large donors whose campaign contributions keep these crooks in office. If that isn't enough graft, the current Congress is full of reps from gerrymandered Districts. None of these grifters ever want to return to their home districts, except to campaign for votes. D.C. has great restaurants, and perks for those in Congress. McConnell is a perfect example of Congress: lives in D.C., and returns home to campaign in an old pick up truck he keeps there for vote pandering; he gets a lot of money from mine owners who also bribe local officials to ignore safety violations in the mines; one can surmise that McConnell has his fingers in the natural gas pie. Paul Ryan went to school on his father's SSDI benefits; he now wants to eliminate those benefits. Those are just two examples of what comprises the current entitled bunch squatting in the Capitol. This might be the most corrupt government since Warren G. Harding. At least Harding didn't have a bunch of worthless family members feeding at the public trough.
Anne (New York)
I seriously doubt you are a tax paying D.C. resident as you would know that your tax dollars support a government that you have no representation in as DC residents do not have voting representation in the House or Senate.

At least those residents in the states you deride had a vote about what they want their tax dollars to do.

If you really were a DC resident you'd be complaining about how eliminating all those deductions will have a negative impact on your taxes not making silly comments about residents of other states. Anyone who pays taxes in DC knows those deductions for state taxes, mortgage etc offset the pain of paying taxes for a government that continues to refuse to bring a vote to Congress on voting reps for DC and keeps saddling residents with goofballs like Chaffetz who wants to interfere with DC laws the one thing DC residents can vote for.
Chris Miilu (Chico, CA)
I lived in D.C. for 5 years, and then moved to CT. I worked for a very political law firm, met a few congressmen and senators. So, yes I am aware we had no representation. At that time, I had moved from CA and didn't really care about representation in D.C. It was enough to learn the traffic rules and how to navigate traffic circles. As a 6th generation Californian I am well aware of what taxes do; we pay a high tax and we get quite a bit in return. Any other smug remarks about someone you know nothing about?
sdw (Cleveland)
Nearly all of Donald Trump’s lies have been proved false, although there are some diehard believers – thanks in part to the purveyors of fake news. The Trump approval ratings are at historic lows as a reflection of a man who is habitually dishonest (and woefully incompetent).

The Trump tax plan, in which he is joined by most prominent Republicans, is an incredibly bold theft of America’s wealth in order to re-distribute that wealth to the very wealthy.

In other words, our tax laws and the lax oversight of Wall Street and corporate America long ago created an obscene disparity in wealth. Donald Trump and the Republicans are determined to make things even worse for the poor and the working class.

America has become the Trump Family Piggy Bank. Donald Trump and his children shake down what they want out the bottom of the bank. Their greed may drive them to smash Piggy with a hammer.
al miller (california)
We are officially in new territory. My least expectations (which were shockingly low) have be shreded. Trump is nosediving right through them.

In one sense, I am not that alarmed by the "plan for a plan." Trump hasn't had a plan for anything and when presented with one, he is too busy watching "Fox and Friends" to find out what is his "plan for a plan." This is just more fraudulent marketing. The triumph of no style over no substance.

What is a little surprising is how trickle-down tax policy is still taken seriously. Let me be clear. Despite what the Times tells, there is no real debate among serious economists about trickle down tax policy. At best, it provides a .1 to .2 % in growth but at at huge costs.

We had whittled the budget deficit down after W. launched his trickle down scam. Now Trump wants to try it again.


But I for one will support it if the Donald will show us his tax returns. What does he care about taxes? He doesn't pay them anyway.
TwoSocks (SC)
The Trump Trojan Horse Tax Plan - the real reason for the complete abnegation of responsibility to the American people shown by the Republican Congress. The Border wall, the Immigration ban, the embrace of "religion" by a clearly non bible-reading (any reading for that matter), non-churchgoing thrice-divorced serial adulterer and abuser of women, the cozying up to the NRA (witness the trip by Trump this Friday to Atlanta, a city he criticized, where guns and protesters will be out in force (what could possibly go wrong), the attacks on Planned Parenthood, all meant to get the ordinary citizenry riled up. Donald is the Wizard of Oz, all smoke and fire. And the curtain has now been drawn back, and we see this display for what it really was all along, a sham. In return for looking away from ethics and corruption and collusion with a foreign power, the Republicans get what they wanted all along. Except for abandoning the whole part about fiscal responsibility. They didn't really didn't believe in that, anyway .They just wanted to stop that other guy. And then rule as the majority party , and pay off all of their donors courtesy of Citizens United, and they in turn would stay in power, and keep gerrymandering, and make even more money, especially when they decide to step down to "spend more time with the family", aka become a lobbyist, and perpetuate the whole cycle over and over again. The best Congress money can buy.
John Townsend (Mexico)
This is the perfect storm for trump enabling him to raise a false flag operation aimed at distancing himself from his Russian overlords in the face of increasing public and congressional scrutiny in regards to the 2016 elections. That it's absoluting lethal stuff he's recklessly playing with doesn't matter. Everything trump does is a stunt with a very calculated eventual outcome. His actions are not 'normal' or benevolent in any way. He's an evil, manipulative man.
UltimateConsumer (NorthernKY)
We have yet to see policies or plans from this President. They are beyond his attention span. Instead, bluster, hyperbole, lies, and tweets, with one photo op after another to give the impression of “strength” and “action”. It’s reality TV in place of governing. For the largest economy in the world, with the largest set of tax laws, we don’t get reform (which would come from understanding and improvement), we get a one-page set of conflicting directives, where the details become everyone else’s problem. He can’t be bothered with details and complexity (“big numbers”, deficit, accounting stuff). Declaring victory, throwing it over the wall, and blaming others is the habit he’s settled into.
Trump wants a win, and something he can brag about: “it’s the biggest tax cut in history”. It’s a simple as that, and as stupid.
Steve Singer (Chicago)
We know this. The problem is how to stop it given the thieves' determination to cadh in -- loot the Treasury through tax policy -- and abject craven Republican complicity in our republic's destruction; worse than treason in my estimation.

The greatest irony of all? The Americans who will be hurt most by Trump and his machinations will be his most loyal supporters, his hard core Red State base. Millions believe in him no matter what he says or does or how enormous his failures, and how absurd he is, or how vile his behavior, his public persona, his rancid personality. Discussing their True-Believer blindness, misplaced loyalty and (frankly) stupidity, Trump claimed that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any votes; referring to them.

They will be robbed, raped then dumped in a ditch still cheering him.
Valued Customer (North America)
One minor point -
"...the estate tax does limit the rise of inequality and assures a hint of fairness, since much of the wealth in rich estates has never been taxed at all." complete nonsense. The estate tax does neither prevents inequality nor "assures a hint of fairness" in any meaningful way, as it affects such a small percentage of American families. It moves the needle not at all on these issues, and has no realistic effect on the nation's revenue.
Further, most families _have_ already paid taxes on their money, so the estate tax effectively amounts to double taxation (at a punitive rate of 45%, no less.)
Purity of (Essence)
In a way, Trump is a good thing. He's single-handedly sweeping away the fiction that the United States is anything other than an oligarchic plutocracy. Our wealthy want their dynastic wealth set in stone for all eternity, our oligopolists and monopolists want to be forever insulated from competition, both foreign and domestic. And our elites in government and the business sector are firmly committed to the notion that their futures are best served by servicing the interests of America's aristocrats, like the Trumps, at everyone else's expense.

Face it, the country is finished. Trump's election was the symptom of an extremely unhealthy body politic. Best to learn a foreign language and get out while you still can.
Mike O (Paris, France)
I think it's premature to totally condemn Trump's initiative. The current tax code is a disaster of complexity that benefits all kinds of special interests. The Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT) is not even well understood by an average Certified Public Accountant (this is not an insult to the profession, but to whoever designed that tax), and creates income mainly for accountants whose programs will do the calculation without any need to understand the elements. Simple Progressive tax rates are the right way to move towards a better balanced budget without the complexity of our current deductions and AMT calculations. We don't have to go back to the 90% marginal tax rate at the high end, but certainly 75% at some level would reduce the enormous greed that Corporate CEOs have been exhibiting for decades. Trickle down economics is a fraud, but there is no question that many corporations are not paying US taxes on their global businesses, using various schemes that are like a shell game for the layman.
William O. Beeman (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
This tax plan is a joke. it is a little sketch outline on a single piece of paper that embodies all the slogans of the GOP for decades: massive tax cuts for the rich, repeal of the estate tax, etc. etc. This is a silly, silly exercise. The Predident's little one-page sketch has not the slightest prospect of being enacted into law. Trump voters are still bamboozled, but the rest of us should be clear at this prospect of this transparent fraud.
Howard (Los Angeles)
Out of Stater (Colorado)
Not at all. "Another Day, Another Outrage."
Russ Weiss (West Windsor, NJ)
The miracle elixir of dramatically cutting taxes while boosting tax revenues through its promised rejuvenating effect on the economy is being pedaled yet once again. This prodigious tonic has been marketed with many different labels over the decades including supply side-economics, the Laffer curve, and Reganomics. The latest concoction presented by President Trump in his familiar role of charlatan showman is now being touted featuring the miraculous formula of "dynamic scoring" of tax revenue.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it didn't work as advertised under Presidents Regan or George W. Bush, and most recently exhibited some very unfortunate side effects including both a lethargic economy and a ballooning state deficit when tried in Kansas by its Tea Party governor. Actually, based upon its historical efficacy, it received its iconic truth-in-advertising label from George H. W. Bush more than three decades ago when he ridiculed it as "voodoo economics".
Jack Nargundkar (Germantown, MD)
We must remember that Trump became rich in the 1980s, a.k.a. the decade of greed, when Gordon Gecko, Michael Douglas’s character in “Wall Street” famously declared, “The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works.”

Trump clearly believes in the Gordon Gecko philosophy – one can never have too much. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer – so be it. Trump’s tax returns are now required more than ever – not only to determine the taxes he avoided, but also to see which itemized deductions he took? Did he largely have carry-forward losses year after year or did he actually make charitable contributions? Why does his “tax plan” spare the mortgage deduction and propose eliminating the state and local income taxes deduction? Inquiring minds want to know – is he still being greedy or really looking out for the needy?

Democrats must do everything in their power to stop this Trump heist unless he releases his tax returns for the past ten years at a minimum.
Jeff Jones (Adelaide)
What a spectacular return on investment Trump and his Republican enablers look like providing their billionaire sponsors. What promises will Democrats have to make when soliciting big-business donations in order to remain competitive?

One suspects that the mythical center just lurched rightward once more.
Concerned (Queens)
Trump's tax plan is a boon for the super rich at the expense of average Americans. It will lead to an already growing deficit by reducing much needed revenue. The gap between rich and poor will accelerate. The Trump show will not go away anytime soon. Average Americans must unite and challenge Trump's every move. Trump does not fatigue. We must remain vigilant.
Rev Wayne (Dorf PA)
Yes, more better paying jobs would be a tremendous benefit to many Americans. Industry paid good wages and their disappearance has had a terrible financial impact on blue collar laborers. No, coal is not coming back, but we desperately need much infrastructure work. We need to maintain and rebuild. From roads and bridges to railroad lines and schools to water resources to dams and construction to protect vulnerable cities to rising water there are plenty of potential jobs. Republicans have fought - literally opposed - the government being used to stimulate the economy. Perhaps after people earn better and have more money to spend (we are consumers) there may come a time to lower taxes as the consumer has now stimulated industry. There is no proof that the rich stimulate the economy as much as a middle class.ln

Lower taxes now will not encourage new jobs.
Mark Keller (Portland, Oregon)
As true believers in extreme supply-side economics, Trump and his merry band are very similar to fundamentalist Christians - and fundamentalist Muslims, and fundamentalist Jews - in important respects.

After all, it is only radically stubborn belief that can survive when the core of an idea has been dis-proven over and over again. Witness the indisputably cancerous results that the Reagan and Bush the Second tax cuts inflicted on the nation's economy. (And ruby-red Kansas almost voted out its Republican governor over a more recent iteration.)

That increasingly wealthy persons will somehow magically bless us with their largesse - and powerfully enough to compensate for the essential failure of government under such a tax plan - is about as likely to be proven true as the tenet that God loves me and my tribe but hates you and your tribe.
michael (bay area)
Trumps popularity amongst those ignorant enough to have voted for him hinges on one factor - pain. The longer Trump can stall the pain heading for the middle and working class in America, the longer he can stay in office and reap the benefits. The GOP may even go along with this to survive the midterms.

The GOP pattern is to take the presidency and rob the treasury mercilessly for eight years. Then cede power to the Democrats who enact fiscal prudence to rebuild the treasury. Eight years later - repeat again.

Trump is unique in that he's trying to pull off eight years of theft in less than one year - that's quite a heist.
lou andrews (portland oregon)
Trump makes Ronald Reagan look like a left wing Democrat. Remember what Reagan did; he cut taxes, cut social service programs, and increased military spending and look what happened- increased the Federal debt tremendously to what we have now. Reagan's reigned started the downfall of the middle class and increased the number of working and non-working poor while increasing the number of obscenely rich people. Will someone please stop this madman along with his brain dead cohorts.
Jeffrey (California)
I wish Democrats would start addressing each of these outrageous proposals with a mantra--what's the evidence? What can Republicans point to that shows that massive tax cuts have spurred growth? Climate, the economy, healthcare; Republicans pretend their policies are for some noble reason, but since there is no factual basis for these claims, it highlights the fact that there are people they are really trying to benefit.

The basic value is that money is the most important thing in the world. That society is not there to lift our lives or culture or to defend rights but simply to enrich whoever can grab the most, and destroying the planet or the less wealthy should not be an obstacle. Some may just follow blindly, thinking that anything called government is bad because that's what everybody they know says or it gets votes. But it is a dark path and should be exposed.

(Nicholas, have you read Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine"? Required reading.)
shayladane (Canton NY)
The score in the 7th inning is:

Greed 1
Compassion 0
Hank (West Caldwell, New Jersey)
Trump is stuck in his original mode of audacious lying where for four years he insisted that Obama was not an American. He is still playing the same old lying tune in every aspect of his supposed policy proposals. Once a fraud, always a fraud until public apology and admission occurs. Otherwise, what else should anyone expect?
Peter M Blankfield (Tucson AZ)
Mr. Kristof I am glad you admit that this man is a crook and I hope that you actually begin to encourage Trump supporters to actually consider the implications of their decisions and ask them, as often as you asked us to meet them half-way, that they must meet us half-way and work to fix this truly broken gov't. In addition, your efforts could help to begin the return of civil discourse to help get us back on course because I do believe that many of those you have defended recently might trust you to be honest with them.
Concerned citizen (New York)
Having written my senior thesis on tax avoidance and evasion and as a CPA, I know something about the issues and agree with your points. But why don't you just make them with sound reasoning rather than throwing around the same kind of ad hominems as does the President. This encourages readers to also emote and attack rather than analyze and convince, contributing to lowering the quality of our public discourse.
V1122 (USA)
" which means that he has no idea how to pay for it. "

Of course he knows how to pay for it, bankruptcy! And he's good at it.

Before you know it he'll have everyone riding around with a dog strapped to the roof of their car. Remember the other guy that wanted to be our president? Same pooch different republican!
flyoverland resident (kcmo)
agreed. mr. nebulous talking out of one of his other openings. and as gomer pyle used to say, su-prise, su-prise, su-prise, not so much as a peep out of how much its gonna cost our children and grandchildren.

oh, thats OK by the time the bill comes due trump will be dead, his kide the beneficieries of his crookedness and the planet so heated people will be dying like flies and famine will be rampant. and they'll forget all about the trillions they're owed b/c avoiding the revolutionaries and zombies are alot critical to their survival than bill collecting. or maybe the country just still whoever holds te debt. trump will teach them, he's a genius at weaseling people out of their money and misusing the tax code to cover his backside.

he's 100d in and so pathologically deperate fror a W he's likely to either a) start a war b) try and slide something thru while everyone is distratcted by multiple diversions (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, I am the uuge, powerful man-child with little stubby fingers, Oz) or c) make a really bad deal and try to spin it as a W refusing to confront the reality of it like his inauguration fiasco/trump W. and why? for same reason rock stars marry supermodels and dogs clean their parts; b/c he CAN.
L Martin (BC)
From the Business School of Frank and Jesses James previously associated with that now defunct University that was closed last year for robbery of its students. Oh, what was it called?
Uzi Nogueira (Florianopolis, SC)
The middle and the blue-collar classes -- which enabled Trump to become president -- sooner than later will face a hard reality. Trump is not the savior that will take them to paradise.

As occupants of the White House before, Donald Trump finds out to be easier to align with the wealthy/powerful instead of stopping the middle-class decline and assisting the poor living in urban ghettos.
Meredith (NJ)
The best descriptions of the Trump, Mnuchin, and Cohn 'tax plan'?

Gross self-dealing
Despicably greedy
Morally bankrupt

That applies to each of them personally as well.
T.K. (New South Wales, Australia)
Trump - the termite-in-chief . He is robbing the bank in broad daylight with the national security system forming a guard as he calmly declares the nation liberated from an unnecessary burden - its wealth. This can only further de-structure national unity. A belief in the State of the nation depends on the government being seen to be judicious, equitable and acting with foresight for the national collective and not vested interests. How many voters will be happy with a dustbowl future while Trump channels as much treasure as he can to his already substantial pile? Are they nihilistic, expecting he will deliver the end-time nuclear winter, therefore, no future? And what about the Republicans who are content to ride along on his waggon pushing anything resembling republican principles into the mud - will they be held to account when daylight breaks through? What will be left of the House? Trump and the very wealthy like him, don't want to see empowered citizens; they want to see submissive serfs.
Kirk (MT)
What else do you expect from a lying fat clown who has been in over 3,000 court cases since his black real estate career began.
og (atlanta)
And he has not showed us his taxes, how more blatant that could be,,, a slap on the face to every tax payer, DJT is so brazen and arrogant in so many levels there are no words for it
Alex Dersh (Palo Alto, California)
Amen! Trump and his cronies are stunningly out of touch...
Kagetora (New York)
We've seen this charade again and again. The Republicans put forth the argument that reducing taxes on the rich will encourage them to invest more and the economy will improve. What actually happens is that they take the extra money and put it in their bank accounts, or buy new yachts.

The sad part is that so many of Trumps working class voters actually believe that by reducing taxes on the rich the economy will get better and it will benefit them. But of course if they were capable of logical thought they wouldn't have been Trump voters.

This is not just a heist. This is a continuation of the only real and logically thought out policy agenda of the Bannon/Trump administration - to destroy the administrative state by bankrupting and destroy the federal government. Let's just hope that they prove as inept at passing this legislation as they have their previous attempts.
A Reader (Huntsville)
No one can tell if they might benefit from this "plan" because it does not have with it the cuts that would be necessary to fund it.
Gio Wiederhold (San Francisco)
Snake in the grass: Head of households (often single mothers) will be taxed as singles: that means a 5% tax increase for a taxable income of 30,000, rising rapidly to 20% for a taxable income of $50,000 (using current tax tables).
Single mothers need better lobbyists!
Neal (New York, NY)
"This isn’t tax policy; it’s a heist."

Mr. Kristof, can we now admit this so-called president won't be "normalized"? Will you finally stop urging us to open our hearts to his supporters? This is bigger than a heist — it's open class warfare.
stephenarmstrong (Massachusetts)
This is the same bilge Trump sold to bond-holders of his casino debt. Surprise, surprise! This guy is totally nuts, and, to boot, he doesn't understand math.
Alain (Montreal)
"Trump’s tax “plan” is a betrayal of his voters. He talks of helping ordinary Americans even as he enriches tycoons like himself."

We knew when he ran for the nomination and then the presidencyy how little he thought of ordinary Americans. Many voted for him. He thinks they are just stupid. Voodo economics fooled them when a B-list actor was president, he expects them to be fooled again by a C-list reality tv thug. Good luck America!
Casual Observer (Los Angeles CA)
Trump has proven himself to be unqualified to be President and rather uninformed about the most important subjects related to guiding a great state, too. Yet, Trump is extremely wealthy and has been his whole life. Now this should tell you something about the notion that the best way to make the economy grow to everyone's benefit is to cut taxes for the wealthy because they will use the money to create jobs and support innovative businesses and products. Trump serves himself and really hasn't bothered to study the rest of the world, and he's not the only extremely rich person who is rather clueless about the rest of mankind. To grow as a society we need people who are interested and are willing to take chances to get ahead, and few extremely rich people who inherited their wealth have those qualities. It's not in any society's interests to allow most of the capital to become concentrated in the hands of people who are just looking out for themselves.
Joachim Baecker (Minneapolis)
A law should be enacted that automatically mandates, prior to any tax plan being passed, the publishing of a publicly-available "what-if" tax scenario for a variety of different demographics. Americans should be able to look at a chart and find out how they (and others) will be impacted by the new tax law.
Ricardito (Los Angeles)
That's what the press is doing.
Andrew Zuckerman (Port Washington, NY)
Real tax plans -- not fake one page bullet point proposals like Trumps -- always come with a distribution table that shows what the effect of the tax plan would be on different demographic groups. Assuming a real tax plan is ever put together by Congress, you should get the information you want.
Joe Gardner (Canton, CT)
This should also include a "what-if" tax scenario for the president... meaning he needs to share his tax return information!
Susan M (Seattle)
This is a recipe for a caste system on steroids. No thanks.
LeoK (San Dimas, CA)
Any marching over this issue rightfully ought to include pitchforks!
Tim B (Ohio)
Maybe we all, Democrat, Republican and independent, will have a come-to-Jesus moment and join hands and sing cumbaya after we reach for our wallets and find that there is nothing there thanks to the Trump Family and Don Donald. The traditional Mafia must be marveling on just how easy it actually was to co-opt an entire country! And now Trump is "like a river unto his own people" by increasing the standard deduction! But wait, that was Lawrence of Arabia...
M.A. (Memphis,Tennessee)
I am 84 years old - have had a nice life - great growing up in a neighborhood where we left our screen doors unlocked and didn't worry if keys left in the car parked in driveway. Patriotism and love of country was a way of life -We thought our president and politicians were being fair and worked for the good of the people. Middle class people worked hard, Sunday school, summer picnics, movies, ballgames. High schoolers usually had part time jobs in summer - boys mowing lawns. Girls would baby sit for extra money -life
seemed good. Maybe I'm being overly nostalgic, but that's my memory.

Sure there were corrupt politicians back in the 40's and 50's - but today's politicians seem to breed massive corruption like wire hangers in a closet . They're blatant liars, mean spirited, and have no shame.
I worry for our country and the direction we're headed. I worry about the character of the politicians we've elected to be in charge of our beloved country. But I worry more about the mindset of the people who voted for them, and continue to support them in spite of their misdeeds.. Their vote will determine the future of America. I worry for my grandchildren inheriting a world that hate and prejudice is preached as acceptable. And we see evidence of this hate, racism and prejudice almost daily.

Who's going to save us - not our Washington politicians.
What has happened to the country I used to know?

How low we've fallen.

Ed (Huntington, NY)
A wolf in sheep's clothing! Republicans once tried the "trickle down" theory, which proved to be the "pee on" theory. This is where the 1% pee on the lower 99%. Was it not recently that the middle class was shown to have not increased their real income over the past several years? Was it not that the Republicans have stonewalled every effort to make fiscal and financial policy more equitable? And how many "family farms" are actually in existence? Most are mega-farms owned by likes of ADM and their ilk.
More economic inequity results in more anger. Wasn't it that little green Jedi Master who said, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Are we not suffering in the middle class?
scott124 (NY)
Contrary to what too many people believe, the wealthy do not create jobs with increased wealth. When the rich get richer, they purchase more yachts, install car elevators in one of their homes, increase their number of exotic vacations, buy another Learjet, and invest in more buildings only to raise the price of common people's rents among other things.
Laurlene McMahon (Palm Desert, CA)
Each day, if not each new hour of the day, presents a new horror from He Who Would Be King. I would like to be numb and comatose until it all ends ... but vigilance is imperative .. or I shall silently, without a whimper, go into that dark night ... and that I shall not do.. I shall persist!
Given the most of the taxes are paid by the top 10% of earners, it seems reasonable that most of the tax cuts go to them.
J-head (San Diego)
Not if the job of the government is to ensure the rights of citizens and equal opportunity. According to your logic, it would also be reasonable for the top 10% earners to control and use the government for whatever purpose it thought feasible. What kind of reasoning is that?
Max (San Francisco, CA)
Logical, smodgical... why in tarnation would the top 10% of earners need a tax break. Oh yeah, I forgot about how well trickle down economics works.

Without releasing his last 5 years complete tax returns, Donald Trump will have no right to fiddle with our tax code, let alone continue to be the President. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that he and his businesses and his family businesses will stand to save 100mil per year in taxes. That's bloody insane. He has no shame. He needs to one day be led away in shackles and leg irons.
Al (Houston)
Logical, not reasonable!!
M. (Seattle, WA)
Kristof, you and all the other progressives are welcome to pay more than your share. Put your money where your mouth is.
toom (Germany)
Why should anyone pay for Trump's attempt to lower his tax rate from 35% to 15%? This is total nonsense. he will try to lower minimum wage for his workers, and lower his taxes. Does "M" think this will be otherwise?
EFM (Brooklyn, NY)
Will the red states who want these tax cuts for the wealthy so badly agree to forgo the funds that come from the blue state taxpayers' pockets?
GTM (Austin TX)
Let's all take a deep breath and recall Trump's "tax plan" is a single page of a few bulleted items. This apalling lack of detail is the best the Trump administration could pull together in their first 100-days. At this rate, Congress might actually see a fleshed-out 10-page tax plan outline in about 3 more years - the amazingly low level of professionalism in Trump's administration is so disheartening the center-right moderate GOP members of Congress must be laughing out loud, or crying - its hard to tell.
ExpatLife (Melbourne Australia)
And once again Trump's base will believe that he is a miracle worker and fail to realize that it is extremely likely that none of this will make much of a difference in their lives. I have always been amazed at the tendency for people to vote against their own best interests. I sincerely hope that prior to making changes to current policy Trump is pressured enough to release 10 years of his tax returns. How can we trust this man to lead our country when he has not been at all transparent about his own financial affairs?
I don't trust him or anything that comes from this Administration--and I hate that. I don't like being the person who is always finding fault--but he is so slippery it makes me nervous...
EMS (Boynton Beach, FL)
You are not finding fault where there is none. You are entitled to analyze and opine. I, for one, think that you are quite right to be finding fault with this administration, which is corrupt, sadistic, greedy, and plainly vile. I am nervous also, but more than nervous, I am disgusted, horrified, angry, fed up, and nauseated by people who are supposed to be GOVERNING our nation, and HELPING our people, and instead, their entire focus is on how to enrich themselves. These reprehensible creeps should be removed from their positions, and sent to a place where they can no longer do harm to others.
Cynthia (US)
China is only mentioned as a source of funds at the conclusion of this piece; this deserves far more attention than it is receiving. Every dollar we borrow from China gives Beijing increased leverage over US foreign policy.

Should this administration ever provoke China's ire, China can dump US debt instruments, instantly crushing the value of the US dollar.

It's not an academic concern. The US which held a lot of Britain's debt at the time, threatened the UK's Pound Sterling over the Suez Crisis in the 1956. The UK yielded.

A damaged US dollar matters to regular Americans who earn and spend US dollars in a global economy. It doesn't matter so much to people who own hard assets like golf courses, resorts, office towers and residential buildings which can be valued in any international currency.

US tax policy matters every day, not just April 15th. And it matters around the world, not just in the US.
Bernie - Fairfield Ct (Fairfield CT)
We are living in a nightmare. Simple as that!
JW (Texas)
Maybe someone not affiliated with George Soros (any Billionaire for that matter, be it "left" or "right" is bad for the normal Joe) should start a protest movement against the "Deplorables", private union backstabbers (that's you: South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama car & aircraft manufacturing workers) and anyone who voted or enabled Mr. Pinocchio to be elected as POTUS in the first place.

Without those people voting against their interest, this wouldn't be happening.
Bevan Davies (Kennebunk, ME)
This is the bait and switch of the wealthy ruling class. It has nothing to do with fairness, jobs, or investments in our country, and everything to do with expanding the vast chasm between the haves and the have nots. In particular, getting rid of the estate tax creates a permanent overclass which will never be inclined to associate with anyone else but their own.
John (Pittsburgh/Cologne)
I am surprised that people say that this won't help lower income taxpayers.

About two thirds of taxpayers, disproportionately lower income, simply take the standardized deduction. If Trump's plan doubles the standardized deduction, it should shield much more or even all of these taxpayers' incomes.

Conversely, the elimination of certain tax expenses such as state/local/property taxes should raise taxes for richer taxpayers, if rates stay even.

Am I missing something?
toom (Germany)
Yes, you have missed a lot. Consider this: Trump hotels are a "pass through" corporation, taxed at 35%. With the new plan they will be taxed at 15%, a factor of 2.2 lower tax. If your taxes are lower by such a factor in the Trump plan, I congratulate you. But check the numbers.
Charles (Long Island)
What we are missing are the income levels to which the tax brackets will apply. Without that information, much of this discussion is idle speculation. With regard to the standard deduction, the article agrees with you...

"In fairness, Trump’s proposal does include some sensible elements. Raising the standard deduction is smart and would simplify everything, reducing cheating and the need for record-keeping because millions of filers would no longer itemize deductions"
John (Pittsburgh/Cologne)


I understand the "idle speculation" part, but isn't that what everyone is essentially doing at this point, including Mr. Kristoff?

My issue with the quoted passage in the article is that it addresses the easy and efficiency of the change, but not the fact that it is directly targeted at benefiting lower income taxpayers.
zelda (nyc)
Does anybody believe trump has the slightest idea what's in this tax plan? I'd love to have him hold a press conference to defend it. Look at his eyes in the photo leading this column. Just take his name off the books. Stop using his name in the context of any measure put forward. We're now firmly into pawn territory. He gets to play president on TV, and the voracious insatiable .01%ers are just sweeping the board.
John J. Publicus (New York)
The worse the republicans get, the more people come out with pitchforks....
Don (New York)
I'm sure his base and all those in the Norquist fantasy camp will eat this up. The reality is what little tax savings average Americans will get will immediately go into health insurance premium increases, cost of living increases and paying off current debts, all the while the 600+ billionaires who have $13 trillion locked out of the economy can't spend enough of what they have. Plus, corporations who already pay less than or no taxes at all will stash more money in off shore accounts.

At the end of his four years Trump and the Republicans will leave a mountain of debt, trillions that the country will never get back and the country will be left borrowing and paying off for generations to come.

As an aside, as this country gets digs itself even deeper you find the Republican controlled congress further siphoning off Social Security and Medicare funds in order to create a case for insolvency and ultimately privatization. Welcome to the ruination of our Great Society.
stu freeman (brooklyn)
If this plan or something like it is ultimately implemented we will once again require a Democratic president to repair the damage created by a Republican predecessor abetted by a Republican congress.