Mnuchin Can’t Guarantee That Middle Class Won’t Pay More In Taxes (VIDEO)

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Thursday could not guarantee that middle class families would not pay more under the White House’s detail-free tax proposal.

Mnuchin evaded the question multiple times in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

“This is about middle-income tax cuts,” Mnuchin said, asked how the proposal he announced Wednesday with National Economic Director Gary Cohn would affect a family of four earning $60,000 a year.

“And although we’re not releasing the specific numbers, this is about creating economic effects and tax cuts for the middle class.”

“But don’t the details matter?” Stephanopoulos asked. “Why can’t you say how this is going to affect a middle class family?”

“The issue is that we are working with the House and the Senate, and our objective is to turn this into a bill that will pass, and the President will sign,” Mnuchin said.

“Can you guarantee that no one in the middle class is going to pay more?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“That’s our objective, absolutely,” Mnuchin said.

“Is it a guarantee?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“I can’t make any guarantees until this thing is done and on the President’s desk, but I can tell you that’s our number one objective in this,” Mnuchin said.

Mnuchin similarly evaded Stephanopoulos’ questions about upper income taxes. The host asked repeatedly about the alternative minimum tax, without which Trump would have saved tens of millions of dollars in 2005, the most recent year for which some of his tax returns were made public. Trump has proposed repealing the alternative minimum tax.

“Let me just say this isn’t about President Trump’s tax returns; this is about the American public’s tax returns,” Mnuchin said.

The interview recalled the roll-out of the plan Wednesday — just in time for Trump’s 100th day in office, on April 29 — in which Mnuchin and Cohn handed out a one page outline of the tax plan to reporters, but offered virtually no information otherwise.

Pressed repeatedly about Trump’s tax returns, Mnuchin refused to pursue the topic. Eventually, though, he assured Stephanopoulos that the White House was meeting with some important stakeholders in the effort to reform individual and corporate taxes.

“We’ve met with hundreds and hundreds of business executives who have had input into this,” he said.

Watch the exchange below via ABC:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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