Trump announces plan to cut tax rates, double deductions

PHOTO: President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Md., bound for New York, Sept. 26, 2017.PlayMandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH Trump kicks off bid to cut taxes

President Donald Trump unveiled his administration's tax overhaul plan today in a speech in Indianapolis, announcing tax cuts for businesses and individuals which he said has the potential to deliver a “middle class miracle."

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“My fellow Americans, this is the right tax cut. And this is the right time. Democrats and Republicans in Congress should come together finally to deliver this giant win for the American people and begin middle-class miracle,” he said.

The plan proposes to slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, from 35 percent; lower the top individual tax rate to 35 percent, from 39.6 percent; repeal the estate tax; double the size of standard deductions for married couples and individuals; and expand child tax credits.

Trump has said repeatedly on previous occasions that he wants a 15 percent corporate tax rate, but said Wednesday that 20 is the "perfect number" and will be a "revolutionary change" for American business, and by extension, the American worker.

"The biggest winners will be the everyday American workers as jobs start pouring into our country, as companies start competing for American labor, and as wages start going up at levels that you haven't seen in many years," he said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has argued for a 22.5 percent rate. Trump explained Wednesday that 20 percent was the number he hoped to achieve all along.

"I wanted to start at 15 so that we got 20," Trump told reporters prior to departing for Indiana on Wednesday. "It just -- the numbers were -- 15 was so low we didn't take in the revenue. But I wanted 15, so we got 20 -- 20 is my number. So I'm not negotiating that number. I really -- I am not going to negotiate."

Trump said his plan is based on four principles: making the tax code simple and fair, cutting taxes "tremendously" for the middle class, lowering the tax rate for businesses and "bringing back trillions of dollars in wealth parked overseas."

In calling for a simplification of the tax code, the president said the current code as a "relic" that is posing a "colossal barrier" to growth.

"It's a relic got to change it we have to compete with other countries the current tax system is a colossal barrier standing in the way of America's economic comeback because it can be far greater than it's ever been," he said.

The plan also provides some relief to the nation's top earners, despite Trump's pledge - and continued insistence - that the nation's wealthiest do not benefit under the plan, which lowers the highest individual rate of 39.5 percent to 35 percent. The administration has said that the House and Senate committees crafting the legislation could choose to add a tax bracket above the 35 percent rate if necessary.

"Our framework includes our explicit commitment that tax reform will protect low-income and middle-income households, not the wealthy and well-connected. They can call me all they want. It's not going to help. I'm doing the right thing. And it's not good for people like me, believe me," the president said Wednesday.

The White House is looking for a legislative win after Republican leaders said Tuesday they would no longer hold a vote on their Obamacare replacement plan. Three members of the Senate said they wouldn't approve the measure, effectively killing the bill.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the sponsors of the health care legislation, vowed to return to the issue after tax overhaul efforts.

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