Need to focus on legislative agenda

Posted on June, 05 2017, 12:42


This week, there are many items I want to mention, if only briefly.

First the good news.  President Trump's 2018 budget proposal includes a repeal of the Death Tax.  Specifically, it says the President would, "abolish the death tax, which penaliz­es farmers and small business owners who want to pass their family enterprises on to their children."
 
To my ears, those are the same words used by Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin at the White House announcement of the outline of the President's tax reform package.  No objections there. 
 
And on the topic of the tax bill, a very important meeting took place at the White House this past Wednesday.  I was invited to a listening session with White House officials on the President's economic agenda.  Just a couple dozen of us were there.  It focused, of course, on the upcoming tax reform.  I was fortunate enough to be the second person to talk and I stressed the importance of pushing the Brady bill which would repeal the Death Tax and there was no push-back regarding the President's steadfastness. 
 
A friend and colleague Peter Ferrara and I spoke before the session began and he mentioned a concept which I can wholeheartedly support.  It is that the President should not support so-called "revenue neutrality" -- roughly translated as a tax bill that would neither bring in more or less the same revenues as current tax law.  He advocates "deficit neutrality" -- a tax bill which would, over the ten-year budget window, not increase the national debt.  In other words, it would recognize that a good tax bill would increase the national output and thus increase federal revenues along with jobs, wages and well-being.
Both major tax bills enacted under Presidents Kennedy and Reagan were scored as significan tax revenue losers of the economic growth they engendered, both were certainly "deficit neutral."
 
I have previously discussed the problem with scoring a tax bill that does not recognize the positive effects of certain tax cuts.  The major one in my mind is the repeal of the Death Tax.  After a few years, the repeal begins to return positive revenues to the Treasury through greater economic growth.  The Tax Foundation estimates that the Death Tax repeal revenue loss to revenue gain would be at seven years.  Subsequently the economists at the Tax Foundation predict constant growing net gains in the GDP from the repeal of the Death Tax.
 
            A dark cloud on the tax reform horizon is the widely known fact that other issues are getting in the way of the real business of the nation.  You can name them but it is worthwhile to cite one or two.  The kerfuffle about any Russian-influence in the election and whether or not Trump campaign staff were somehow colluding with the Russians.  Secondly, is whether the President acted properly in the dismissal of FBI director Comey.  The most recent is the hysteria surrounding President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris agreement on the environment.
 
            The major media is providing forums for the most radical leftists, and when they cover rallies by the progressives, the big media creates the news. 

And the President is understandably concerned.  At the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy said, "no politician in history ... has been treated worse or more unfairly."  The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Abraham Lincoln was probably pilloried in the press more than President Trump, though he has had to face the 24/7 electronic media which Lincoln did not.
 
Our job is to continue to work with Congress, to work with the White House, and to work with our supporters -- you -- to help us in this fight. 
 
We've got the facts on our side: Tax Foundation estimates that of the full economic impact of the House tax reform bill, Death Tax repeal contributes fully 10% of the positive economic growth.  In other words, of the economic growth that would come from passage of that bill, a tenth would be a direct result of the repeal of the Death Tax.    
 
We've got the American people on our side:  consistently, our polling shows two-thirds of Americans support repeal. 
 
There are many legislative goals that need to be met and with Presidential leadership, his legislative agenda can again take center-stage.  He needs to show that he can accomplish health care reform and tax reform so that the economy can resume its historical path of growth and prosperity. 
 
You can be sure that we're going to be working to help -- this week and the weeks following.