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Trump Calls For Major Rewite Of The Tax Code During Stop In Missouri


President Donald Trump is making his pitch to overhaul the nation's tax system. He laid out his vision yesterday in Springfield, Mo. And with Congress back in session next week, he included a message for them.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So this is our once in a generation opportunity to deliver real tax reform for everyday hardworking Americans. And I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done. And I don't want to be disappointed by Congress. Do you understand me?

MARTIN: The president's plan included cuts to the corporate tax rate and individual taxes. But it was fairly short on specifics. We're going to get specifics, I bet, from Stephen Moore. He's an economist with the Heritage Foundation. He's on the line now. Hey, Stephen.

STEPHEN MOORE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So the president - this isn't the first time he's talked about taxes. I mean, he has discussed this in public settings for months - the fact that he wants tax reform. And in particular, he wants to cut the corporate tax rate down to 15 percent. Did you hear anything new in this address yesterday?

MOORE: Well, I think that what was new was this kind of call to action. And, look, the president suffered a stinging defeat a month ago on the Obamacare repeal, which was a high priority. I would make the case this is probably a second highest priority is getting this tax cut done.

And and one of the mistakes I think Donald Trump made on healthcare reform was he kind of let Congress do its thing and kind of sat back. And I think what this signaled yesterday was - is that he's going to pay a much more active role in getting this passed. And he's going to try to, you know, call his troops into action across the country to, you know, to lobby for this.

And he was in Missouri yesterday where Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is up for re-election. She's a moderate Democrat. One of the points he made in this speech was, you know, tell your senator to vote for this tax cut. So he'll be more actively involved.

MARTIN: But at the same time, he, in that same speech, said we shouldn't make this about partisan politics. As you note, he was in Claire McCaskill's backyard.

MOORE: Right (laughter), right. So the question you would ask me is about the specifics of the plan. And the truth is that right now as we speak, the Senate leaders, the House leaders and the treasury secretary are still hammering out the details of this.

Now, as you know Rachel, I worked with Donald Trump on this tax proposal back a year ago during the campaign. It looks like what they're going to come up with is very similar to what you just described - a reduction in the corporate tax rate, which I think is really important for the economy. We have the highest statutory corporate rate of any country in the world.

MARTIN: How do you pay for it, Stephen? I mean, that's a big question. How do you pay for it?

MOORE: Right (laughter). Well, hopefully, by - number - two ways - by closing loopholes in the system. We have a high tax rate system in the United States. But we have a lot of loopholes. So some industries pay very little tax. And others play - pay very high tax. That's not fair.

People want a system - by the way, I should say that, you know, in a lot of the polling and focus grouping that's been done on taxes, what Americans really care about is fairness and growth. They want a tax system that encourages more job growth. But they also want something where everybody essentially pays their fair share. And the business tax system doesn't do that.

As I said, you know, some industries, like retail, pay a very, very high tax rate. And other industries that have loopholes and carve outs pay very little - so getting rid of the loopholes. And the other way is to try to put Americans, you know, back to work so that they - when more people are working, you get more tax revenues.

And it's not insignificant that yesterday, you know, it was reported the economy grew by 3 percent. If you can get the economy to stay at 3 to 3.5 percent, you'll get a lot more revenue.

MARTIN: Which would be a really big deal. That would be significant. Stephen Moore, economist with the Heritage Foundation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.