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|作者：英语点津 文章来源：China Daily 点击数：72 更新时间：2017/4/27|
The Trump administration unveiled what it called the biggest tax cuts "in history" on Wednesday, in a move that will simplify the US tax system, slash taxes for businesses large and small - including his own - eliminate inheritance taxes and set the president on a collision course with Congress over the likely $2tn-plus cost of the proposal.
Critics immediately called it "basically a huge tax cut for the rich".
The plan would cut the US's individual income tax brackets from seven to three (10%, 25% and 35%) and slash US corporate tax rates from 35% to 15%. "We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something really big," said Gary Cohn, chief economic adviser to Donald Trump. "This is about growing the economy, creating jobs."
Cohn and Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, were short on details of the plan that, if passed, would be the largest overhaul of the US tax system since the Reagan era. "We are moving as quickly as we can," said Mnuchin.
As well as slashing costs for his own businesses, the new proposals will also cut the alternative minimum tax (AMT), a tax designed to stop the super-wealthy from taking so many tax deductions that they avoid paying anything. Leaked documents have shown that in 2005 Trump paid $31m in tax thanks to the AMT.
Mnuchin and Cohn were pressed on how Trump would benefit from the proposals, but they avoided the questions.
The president will not be the only Trump administration official to benefit from the tax cuts. His cabinet is the richest in history and includes several billionaires.
The proposal also gets rid of almost all tax deductions, including those for state and local taxes. This creates a significant increase in tax for residents of high-tax states such as California and New York.
Mnuchin refused to commit to whether the tax cuts would end up being revenue neutral, saying the administration was "working on a lot of details". However, he felt confident that the tax cuts "will pay for itself through growth, reduction of deductions, and closing loopholes". The treasury secretary did insist though that "the deficit is a problem and the president is concerned about that".
Trump has long heralded tax cuts, particularly on corporations, as a major component of his economic plan. In his joint address to Congress in February, the US president previewed his proposals, saying: "My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone." He added: "It will be a big, big cut."
But on the campaign trail he also consistently pledged to cut the US's $19tn deficit "big-league" and "very quickly". A 20-percentage-point cut to corporate tax rates alone would add $2.4tn to the national debt, according to nonpartisan pressure group Americans for Tax Fairness.
"So, how would Trump's White House make up the shortfall? By drastic cuts to essential services and lowering the standard of living for regular American families. Unacceptable," said Frank Clemente, executive director.
The plan faces significant obstacles because of the need for Democratic support, and "reconciliation" rules that place strict limits on any tax cuts that result in increases to the deficit.
The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, indicated on Tuesday that Republicans would have to use the reconciliation process, which requires tax cuts to be balanced out with spending cuts.
In a joint statement with McConnell, his fellow Republicans House speaker Paul Ryan, House ways and means chair Kevin Brady and Senate finance chair Orrin Hatch gave cautious praise to the administration's proposals. "The principles outlined by the Trump administration today will serve as critical guideposts for Congress and the administration as we work together to overhaul the American tax system and ensure middle-class families and job creators are better positioned for the 21st century economy."
Democrats condemned the proposals. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said in a statement: "This scheme is a massive tax giveaway to millionaires, billionaires and big corporations at the expense of middle-class families in Pennsylvania.
The plans have split experts. Hunter Blair, budget analyst at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said the proposals were "basically a huge tax cut for the rich."
"According to the Treasury, 43% of corporate tax is paid for by the top 1%. We have tried this supply side economics before; trickle down just doesn't work," he said.
Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, said cuts in corporate tax rates in the UK and Canada had not led to lost revenues. "There is a huge amount of [tax] avoidance right now and a huge effort to park overseas. That money would come back if rates fell," he said.
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