Trump pushes ‘middle class’ tax reform at US airbase in Pennsylvania

Standing in front of a “Win again”-plastered semi-truck, President Donald Trump pitched his tax reform proposal to a private crowd of about 1,000 at the Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania.

From within a hangar at the Harrisburg Air National Guard Base, Trump told a crowd of truckers, manufacturing and business professionals, and local Republican officials that they would eventually be filing their taxes “on a single piece of paper.”

Serving as the president’s backdrop Wednesday night was a semi-trailer truck wrapped in slogans, including “Truckers for tax reform” and “Win again” in all capital letters. The printing on the truck also promoted lower taxes, bigger paychecks and more jobs.

“We want lower taxes, bigger paychecks and more jobs for American truckers and American workers,” Trump said.

Trump hyped his vision of tax reform by citing economic developments in recent months, which he said some in the media would “hate” to report.

“Unemployment is at a 16-year low,” Trump declared. “Wages are rising, and you know, you haven’t heard that in a long time.”

Trump specifically mentioned how the media has been unfair in reporting the tax brackets and clarified that his plan would have four tax brackets and not three. Trump said that his tax plan would include a zero bracket, a 12 percent bracket, a 25 percent bracket and a 35 percent bracket.

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© Joshua Roberts

Trump said that his tax code would benefit the middle class, not the rich.

“By eliminating tax breaks and special interest loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy, our framework ensures that the benefits of tax reform go to the middle class, not to the highest earners. It’s a middle class bill. That’s what we’re thinking of. That’s what I want,” Trump said.

He said that his wealthy friends have asked him to give the benefits of the tax cut to the middle class.

“I’ve had rich friends of mine come up to me and say ’Donald, you’re doing this tax plan. We don’t want anything. We don’t,’” Trump said. “Now, they gain when the economy gains. They gain when companies get better. They gain in lots of different ways. But they don’t want that. So many people have come up to me and say give it to the middle class.”

Trump then went on to say that his tax plan would eliminate the estate tax, also known as the death tax.

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Trump then asked the crowd if they liked “made in the USA” or “made in America” better. “Made in the USA” seemed to win the louder applause.

Trump said that the more than 30 million Americans who own small businesses will see a 40 percent cut in their marginal tax rate.

“I wouldn’t want to be a politician against that,” Trump said. “They’re going to have a long hard winter.”

When he called the tax cut “huge,” the crowd laughed.

Trump said that companies will be able to write off 100 percent of the cost of equipment in the year that they buy it.

Trump said that his tax code would give the typical American household $ 4,000 to spend.

“And you’re going to spend that money, it’s going to be put to work and jobs are going to be produced and we’re going to start making our product again,” Trump said.

“And all our great congressmen and congresswomen, all of the people that we’re working with – all I can say is, you’d better get it passed,” Trump threatened.

Trump also remarked on the ongoing NAFTA renegotiation, a multi-national trade deal he called “horrendous” and “one-sided.”

Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), the ranking member on the Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness, criticized Trump’s tax plan as “a massive giveaway to the super-rich at the expense of the middle class.”

Casey said 80 percent of the benefits would go to the richest one-percent of Americans over the next decade.

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