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

Trump pushes ‘middle class’ tax reform at US airbase in Pennsylvania
Standing in front of a “Win again” plastered truck, President Donald Trump pitched his tax reform proposal to a private crowd of about 1,000 people at the Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania.

Speaking from a hangar at the Harrisburg Air National Guard Base, Trump told the 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 was a semi-trailer truck wrapped in slogans such as “Truckers for Tax Reform” and “Win Again.”

The banners 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.

He 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.”

The US president 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 his tax plan would include a zero bracket, a 12 percent bracket, a 25 percent bracket and a 35 percent bracket.

Trump claimed 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 his wealthy friends have asked him to pass tax cut benefits on 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.

Trump then asked the crowd if they liked the phrase ‘Made in the USA’ or ‘Made in America’ better. ‘Made in the USA’ seemed to draw the louder applause.

Trump said 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.

The president said companies will be able to write off 100 percent of the cost of equipment in the year it is purchased.

He added that his tax code would give the typical American household an extra $4,000 to spend.

“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.

He also commented on the ongoing NAFTA renegotiations, 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.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said Trump’s plan would “provide virtually no benefit to truck drivers and result in a tax increase for millions of middle class Americans.”

Trump previously stated that he would not personally benefit from his tax reform plan, but walked back on those statements in an interview with Forbes earlier this month.

“Everybody benefits if the country does well. We all do. You guys benefit. Everybody benefits if the country does well,” Trump said, according to a transcript released Tuesday.

The White House said the tax plan will reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and cap the top marginal tax rate paid by sole proprietors, corporations and partnerships to 25 percent.

Over the next five years, the White House said, American businesses will be able to “immediately” write off the cost of heavy equipment and other capital investments.

It added that Trump’s tax plan would end the “offshoring model” that “penalizes companies for incorporating in the United States.” The Trump administration cited Audit Analytics, which reportedly found that there is an estimated $2.8 trillion in earnings sitting offshore.