President Trump said Wednesday that he’s no longer looking to cut payroll taxes, reversing comments he made a day earlier when he indicated that he was considering those and other tax changes.
“I’m not looking at a tax cut now. We don’t need it. We have a strong economy,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Wednesday when asked if he would pursue a temporary payroll tax reduction.
The president also reversed himself on the possibility of lowering the capital gains tax by indexing gains to inflation. “I’m not looking to do indexing,” he said. “I think it will be perceived, if I do it, as somewhat elitist…I want tax cuts for the middle class, the workers.”
Trump on Tuesday had said he had been thinking about both tax cuts. “We’re looking at various tax reductions,” he told reporters at the White House. “But I’m looking at that all the time anyway.” He added that he had been “thinking about payroll taxes for a long time” and “would love to do something on capital gains.”
His position changed after his staff “briefed him on how widely his comments yesterday were picked up and how much speculation they set off,” CNBC’s Eamon Javers reported. “So the president went out to the South Lawn today determined to shut down the tax speculation frenzy.”
The bottom line: A senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal that none of the tax cuts the president mentioned Tuesday were under active consideration. “The president threw it out…but he was just throwing things out,” the official told the Journal of a potential payroll tax cut. And as The Washington Post’s Tory Newmyer details, Trump has a long history of tossing out economic ideas and abandoning them or failing to follow through. So this shouldn’t come as a surprise.