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Stephen Moore’s Plan to Revamp America’s ‘Mind-Numbingly Complex’ Tax Code

Stephen Moore’s Plan to Revamp America’s ‘Mind-Numbingly Complex’ Tax Code Read Transcript

Well, joining us now is an economist

who is going to the White House because the National Economic

Council will be reviewing his plan for tax reform.

He was an advisor to the Trump campaign,

and he's with FreedomWorks, Stephen Moore.

It's a pleasure to welcome him back right now.

Steve, good to see you.

Hi, Pat.

Boy, I loved the interview you did with Donald Trump.

Was it last week or the week before?

That was just sensational.

My two icons in the same room.

And kudos on a great interview.

Well, it was a privilege, and I really enjoyed it.

We had a lot of fun together.

I mean, it was just relaxed.

I didn't have one single note with me.

But we just flowed along together,

one thing after another.

It was just fun.

He enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it.

Great interview.

Well, listen.

You've got a tax plan.

And is the president going to follow what you're suggesting,

or has he got something else going?

Well, first of all, we need to overhaul the tax system.

I don't think very many Americans disagree with that.

Did you know it's 80,000 pages, the tax code, Pat?

So it is mind-numbingly complex.

It's complicated.

It doesn't work for America in terms of competitiveness.

We know that we are losing jobs to other countries

because we charge our businesses the highest tax

rate in the world.

We have higher tax rates, Pat, than Russia, Sweden, Cuba.

So what's wrong with this picture?

So we've got to bring those jobs back

by bringing those taxes down.

And I think that can get done.

But what's standing in the way right now,

Pat, is that health care bill that you were just

talking about.

We've got to get Obamacare repealed before the Republicans

can move on to tax reform.

They're bringing up that repeal thing.

And it looks like even John McCain,

who is as sick as he is, is coming on the floor to vote.

Are there enough votes now to repeal the thing?

I was afraid you were going to ask me that question,

because I don't know.

I don't think anybody knows.

By the way, what a hero John McCain

is, to come back to Congress when

he's just been diagnosed with cancer to be there to vote.

It shows how strongly people feel

about getting rid of Obamacare and replacing it

with something that will work.

I mean, the stakes are so high here,

Pat, politically and as a policy matter.

I agreed with what "The Wall Street Journal" said

in their editorial last week, that this

is a generational, defining moment for the Republican


As you know, they've been promising for seven years

now in every election.

Give us the power, and we will get rid

of this health care bill and give you

truly affordable health care.

They are struggling mightily to get to those 50 votes.

My last count, they're still a couple of votes short, Pat.

Well, I tell you.

Those ladies, the one from Maine and one from Alaska,

seem to be determined to gum up the works.

But I tell you.

Their future may be somewhat in doubt if they do,

because I think the president is going after them.

Let me ask you this.

I mentioned this to the president.

Would you accept merely cutting taxes?

Or should be good for a whole reform of the tax code?

Well, in a perfect world, Pat, I would love to just tear up

the entire 80,000-page tax code and start over and come up with

something very simple and that is comprehensible,

where most Americans-- remember when Steve Forbes talked about

that postcard tax return.

We could do that.

I'm skeptical that that can get done this year.

And so what I've been recommending with my buddy

Art Laffer and Larry Kudlow and Steve Forbes is let's

do the tax cut now.

Let's get those business tax rates down, give some relief

to American families to bring jobs back,

because that could get done in the next month or two.

And then in 2018 and '19, we have a big, national discussion

about how to fix this tax system.

Incidentally, one of the things that we put in that tax plan

when I was working with Donald Trump

was something that was just mentioned on your preview,

which was the estate tax.

I believe the death tax is the most immoral tax of all, Pat.

I mean, I think about people like my father, who

worked his whole life to build up a business,

worked 50, 60, 70 hours a week to build that up from scratch,

and was not a rich man.

But he built up the business.

And now when he dies, the government

is going to take 50% of that away from him.

He paid his taxes every year.

And that's the typical small businessman.

That's why people build up wealth and build up a business,

so they can pass it on to their kids.

That's the American way.

The estate tax prevents that from happening.

Do you think the Democrats are going to, well,

you know, demagogue this bill?

You know, it's tax cuts for the rich.

Of course.

Well, why will they do that?

I mean, the American people need this tax cut.

And this is clearly a middle class and lower income tax cut.

It's a cut for every American.

It's not for the rich.

Is that correct?

Even the Congressional Budget Office, which I don't normally

agree with, Pat--

I think they have been totally wrong on the Obamacare numbers.

But even the Congressional Budget Office says,

when you cut the business taxes, the people

who benefit from that, 60% to 70% of the benefits

go to the workers.

And that would make sense.


You can't have jobs without healthy businesses.

And you know that old saying that liberals

love jobs but hate employers.

Who can't have jobs without employers.

And when I go around the country and talk

to businessmen and women who run great companies, or even

small companies, I say, if you get this tax

cut, and you are able to keep more of what you earn, what

are you going to do with it?

And they say, we're going to plow it back into the business

to grow the business, hire more workers,

pay workers more, maybe purchase another truck or more machinery

that the workers can use to be more productive.

So the business tax cut helps middle-class workers.

You've got that exactly right, Pat.

Well, now, our economy has been growing

at an unbelievably weak 1% GDP.

Can this get it up to 3%, do you think, with this tax cut?

I think that in combination-- by the way,

the growth rate last year was about 1 and 1/2%,

which is barely staying out of recession.

So it's very low historically.

Our historical growth rate, by the way, going back to 1900,

is about 3.3%.

So when you ask me, can we get 3%, of course, we can.

This is America.

Now there are a lot of liberal economists

who say they don't think we can grow faster than 2%.

But we have to do a couple of things, Pat.

We have to do the tax reform.

That will juice growth.

And then we have to do the pro-America energy policy.

You and I have talked about that.

We can produce $150 billion more output of our natural gas

and oil and coal.

And then you do the deregulation.

And by the way, Donald Trump is not getting enough recognition

for what he has done on the regulatory front, where

the huge flurry, an avalanche of regulations that came down

upon businesses and families under Obama,

that has come to a grinding halt.

There is a good reason, by the way, why the stock market is

at an all-time record high now, because businesses

and investors and families are very optimistic.

But if they don't get this agenda done,

Pat, I'm afraid we're going to see a sell off of stocks.

People say, those Republicans don't have their act together.

Well, it looks like there's a real push

to get grassroots support for this.

And for the health care bill, it really

wasn't sold very well to the American people.

People didn't understand what it was.

And so you've got all these surveys saying,

well, the American people don't want it.

Well, obviously, they can't stand Obamacare.

So they do want it.

But the polls indicate they don't.

So this time, what's being done in the grassroots

to get the pressure?

Remember when Ronald Reagan said,

they don't have to see the light.

They need to feel the heat.

So is the heat on them now?

You know, you make a good point about Ronald Reagan.

I was in the Reagan administration

at the end of his term.

But remember.

In his first couple of years in office,

when he passed his historic tax cut, the biggest tax

cut in American history that really got America

out of that horrible mini depression we had

in the late '70s and early '80s, remember,

Pat, he went on TV at least two or three times, on national TV,

from the Oval Office.

And he made the pitch right to the American people.

This is why we need to do this.

The Democrat plan won't create the jobs.

And he explained it to the American people.

I think Donald Trump needs to do that.

Next time you talk to him, Pat, tell him he's got to go on TV

and really make the--

because you know this.

Other than CBN and maybe stocks and others, the media

is beating him up every day.

They're not allowing him to get his message out.

He has to go directly to the people.

Well, we'll tell him that.

Hopefully, somebody will listen to this program

and hear you say that.

But, absolutely, Steve, we've got to do it.

But I understand their administration people

and others are really hitting the grassroots right now.

And hopefully, it's going to be successful,

because we desperately--

Everywhere I go, people come up to me.

And they say, we've got to get this tax cut done.

When are you going to cut our taxes?

I mean, we haven't had a tax cut in this country for 15 years.

And Obama raised taxes on everyone.

Incidentally, though, Obamacare, remember,

was financed by six or seven major tax increases,

not just on rich people, but everybody,

everyone who uses drugs or has a health plan

or uses medical devices.

All of that, taxes went up.

We've got to repeal the taxes.

And, Pat, yes, you asked me if we can get to 3%.

I think we can get to 4%.

And by the way, Donald Trump thinks we can get to 5%.

Well, the Congressional Budget Office

won't give you credit for any of it yet.

But we talked about the dynamic story.

But nevertheless, Steve, we're going to get it.

And I think the American people want it now.

This will be a great victory for the administration.

So thank you so much for being with us.

Thank you, Pat.

Have a great week.

All right, Wendy, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe.

I know.

I love Steve's energy.

Well, let me ask you this, because the stock

market's been doing so great since Trump's been president.

If the tax cuts go through, how much better

can the economy get?

If the economy hits 2%, 3%, I was reading the other day one

forecaster saying the Dow could hit 30,000 or something.

30,000, wow.

Yeah, or higher, actually, he actually said higher.

But I won't mention it.

But it could go up.

It could be a blow out.

But nevertheless, the blow out is possible

if we have the economy moving.

If the economy starts moving at 3% to 4% a year,

there will be a huge burst of enthusiasm.

Wow, wow.

And lots and lots of people working, and people getting

raises, and all that stuff, I mean, it'll be flowing through.

And the Democrats, they're going to stand there

like the Grinch that stole Christmas.

They are going to try to take Christmas away

from the American workers.

And all I'm saying is, folks, you

ought to get out there and call your congressman.

Call your senator.

Get on the phones, and make it happen.


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