White House Makes Terrible Excuses For Corporate Tax Cuts

Over the past few days, the White House has been repeatedly confronted by the reality that they can’t back up the central claim of their tax plan: that corporate executives will reinvest money from tax cuts into their companies. The Trump administration has resorted to some pretty sad excuses to try and explain why CEOs say they won’t use their savings from corporate tax cuts to benefit workers. See for yourself:

Kevin Hassett blamed “really bright lights” for the appearance that CEOs admitted they would not use tax savings to invest in their workforce.

QUESTION: “Why aren’t there more hands going up in a room like that? You would assume that CEOs would say, yes, in fact, we are going to invest more if tax reform passes. Is the administration missing something there?”

HASSETT: “So that’s a great question. And I went on a little bit after Gary Cohn, and when they asked that question, it was kind of hard for me because, like here, they are really bright lights, but even brighter there, and so I couldn’t quite see how many hands there were.”

Kellyanne Conway said that if companies did not use tax cuts to invest in their employees, the employees could always just walk away.

CONWAY: “When employers have more cash, they are able to attract and retain an American work force, invest in that inventory, give you better benefits. And if they don't, by the way, if they turn their backs on their employees even though they have more money through these tax savings, the employees can walk. There will be a more competitive with this environment where those who are seeking jobs or are seeking a different job will have more options.” [Mornings With Maria, Fox Business, 11/20/17]

Mick Mulvaney claimed that CEOs weren’t saying they would invest tax savings into their companies because they didn’t want their competitors to know their plans.

DICKERSON: “Gary Cohn, the White House economic advisor, was at a CEO meeting the Wall Street Journal hosted. And the audience of CEOs were asked, ‘Are you going to take these tax cuts and create more American jobs?’ And so, they wanted a show of hands. The hands did not shoot to the ceiling. And Mr. Cohn actually noted that more people- this is the central premise of how this thing’s going to work and there’s a lot of doubt about that.”

MULVANEY: “Yeah, I asked Gary about that afterwards. And my guess is, if I’m a Fortune 500 CEO, I’m not going to tell my competitors, who are sitting in the aisle next to me, what I’m going to do next year. They’re going to do what’s in their best interest.”

Steve Mnuchin claimed that if corporate tax cuts don’t create growth “Congress will deal with it at the time.”

WALLACE: “And, in any case, you have no idea what the political situation is going to be lent or what the economic situation is going to be, and the deficit situation. So when you just say, well, of course they’re going to extend it in 2025, you don’t know that.”

MNUCHIN: “I don’t know that. Maybe I’ll be working for President Pence at the time, but I don’t know that. But what I do know is, we think this is going to create growth and we’ll know by then whether this creates growth or not. If it does create growth, we’re going to have an incredible economy and an incredible tax system for businesses and creating huge amounts of jobs. And if it doesn’t, Congress will deal with it at the time.”