Ex-Obama Treasury secretary: Tax cuts 'leaving us broke'

Ex-Obama Treasury secretary: Tax cuts 'leaving us broke'
© Cameron Lancaster

Former Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system MORE expressed concerns about the new GOP tax law's impact on the debt, arguing that it is "leaving us broke" and could lead to cuts in social safety net programs.

"I fear that the next shoe to drop is going to be an attack on the most vulnerable in our society," Lew said in a Bloomberg interview. "How are we going to pay for the deficit caused by the tax cut? You're going to see proposals to cut health insurance from poor people, to take basic food support away from poor people, to attack Medicare and Social Security."

"One could not have made up a more cynical strategy," he added.

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Lew, who led the Treasury Department during former President Obama's second term, said that the U.S. is in need of more jobs training, education and infrastructure, rather than more debt at a time when the economy doesn't need a fiscal stimulus.

"What we've seen is a tax cut that spends money we don't have, to have very concentrated benefits for global corporations and the top 1 percent, and it's leaving us broke so that we cannot deal with these fundamental problems," he said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE late last month signed into law a Republican tax bill that lowers rates for individuals and corporations. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that the measure will add about $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years before accounting for economic growth and about $1.1 trillion to the deficit after growth is factored in.

But Republicans have largely brushed off concerns about the tax law's impact on the debt, viewing JCT's growth estimates as conservative. They've predicted that economic growth will ultimately result in the tax cuts paying for themselves.

GOP lawmakers are weighing a push for welfare changes next year in an effort to cut the debt. Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders jockey for affection of House conservatives Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record MORE (R-Wis.) has been pushing for entitlement reform, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDoug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh gets questionnaires for confirmation hearing Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (R-Ky.) seems reluctant to focus on the topic unless legislation could get bipartisan support.