Trump on ‘middle-class’ tax plan: ‘It’s not good for me’

President Trump on Wednesday touted his plan to overhaul the nation’s tax system by promising it’s “not good” for wealthy individuals like himself.

“I’m doing the right thing, and it’s not good for me, believe me,” the president said.

Speaking in Indiana, Trump promised the plan will deliver on his promise to help his working-class supporters by lowering their taxes, creating new jobs and boosting wages.

He sought to sell the Republican plan to the public and counter criticism that it will simply create a windfall for the rich.

“We’re doing everything we can to reduce the tax burden on you and your family,” he told a crowd of supporters at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

{mosads}Trump said that the “wealthy and well-connected” can beg him all they want for a more favorable tax plan, but that “it’s not going to help.”

“What is good for me is if everything takes off like a rocket ship like it should have for 20 years,” Trump said of the economy. “That’s good for me, that’s good for everyone, and that’s what I think is going to happen.”

Trump’s speech comes the same day that congressional Republicans and administration officials released a nine-page tax framework designed to serve as the foundation of the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in a generation.

The document calls for shrinking the number of individual tax brackets, lowering tax rates for businesses, nearly doubling the standard deduction and increasing the child tax credit.

It does not, however, provide many specifics about which tax breaks to eliminate, leaving that work up to congressional tax-writing committees.

The president’s description of the plan was at odds with several key provisions that economists say would substantially benefit wealthy individuals, families and large corporations, including the repeal of the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax (AMT) as well as a major corporate tax cut.

But Trump said repealing the AMT would help to make the tax code simpler and eliminating the estate tax will allow small-business owners to leave their companies to their family as well as create more jobs.

“We are not going to allow the death tax to steal away the American dream,” Trump said Wednesday.

Republicans commonly use “death tax” to refer to the estate tax.

During the speech, Trump singled out several Indiana residents who he argued would be helped by the plan.

He championed tax cuts signed by Vice President Pence while he was Indiana governor as a model of how an economy can benefit from lower tax rates.

“It’s time for Washington to learn from the wisdom of Indiana,” he said. “We need Washington to promote American jobs instead of obstructing them.”

The political stakes could not be higher for Trump, who needs to secure a significant legislative victory after several recent failures.

The tax push comes just one day after Senate Republicans abandoned their latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare, depriving Trump of his first chance to sign a major bill into law since he become president eight months ago.

Trump claimed “we have the votes” to pass the health care bill, blaming the delay on Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) absence during his own health recovery. Republicans in the Senate do not have enough votes to pass the bill.

Despite his optimism, Trump signaled he will take a different approach on taxes than he did on health care, when he depended on the GOP to pass legislation along party lines.

The president in the speech called on Democrats to join Republicans in supporting the tax overhaul, which he said would create a “middle class miracle.”

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who faces a competitive re-election race next year, flew on Air Force One with Trump to attend the speech.

The president said if Donnelly doesn’t support a tax bill, he’ll come back to Indiana and campaign against him. He also predicted that “we’ll have numerous Democrats come across ’cause it’s the right thing to do.”

— This report was updated at 4:30 p.m.

Tags Joe Donnelly Thad Cochran

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