In a speech Wednesday in Springfield, which he called “the birthplace of a great American icon, the legendary Route 66,” President Donald Trump unveiled his vision for tax reform that he said will drive the American economy to a prosperous future.
In an address that was light on specifics but featured a heavy dose of nostalgia for the country’s tax code and economic fortunes of the past, Trump outlined four guiding principles for his tax plan: simplifying the tax code; competing with other countries on tax rates; providing tax relief for the middle class; and bringing back wealth held offshore by American companies.
“This is the place where the Main Street of America got it start,” Trump said, using a nickname for Route 66. “And this is the place where the Main Street of America will begin its big, beautiful comeback.”
Speaking before a crowd at the Loren Cook Company, which manufactures fans and vents, Trump called for the country’s first major tax reform in three decades to “reduce the tax burden on our companies and our workers.”
He cited a GDP growth rate that has hovered below 2 percent and said he believed “we can go much higher than 3 percent.”
“If we achieve sustained 3 percent growth, that means 12 million new jobs and $10 trillion of new economic activity over the next decade,” Trump said.
Since 2000, the U.S. has seen its GDP grow more than 3 percent per year just three times, according to World Bank data. Since the Great Recession, the country’s highest annual growth rate has been 2.6 percent, in 2015.
In outlining his tax reform plan, Trump first called for a simplified tax code.
“That means getting rid of the loopholes and complexity that primarily benefit the wealthiest americans and special interests,” he said.
Trump recalled an era with a simpler tax code and the 1980s tax reforms ushered in by President Ronald Reagan. He juxtaposed that with today’s tax environment.
“This enormous complexity is very unfair,” he said. “It disadvantages ordinary Americans, who don’t have an army of accountants, while benefiting special interests,” he said, citing himself and “Mr. Cook” of the Loren Cook Company as past beneficiaries of such loopholes.
The second peg of the president’s tax plan is competing more aggressively on tax rates with foreign countries.
“They are taking us, frankly, to the cleaners,” Trump said.
He called for lowering the business tax rate to 15 percent.
“We cannot restore our wealth if we continue to put our businesses at such a tremendous disadvantage,” he said, stressing the need to keep companies and jobs in the U.S.
Trump then turned his attention to tax relief for the American middle class, which he said would help parents and families afford everyday expenses and spend more on American-made products.
“Our factories will be moving again,” Trump said. “Companies are going to move back into our country. Jobs are going to prosper.”
Finally, Trump suggested bringing back “trillions of dollars of wealth that’s parked overseas” by American companies.
“By making it less punitive for companies to bring back this money, and by making the process far less bureaucratic and difficult, we can return trillions and trillions of dollars to our economy and spur billions of dollars in investments,” Trump said.
To achieve all this, Trump called on cooperation from Congress, including the Missouri Republicans gathered at Wednesday’s event.
“Let’s put, or at least try to put, the partisan posturing behind us,” he said, “and come together as Americans to create the 21st century tax code that our people deserve.”