MacArthur, Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump Come to Bayville, Tout GOP Tax Reform

Nov 15, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

An event on Monday morning at the Bayville Fire Hall featuring U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, adviser to the president and First Daughter Ivanka Trump and 3rd District Congressman Tom MacArthur was billed as a “discussion on tax reform.”

At best, it turned out to be a rather short, one-sided discussion with no serious questions asked. At worst, it was a pre-scripted, 30-minute infomercial with the speakers returning to the same few selling points again and again.

Gov. Chris Christie introduced the trio. Christie said tax reform was badly needed considering it had been 31 years since the last major federal tax reform legislation.

That was a mantra that was chanted later on by MacArthur, Trump and Mnuchin. MacArthur repeated the 31-year line verbatim. Trump talked about “three decades ago.” Mnuchin said, “It has been way too long since the last tax reform.”

Christie also started the verbal backslapping that would dominate the event when he declared MacArthur “the loudest voice in the House (of Representatives) protecting the property tax deduction.” The original House tax reform bill scrapped all deductions for state and local taxes, now commonly called SALT deductions. MacArthur convinced his fellow GOP representatives to allow a property tax deduction capped at $10,000.

Christie went on to call Mnuchin “sober and smart,” and said of Ivanka “there was probably no one the president relied on as much during the campaign.”

MacArthur later called Ivanka Trump a “very successful businessman,” drawing a few chuckles before substituting “businesswoman.”

Another point that was repeatedly made was the simplicity of the proposed new tax code.

“We need a simpler, fair system for our country,” said MacArthur.

“Ninety-four percent of Americans need help filing their taxes,” said Trump.

The threesome touted the GOP tax reform plan as a boon to the middle class.

“The president’s primary objective is to reduce middle class taxes,” said Trump.

Mnuchin spent much of his time talking about stimulating the economy by cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and repatriating “trillions of dollars overseas.” But he added, “We also want middle class tax cuts” and said middle class families would be able to hold on to more of their money – “for a family of four it’s over $1,000.”

“We are trying to move a high rate, high loophole system to a lower rate, lower loophole system,” said MacArthur.

The speakers are all multimillionaires. But MacArthur and Mnuchin stressed their working class roots.

“I started out as a $13,000-a-year insurance adjuster,” said the congressman.

“My first job was in New Jersey,” said the treasury secretary, “working for my grandfather making glass bottles.”

The format of the “discussion” was simple. After some introductory remarks MacArthur asked Mnuchin and Trump questions. There were only a handful.

“Step back for a time,” said MacArthur. “What is the administration doing to foster growth?”

Mnuchin said steady 3-percent growth is the administration’s goal, admitting President Trump had said “3 to 5 percent.” But even 3-percent growth for 10 years, said the treasury secretary, will not only make up for any lost tax revenue because of tax reform but will produce enough income to start to pay back the national deficit.

“Aggressive deregulation and tax cuts will spur the economy,” said Trump. “You see what’s happening in the stock market,” she added, echoing her father.

MacArthur added that the president “has signed 16 bills rolling back regulation” before asking his next question.

“Back to tax reform ... how do you see this tax reform helping people?”

That’s when Trump spoke about simplicity and middle class tax cuts.

MacArthur said his next question came from the audience (question slips and pens had been provided to the approximately 100 invited guests). “How will tax reform benefit small mom and pop businesses?”

“Limited liabilities and partnerships will have the lowest (tax) rate since the 1930s,” said Mnuchin. “That’s incredible!”

“It will be the greatest tax cut for small businesses in over 80 years,” said Trump. “The writing off of capital expenses is such a big deal.”

MacArthur then asked Trump if he could pose “a personal question?” Citing her interest in increasing child tax credits, he asked, “What’s driving you?”

Trump said that it has been tough enough being a mother and pursuing a career at the same time, even for her. “I have help, I have resources.”

Traveling around the country during her father’s campaign, she said, made her realize how much more difficult the mother/careerist duality is for regular American women.

The event was already winding down and while Trump was still speaking a woman in the audience, Marianne Clemente of Barnegat, shouted, “You’re not taking questions from the audience? I have a question.”

MacArthur said some of his questions had been from the audience, although he had only credited one as being so. A man in the audience also responded, shouting, “You’re not the only one. Why don’t you shut up and let her (Trump) talk.”

At the first sign of inside protest, the event was quickly shut down, earning a small round of polite but not excited applause. There had been a small contingent of demonstrators outside throughout the event and one man, Jason Ireland of Brick, complained loudly when, as a Democrat, he was not allowed into the meeting.

— Rick Mellerup


Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McDonald | Nov 16, 2017 11:10

Three millionaire carpetbaggers touting what is best for us to do for them. And, as expected, the 50 'selected in advance' Stepford Wives in attendance smiled sweetly as they applauded.

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