Donald Trump sounded like a serious GOP presidential contender Monday morning as he unveiled a tax plan that checked all the Republican Party’s boxes.
Trump—who usually speaks loosely and off the cuff—held court at Trump Tower on Monday with notes and a detailed list of tax proposals, which ranged from eradicating the so-called death tax to lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent for businesses of all sizes, “from Fortune 500 to mom-and-pop shops to a freelancer living job to job.
“We have an amazing code. It will be simple. It will be easy. It will be fair,” Trump said.
Unlike his immigration proposal, which was dismissed as a pandering pipe dream with calls to deport 11 million people, Trump’s tax plan included many ideas that the GOP has lobbied for before.
Trump’s plan draws from the traditional Republican policy arsenal. He proposes reducing the number of tax brackets in the U.S. from seven to four, with those making less than $25,000 as individuals or $50,000 as a couple having an income-tax rate of zero. The highest earners who make $150,000 individually or $300,000 as a couple will have a top rate of 25 percent. He also proposed giving businesses a tax holiday and encouraging them to reinvest their foreign-held money in the U.S. by offering them a “one-time” 10 percent tax rate.
During his press conference, Trump declined to tell reporters who had crafted his plan, but many of the ideas have been offered up already by fellow GOP candidates. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, for example, planned to reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three and also slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.
Trump did try and appeal to his financially struggling supporters Monday by pledging to cut back on tax deductions and ‘loopholes” for the wealthiest Americans and “[eliminate] the income tax for over 73 million households.”
“It is going to cost me a fortune,” Trump said.
But conservative tax expert and founder of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist said Trump’s plan isn’t borrowed from liberals—it is classically conservative. And, he argued, it is implementable.
“The Republican Senate and House would pass this tomorrow,” Norquist said. “He is completely in the current of the modern Reagan Republican Party, and his plan fits very comfortably … and in many ways is more aggressive.”
Trump might be the flashiest candidate in the 2016 presidential race, but it turns out his tax plan is pretty typical. Of course, Trump couldn’t let an opportunity to diss his fellow Republicans on Monday morning. When asked about Sen. Marco Rubio, Trump responded, “Senator Rubio is a lightweight. He wouldn’t be able to do this.”