TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

FactChecking Trump’s Tax Speech

FactCheck LogoFactCheck.org, FactChecking Trump’s Tax Speech:

In a speech on changing the tax code, President Donald Trump offered some political spin on the facts.

  • Trump claimed “anywhere from $3 trillion to $5 trillion” of profits are left overseas by U.S. companies to avoid U.S. taxes. But his own press office cites an estimate of $2.6 trillion in a fact sheet posted online the day of his speech. The group that published that number told us $5 trillion “seems impossibly high.”
  • The president compared apples to oranges in saying the U.S. just had a 3 percent growth rate in gross domestic product — that’s for the quarter — while “on a yearly basis” under the Obama administration, growth “never hit 3 percent.” Quarterly GDP growth exceeded 3 percent eight times under President Obama.
  • Trump said the U.S. was “dead last” in terms of business taxes. The U.S. has the highest statutory corporate tax rate among developed countries, but the rate isn’t the highest by other measures, such as when tax credits are included.
  • Trump said that “more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes” because the “tax code is so complicated.” Fifty-four percent paid someone else; another 40 percent used tax software.

Trump made his remarks on Aug. 30 in Springfield, Missouri, calling on Congress to “support pro-American tax reform.”

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