Trump adviser: Tax code must be tackled

Trump adviser: Tax code must be tackled

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CHAMPAIGN — Steven Moore really likes Donald Trump.

He was one of the president's primary economic advisers in the 2016 presidential campaign even though he had only met him last spring. He called him "one of the most gracious and fun people I've ever met in my life."

And Moore said that Trump is "inexhaustible. I've never seen anyone with the work ethic that Donald Trump has."

But Moore, a 1983 University of Illinois graduate and former Wall Street Journal editorial writer, said he's worried about Trump's lack of progress on changing the tax code.

And that's a big deal for Moore, who spoke to about 200 people Wednesday night at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner of the Champaign County Republican Party.

"I had a piece in the New York Times today with Larry Kudlow where I said that there's not enough urgency here. Given that we didn't get the health care bill passed, he needs a victory," said Moore, an Illinois native who is seen frequently on cable news shows. "The reason I'm concerned about the economy is that there was a big Trump bounce after the election. The economy really picked up, but starting around mid-March, it really flattened out.

"There are a lot of reasons for that, but I think a big reason is that investors and employers are getting really nervous about whether this tax cut is really going to happen. The more they delay, the worse it's going to be for the economy."

Moore said he believes Trump should act quickly, "and do a business tax cut right now. That will help the economy a lot."

Too many Republicans in Congress, he said, "want to be really grandiose and rewrite the 16,000-page tax code. I'm all for that, but that's not going to happen in three or four months."

And Trump has too many advisers in the White House and in agencies, said Moore, "who aren't experts on this and don't know tax reform."

Moore said Trump could use Kudlow "to get that tax cut through in two months."

Asked if he would want the job, Moore said, "Well maybe. I love what I'm doing now.

"Trump gets this. I remember when I first met him. He said he wanted to cut taxes for the 26 million small businesses and get the corporate rate down. He had these ideas; we just helped him put some meat on the bone."

Still, Moore said he's optimistic and said there's a "high likelihood" a tax cut will clear Congress by Christmas.

He said Trump has three "musts" in his first year: build a border wall with Mexico, get the tax cut done and repeal the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act.

"I think there's some concern among voters that he seems to be backing away from some of his promises. He can't do that," Moore said. "One of the reasons he was elected is that he was viewed as not a politician who says one thing and does another."

Coincidentally, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, who also was at the dinner, said he is one of a "small group" of House Republicans who is working on a new plan to "repeal and replace" the ACA.

"I want to apologize that we weren't able to get a health care fix yet," the Taylorville Republican told the crowd. "We failed to get a fix because we're not getting any help from the other side."

Davis said the Republicans are working on "a fix to our bill because we cannot afford, as Americans, to not fix this failing health care system and finally live up to the promises that were broken in the last administration and give Americans access to affordable and available insurance coverage."

He said if Republicans fail on health care, "we will fail to be able to come together on important issues like tax reform."

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David Green wrote on April 20, 2017 at 11:04 am

Stephen Moore is the worst sort of right-wing neoliberal huckster. His ideas about the economy are fraudulent, and serve only the accumulation of wealth by the already rich.

Jen R wrote on April 20, 2017 at 1:04 pm

"I want to apologize that we weren't able to get a health care fix yet," the Taylorville Republican told the crowd. "We failed to get a fix because we're not getting any help from the other side."

The AHCA was a terrible bill that would have been a big step backwards for vulnerable people. That's on you and your GOP colleagues.