Not only are Cohn and Mnuchin prone to Kinsleyian gaffes about Paul Ryan’s plan to raise taxes on the non-affluent to massively cut taxes for the upper-class (with particular attention to the idle rich), they are perfect symbolic representatives of the plan. Ryan is unhappy:
In September, Cohn told reporters that with the $1,000 that he said the average American family is likely to save from the proposed tax plan, they “can renovate their kitchen, they can buy a new car.” The offhand comment delivered to reporters in the White House briefing room seemed to underscore how out of touch the Hamptons-summering millionaire was with the expenses facing everyday Americans.
“The most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan,” Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs, said in an interview with CNBC earlier this month. The Senate version of the tax bill would reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent starting in 2019.
A few weeks later, speaking in front of an audience of chief executives gathered in Washington, Cohn expressed shock that their hands stayed in their laps when they were asked whether they planned to increase investment under the new tax plan. “Why aren’t the other hands up?” Cohn wondered out loud.
The bumbled pitches for a must-win bill have left Republicans exasperated at a time when the global and domestic economies are rallying — and Republican lawmakers are eager to have a legislative accomplishment to point to on the campaign trail during next year’s midterm elections. “All kinds of stuff is breaking their way, and they can’t get out of their own way,” said one prominent Republican close to the Trump administration.
Louise Linton and Steven Mnuchin are pictured here. | AP Photo
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (right) and his wife Louise Linton react as Mnuchin holds up a sheet of new $1 bills, the first currency notes bearing his and Treasurer Jovita Carranza’s signatures. | Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Some Republicans on Capitol Hill have started to distance themselves. House Speaker Paul Ryan earlier this month asked the White House not to send Mnuchin to the Hill to talk with Republican lawmakers about the bill, according to two people familiar with the discussions — though Ryan has praised the Treasury secretary’s ability to improve the legislation itself.
“There were some testy conversations” between Ryan and Mnuchin, according to a White House official — in particular, over Mnuchin’s attempts at bringing lawmakers on board.
Look, you sell upper-class tax cuts by sending greasy cynical hacks out for photo-ops at soup kitchens. It’s just ridiculous enough to actually work on journalists!