- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2017

President Trump backed away slightly Thursday from his earlier statement that the wealthiest Americans could actually pay more in his tax reform plan.

“I don’t think we’ll have to do that. But this is not to benefit the wealthy,” Mr. Trump said as he doubled down on a pledge that the reforms would not benefit the wealthy.

“The wealthy Americans are not my priority. My priority are people in the middle class and that’s where we are giving the big tax reduction to,” he told reporters at an airport in Fort Myers, Florida, as he headed to survey the hurricane damage.

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He said that his priority was helping the middle class and job-creating business.

“This is to benefit the middle class, to benefit companies where they are going to be producing jobs,” he said. “We want to produce jobs in this country. We want factories coming back. They are already coming back.”

The president’s stance puts him closer to Democrats’ top demand that the top 1 percent of earners don’t get tax cuts. But details of the plan remain under wraps in Congress and Democrats have not bought in to the president’s new rhetoric.

Republican Congress leaders are expected to present details of the tax reform the week of Sept. 25. The goals set by the president include simplifying the tax code, lowering rates for individuals and business, and eliminating most of the current deductions.

Mr. Trump said he wants the corporate tax rate reduced from 35 percent, which is among the highest of developed countries, to about 15 percent.

The president said that cutting corporate taxes would not be a tax cut for the wealthy.

“The way we are going to get jobs is to make our companies more competitive. Again, a lot of these companies are public companies owned by the public, owned by pension funds, owned by vehicles such as that. So they’ll get a big benefit,” Mr. Trump said.

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