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White House Unveils Trump’s Opening Tax-Cut Bid

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  • White House Unveils Trump’s Opening Tax-Cut Bid

The White House made its opening bid for what officials called the “biggest tax cut” in U.S. history — with cuts that would benefit businesses, the middle class and certain high-earning individuals — but left unanswered questions about whether the plan would be paid for, or how.

A list of goals for the tax overhaul, unveiled by President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Wednesday, calls for slashing the federal income-tax rate to 15 percent for corporations, small businesses and partnerships of all sizes. It also imposes a one-time tax on about $2.6 trillion in earnings that U.S. companies have parked overseas. The plan would end the taxation of corporations’ offshore income by moving to a territorial system, in which most foreign profits would be exempt from U.S. taxes. Currently, the U.S. taxes business income no matter where it’s earned.

On the individual side, it proposes condensing the existing seven income-tax rates to just three, cutting the individual top rate to 35 percent from 39.6 percent. It would also end a 3.8 percent net investment income tax that applies only to individuals who earn more than $200,000 a year, repeal the alternative minimum tax and eliminate the estate tax, which currently applies only to estates worth more than $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for couples.

At the same time, the plan would eliminate the federal income-tax deduction allowed for state and local taxes — a provision that would hit high earners in high-tax states, including New York and New Jersey. The only itemized deductions that would be preserved under the plan would be for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

“We are determined to move as fast as we can and get this done this year,” Mnuchin said.

Revenue Offsets

The move to tax partnerships, limited liability companies and other so-called “pass-throughs” at 15 percent would represent a major tax cut for many businesses — from mom-and-pop grocers to hedge funds — including Trump’s own business empire. Under current law, those companies pass their earnings and deductions through to their owners, who then are taxed at their individual income tax rates.

Shortly after the election, Mnuchin said Trump’s tax plan would provide “no absolute tax cut for the upper class.”

It wasn’t immediately clear Wednesday whether the plan would pay for itself; Mnuchin and others have said it would stimulate enough economic growth to cover the cost of the tax cuts. Economists have called that proposition into question — raising questions about whether any tax cuts it proposes would have to be temporary under congressional rules.

“This is going to be the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country and we are committed to seeing this through,” Mnuchin said at an event in Washington on Wednesday morning.

The plan’s scant detail made it difficult to immediately assess its economic impact. Kyle Pomerleau, director of federal projects at the Tax Foundation said in a Twitter message: “Sorry, friends. We cannot model this. Definitely not enough detail.”

Democratic Opposition

Trump’s goal of enacting a large tax cut faces daunting obstacles in Congress, including surefire Democratic opposition. The Republican Party is divided on how and whether the plan should be paid for. And a Senate rule prevents any tax plan from adding to the federal deficit outside a 10-year window — if it’s enacted with a simple majority rather than 60 votes, a procedure known as budget reconciliation.

Mnuchin said lawmakers in the House and Senate agree with the White House on core business rates, creating a middle-income tax cut and stimulating the economy.

“We want to look at every avenue, but we think reconciliation is the preferred process, we think that’s the most logical process to bring tax reform through,” Ryan said to reporters Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he doesn’t expect to have Democratic involvement on the tax plan.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, promised opposition to a tax plan that gives breaks to the highest earners.

“If the president’s plan is to give a massive tax break to the very wealthy in this country — a plan that will mostly benefit people and businesses like President Trump’s — that won’t pass muster with we Democrats,” he said Wednesday morning on the Senate floor. “We don’t need a tax plan that allows the very rich to use pass-throughs to reduce their rates to 15 percent while average Americans are paying much more.”

‘Too Early’

The White House proposal didn’t specify whether a tax plan should be revenue-neutral — if it isn’t, the cuts would expire within a decade. It didn’t take a position on revenue-raisers that House Republican leaders have proposed, including a border-adjusted tax on imports and domestic sales.

The White House proposal mirrors parts of the tax plan Trump proposed during the campaign, which would cost the government $6.2 trillion in the first decade, and more than $20 trillion by 2036 after accounting for interest costs and macroeconomic factors, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Cohn and Mnuchin briefed Ryan and McConnell, along with House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch on Tuesday afternoon. As Hatch left, he tempered expectations of the White House and Congress coming to agreement on key tax questions in the foreseeable future.

“It’s too early,” Hatch told reporters. “We’re just getting into it.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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