Ivanka Trump appeared on “Fox and Friends” on Thursday morning to tout Congress's just-passed tax-cut bill and her role in making it happen.
Except she made some odd claims about it.
Speaking to the Fox hosts, Trump talked about traversing the country around Tax Day to witness the reviews for herself. “I’m really looking forward to doing a lot of traveling in April when people realize the effect that this has . . . on the process of filling out their taxes.”
Except that this law has no real bearing on the 2017 tax returns Americans will be filling out in April. It will apparently take effect when it comes to their personal tax withholding as early as February 2018, but the tax returns in April involve only taxes paid through December 2017.
Trump's very next sentence didn't fare much better: “The vast majority will be doing so on a single postcard.”
Again, these changes won't affect the 2017 returns that people must file by April 17. But even beyond that, the postcard thing was a Republican goal for this process that never came to fruition. In fact, as FiveThirtyEight notes, this bill doesn't really even simplify the tax code. There may be an increase in the number of people who take the standard deduction, which has doubled, and taxes for businesses will in some cases get simpler. But other aspects, such as the expanded child tax credit and new rules for pass-through income, will create more complexities. In addition, people will still want to calculate their itemized deductions before deciding whether the standard deduction is the better option for them.
Others in the administration have couched this claim by saying that the vast majority of people will be able to file their taxes on a postcard — rather than saying they actually will. But that's already something that's kind of possible by filing a one-page Form 1040EZ. And just because people can do that doesn't make it a wise decision for everyone; most experts agree that this law doesn't change the overall complexities of the U.S. tax system and that postcard filing is something of a myth.
And finally, Trump recalled her talks with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a critic of her father's and an early skeptic of the bill who wound up voting for it.
“He had his concerns,” she said. “He felt that his concerns were adequately addressed, and he really believes that tax relief coupled with the administration's deregulatory actions will create the growth that will start to erode and ultimately eliminate a national debt that has been incurred over the last several decades.”
The national debt stands at more than $20 trillion, and Trump's comments suggest this bill will set a path for eliminating it. That's an extremely bold claim that wasn't even offered by the bill's proponents, who have mostly sought to argue that the bill simply won't add to the debt. (Estimates show the GOP's $1.5 trillion tax-cut bill will cost between $516 billion and $1.39 trillion over a decade, when the growth it causes is factored in.)
You could perhaps argue that Trump meant the bill will lead to eliminating the deficit — the annual measure of how much is added to the debt, which stands at $440 billion and has been falling in recent years — but Trump seemed to clearly be referring to the total debt, given she cited it having been “incurred over the last several decades.”
Overall, it was a performance that recalled another member of the Trump family.