White House touts Trump policies, warns on ‘Medicare-for-all,’ wealth tax

The White House laid out its case against progressive programs like “Medicare-for-all” and a wealth tax, while touting the projected benefits of its own economic agenda.

The White House Council of Economic Advisors made its case Tuesday in the Economic Report of the President, which detailed the executive branch’s economic outlook for coming years.

The White House said 6 million workers got bonuses after Trump’s tax law. It also said venture capital deals were $17 billion higher last year than they would have been without the new law and that U.S. companies repatriated $600 billion in overseas earnings during the first three quarters of 2018.

“We demonstrate that these departures from the recent trend are not accidental but rather reflect the Trump Administration’s deliberate measures to create and maintain conditions under which the U.S. economy can achieve maximum employment, production, and purchasing power,” the report said.

White House economic projections have generally been more optimistic than consensus forecasts from independent organizations. Last week, the administration’s budget forecast continued economic growth at a rate of 3 percent or higher over the next five years. That’s far rosier than the 2.7 percent the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast for this year and 1.9 percent for next year. The Federal Reserve’s forecast forecast for long-run growth is also lower at about 2 percent.

White House Chief Economist Kevin Hassett defended the administration’s outlook.

“It’s our job, it’s our statutory responsibility, to assume that the president’s policies become law and show people what happens and document it,” Hassett told reporters Monday.

The Trump administration also responded to freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s idea for a 70 percent marginal tax rate, which kicked off debate about wealth taxes. In their report, White House economists estimated that her proposal would result in a $531 billion reduction in GDP over a decade from the Congressional Budget Office’s forecast issued in January.

The administration also warned against the “Medicare-for-all,” a staple policy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, claiming it would actually hurt longevity and health. White House economists said if “Medicare-for-all” werer financed exclusively by higher taxes, it would slash long-term GDP by 9 percent and after-tax income by 19 percent.

Tuesday’s report builds on the White House’s position against proposals put forth by progressives like Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders. In October, the Council of Economic Advisors issued a 72-page report titled “The Opportunity Costs of Socialism.” Hassett at the time told reporters that proposals like “Medicare-for-all” are “very consistent with the design of socialism.”

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