Mitt Romney is offering rare praise for President Donald Trump, hailing his decision not to index capital gains taxes to inflation as the right choice both politically and economically.
The Utah senator said skirting Congress to allow investors to effectively lower their tax rates could risk a sell-off in the markets, a stern legal challenge and a potential political backlash given the disproportionate benefit to wealthy people. So, in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Romney said he welcomes “President Trump’s focus on the welfare of American workers.”
“Not only would such a change stand on dubious constitutional and legal ground, but it would primarily benefit wealthy investors without supporting American workers,” Romney said of changing tax law on capital gains. Moreover, Romney warned: “Encouraging investors to sell their stocks through inflation indexing could risk a sell-off.”
Romney has been among Trump’s loudest GOP critics since joining the Senate this year, though he has taken a far less confrontational line than past detractors like Jeff Flake and Bob Corker. Romney has yet to endorse Trump’s reelection, but as a senator he has praised Trump when he agrees with the president’s policies, while criticizing his battles with progressive congresswomen and controversial rhetoric.
In this case, Romney said the president made the correct decision because “regardless of the merits of this policy change, it would be counterproductive to proceed in a way that creates uncertainty for American families and businesses.” Like most Republicans, Romney said Trump should come to Congress if he wants to change tax law rather than through administrative action.
Trump has weighed both a payroll tax and changes to taxes on investments as a stimulus for the economy but decided against them in the short term. Most Republicans would prefer passage of the new North American trade deal and an end to the trade wars with China than stimulus through the tax code.
By BURGESS EVERETT
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