Fmr. Reagan Advisor Martin Feldstein: Expect Tax Cuts Before Obamacare Reform

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Feldstein: More than cut taxes needed to avoid increasing deficit

Former Regan economic advisor, Martin Feldstein weighs in on President Trump's strategy to spur economic growth and whether Obamacare should be the administration's top priority.

On Tuesday House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress will complete legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act by the end of this year.

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"We are going to be done legislating with respect to healthcare and Obamacare this year," Ryan said during a news briefing. “The question is how long it takes to implement the full replacement of Obamacare.”

According to the Committee for Responsible Budget, the cost of repealing Obamacare could climb upwards of $250 billion over a decade.

In an exclusive interview with FOX Business Network’s Countdown to the Closing Bell, former Reagan Economic Advisor Martin Feldstein said the Trump administration should prioritize implementing tax reform over repealing Obamacare.

“Well they’ve gotta start thinking how they are going to do it, but it’s going to be a complicated thing in part because you gotta get sixty Democrats to sign on for much of it. So taxes are really the thing they can do this year,” he said.

Feldstein said if you only pair tax cuts with President Donald Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, it would increase the deficit in a “worrying way.” However, he doesn’t think the infrastructure plan will happen and said tax cuts alone won’t reduce a rising budget deficit.

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“We’ve been waiting for thirty years for any kind of fundamental [tax] reform and all we done over these thirty years is increase taxes. I think if this is done right, including the so-called border tax adjustments, the corporate tax reduction will not be very expensive,” Feldstein told host Liz Claman.

As chairman of Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors, Feldstein worked with the administration to figure out how to cut taxes while stimulating economic growth without blowing up the deficit. The Harvard professor said Reagan had an advantage because the economy was producing four percent GDP growth compared to the current state of the economy under President Trump.

“When we started, we were in a deep, deep hole and so just coming out of the hole led to very substantial growth and very substantial revenue,” he said.

When asked if Trump will reach across the aisle like Reagan did with Democratic House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, Feldstein said, “Ronald Reagan had to do it without Republican majority in the House.”

Despite Trump challenging some within the Republican Party over policies, Feldstein said the GOP and Trump will only debate the details surrounding tax reform.

“I think we are going to see the House Republican tax bill go through, go through the House, go to the Senate and eventually end up being signed by the president,” he said.

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