Steve Mnuchin: Tax Reform Will Put Focus on Aiding Middle Class, Business

In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed ways the Trump administration plans to tackle issues hampering economic growth in America.

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“The American economy has been too slow for too long and we’re going to start with tax reform. We’re focused on regulatory relief and we’re focused on just a whole lot of changes to make the middle-class tax cuts and to make business competitive,” Mnuchin said, adding that the goal is to get back to a 3 percent or higher GDP.

Currently, the U.S. personal income tax code has seven brackets, which President Trump, who made tax reform a mainstay of his campaign, wants to reduce to just three. Meanwhile, the plan also aims to cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from the current 35 percent.

By reforming the tax code, the administration believes companies will bring back “trillions of dollars” sitting offshore and “redeploy” the money in the U.S., according to Mnuchin.

“We need to create a level playing field for U.S. companies to be able to compete in the world. And they just haven’t had that opportunity,” Mnuchin said.

Additionally, the administration is reviewing a possible border adjustment tax, which would allow the U.S. to collect fees on imports from other countries. The Treasury secretary explained that while the president is a proponent of free trade, he also believes in fair trade.

“There’s certain aspects that the president likes about the concept of a border-adjusted tax. There’s certain aspects that he’s very concerned about,” Mnuchin said. “We’re not going to get into trade wars… All we’re looking for are fair deals where the deals work for us and they work for the other parties.”

However, the Treasury secretary said more time is needed to work on tax reform, which the administration expects to complete by August of this year.

“We’re doing it under lightning-fast proposals… It’s going to be really fast,” said Mnuchin. “So the fact that we’re not ready to do it next week and they’re [Congress] working on ObamaCare now, that doesn’t mean that this is less important -- they’re both very important.”

Additionally, the Trump team plans to lessen the regulatory burdens on banks. On Feb. 3, the president signed an executive order to scale back the Dodd-Frank Act and dismantle other regulations created in 2010, following the financial crisis.

Mnuchin also noted that the administration will not touch entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, at the current time.

"Don’t expect to see that as part of this budget," Mnuchin said. "We are very focused on other aspects and that’s what’s very important to us and that’s the president’s priority.”