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President Trump spent his tax filing day in Minnesota, where he touted his $1.5 trillion package of corporate and individual tax cuts he signed into law in 2017 and made a pitch for his 2020 reelection.

Speaking at a trucking company in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville on Monday, Trump said he hoped his economic message would be met with enthusiasm from a state that he came within 1.5 percentage points of carrying in 2016.

“We promised that these tax cuts would be rocket fuel to the economy and we were right,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion.

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In his remarks the president said the economy was doing well and that the recent tax cuts were “working very, very well.”

Besides taxes, Trump also argued that his tariffs on imported steel were helping blue-collar workers in Minnesota’s more rural north and leading to a resurgence in the mining industry due to increased demand from domestic steelmakers.

While the trip was billed as a chance to meet with local business leaders on Tax Day, Minnesota likely will play a crucial role in deciding Trump’s chances of winning reelection next fall as well.

Minnesota, which gave the country Vice Presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, both Democrats, hasn’t given its 10 electoral votes to a Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972.

The state’s Democrats saw a huge overall resurgence during the anti-Trump backlash of 2018, notably in traditionally Republican suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Giving the president hope is the memory that his popularity outside the Twin Cities area helped the GOP flip two U.S. House seats away from the Democrats last year.

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The tax cuts were lambasted on Sunday by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat in the 2020 White House race, arguing that they added trillions of dollars to the nation’s debt and disproportionately helped the wealthy.

“That tax bill was a major missed opportunity,” she said. “That tax bill should have been a bill that would have not only brought some taxes down for working people but also could have funded a major infrastructure investment.”

So far Trump doesn’t appear to be getting much credit for the tax changes. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last week showed that most Americans didn’t think they even got a tax cut. Just 17 percent of those polled believed their taxes went down.

More evidence came from a report by tax preparer H&R Block on Thursday that said Americans were undergoing a “confusing tax experience” this season. While its customers’ overall tax liability fell 24.9 percent in the first year under the new tax law, refunds were roughly flat at just 1.4 percent. While the average filer was better off, it said, they weren’t seeing it in their refunds, “which many people think of as their ‘bottom line.'”

Federal data also showed a negligible increase in refunds. According to the IRS, as of March 29 the average refund nationally was $2,893, which was just $20 more than at the same point last tax season.

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Further muddling the picture was the federal deduction for state and local taxes being capped at $10,000, which has mattered in high-tax states such as Minnesota, California and New York, among others.

Along with discussions on taxes, trade and the economy, Trump also expressed his shock and sadness for the massive fire that was devastating the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris – calling the blaze something “that is beyond country, it’s beyond everything.”

“The fire that they’re having at the Notre Dame Cathedral is something like few have witnessed,” he said, adding that the church was “one of the great treasures of the world.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The Trump administration is moving to end an agreement allowing Cuban baseball players to sign contracts directly with Major League Baseball clubs, a change that appears to require Cuban players to once again defect from the Communist nation before signing a major league deal.

Last year, 25 Cuban-born players played in at least one major league baseball game.

The Treasury Department told MLB attorneys in a letter Friday that it was reversing an Obama administration rule allowing the major leagues to pay the Cuban Baseball Federation a release fee equal to a percentage of each Cuban player’s signing bonus. In exchange, the Cuban federation had agreed to release all players aged 25 and older with at least six years of professional experience.

In the letter, which was made public Monday afternoon, the Treasury Department told MLB that the payments to the Cuban Baseball Federation constituted illegal business with the Cuban government. That reverses a ruling made by the Obama administration that said the federation was not part of the Cuban government.

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“The U.S. does not support actions that would institutionalize a system by which a Cuban government entity garnishes the wages of hard-working athletes who simply seek to live and compete in a free society,” National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement. “The Administration looks forward to working with MLB to identify ways for Cuban players to have the individual freedom to benefit from their talents, and not as property of the Cuban State.”

Major League Baseball had no immediate comment on the letter, which came days after the Cuban federation released a list of 34 players authorized to sign with major league clubs.

Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The New York Times’ editorial board—famous for its criticism of President Trump—likely surprised some readers Monday after it published an editorial titled, "Not All Medicare Cuts Are Bad."

The editorial, which also pointed  to some of Trump’s proposals it disagrees with, claimed that Democrats– including some running for president– are currently engaged in "indiscriminate attacks" on Trump’s 2020 budget, but are "ignoring some worthy ideas."

Trump introduced a budget that calls for deep cuts in Medicare. The administration insisted that the cuts do not affect seniors but makes better use of taxpayers’ dollars and helps reduce Medicare spending by lowering prescription drug costs.

As outlined in White House documents, the budget calls for $845 billion in total, or gross, spending reductions to Medicare over 10 years, mainly by cutting future payments to hospitals and other service providers.

The Times wrote, “When Americans with Medicare visit a doctor’s office, the federal government pays a higher fee if that office happens to be owned by a hospital. This bonus payment serves no obvious purpose. A federal advisory board created to monitor Medicare spending has called for its elimination. And this month, the Trump administration proposed the change in its 2020 budget, along with several other measures recommended by nonpartisan experts to reduce payments to service providers without directly affecting the cost or availability of care."

The Times’ editorial board wrote that Trump’s campaign promise of not cutting Medicare was “irresponsible,” not the budget proposal itself.  It went on to say that Democrats are not "debating the details."

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"Instead, a proposal to improve the efficiency of health care spending is being treated as an attack on the availability of health care," the editorial read.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Source: Fox News Politics

Despite low approval ratings and the cloud of the Mueller probe, President Trump would easily win a second term in office if the election were held today, according to economic models with a history of correctly picking presidential victors.

According to a report in Politico, a flourishing U.S. economy – featuring low unemployment numbers, cheaper gas prices and rising wages – paired with the historical advantage that incumbent presidents enjoy give Trump a strong shot at winning a second term in a "landslide."

“The economy is just so damn strong right now and by all historic precedent the incumbent should run away with it,” Donald Luskin, the chief investment officer of TrendMacrolytics, a research firm that predicted Trump’s 2016 win, told Politico. “I just don’t see how the blue wall could resist all that.”

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Yale economist and pioneering election forecaster Ray Fair reportedly also has Trump currently winning re-election on the back of the booming economy and his incumbent’s advantage.

“Even if you have a mediocre but not great economy — and that’s more or less consensus for between now and the election — that has a Trump victory and by a not-trivial margin,” Fair told Politico, predicting that Trump would pick up 54 percent of the popular vote compared with just 46 percent for the Democrat. This would mark a significant gain from 2016, when he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

Of course, forecasters warn that a lot can change between now and Election Day 2020. If the markets suddenly start to tank, that could spell trouble for Trump – as could any bombshell revelations from the various investigations into Trump, his business empire and his 2016 presidential campaign.

And one of the biggest variables involves which Democratic candidate Trump ultimately will face next year, with an ever-growing field currently jockeying for the nomination. The economic models used to predict presidential winners and losers ignore things like election polls and personal characteristics – key factors when dealing with a candidate like Trump who inspires both fierce loyalty on one side and bitter opposition on the other.

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Still, the economy is generally seen as the most important factor when it comes to how voters cast their ballot and Luskin says there would need to be a major decline in economic growth and uptick in unemployment for Trump to lose. Luskin’s current model – which tracks GDP growth, gas prices, inflation, disposable income, tax burden and payrolls – has Trump winning in a blowout with 294 electoral votes.

“It would have to slow a lot to still be not pretty good,” Luskin said of the economy.

Source: Fox News Politics


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