Inside View of the Milken Institute Global Conference 2017

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Details Trump Administration's Plans for Tax Reform.

May 1, 2017 11:24 am

A gathering of some of the most important business and political leaders kicked off Monday morning with a talk by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin illuminating the Trump Administration’s plans for the economy.

“Most important thing right now is economic growth,” Mnuchin told the packed ballroom at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

He detailed some of the thinking on the Trump tax reform plan: Simplify taxes, a middle class cut, and a shift to make corporate taxes “more competitive.”

Mnuchin did stress that the intent is not to cut taxes on the high end and that there remained hope in the administration for bipartisan support since 70 percent of tax burden passed on to workers.

“This is our version of a jobs bill,” he said.

Mnuchin complimented the career staff at the Treasury and detailed a plan to raise growth. “We expect to pay (for the plan) through growth and less deductions,” he said. “2 to 3 percent extra growth can be $3 trillion in revenue.” And passing the tax reform would be a major part of that, he added.

According to Mnuchin, another major Trump priority is fixing the country’s infrastructure, although a strategy to repair ti won’t be paired with tax reform. He said the emphasis will be to avoid adding to the deficit  by funding infrastructure expenditures through public and private partnerships.

There was also discussion of U.S. sanctions, particularly against North Korea and Syria. It’s a policy that works, Mnuchin said, citing the success in stifling terrorist funding with Iran.

As someone who has known the president for 15 years Mnuchin also stressed that his boss often gets unfairly maligned. “He really does listen,” the Treasury Secretary said. “He makes his own decisions, but really does listen.”

The Milken Institute Global Conference, running from April 30 to May 3, has drawn 3,500 attendees from 50 countries. Organized by the Milken Institute, the goal is to convene some of the most important decision makers in a variety of fields to help come up with solutions to many of the world’s problems.

Founder Michael Milken has reinvented himself from a reputation as the unpopular junk bond king of 1980s to a major philanthropist.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Building Meaningful Lives,” with the tagline, “Convene. Inspire. Change.” in a nod to a priority on philanthropy.


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