Trump flip-flops on tax cuts, saying US has ‘strong economy’

By KEVIN FREKING, JOSH BOAK and JONATHAN LEMIRE / AP News

WASHINGTON (AP) — A day after considering cutting taxes to promote economic growth, President Donald Trump changed course and said he would abandon the idea because the nation already had “a strong economy.”

Trump’s flip-flop on Wednesday came after recent market volatility and economic uncertainty, and amid a debate about whether the United States was heading for a slowdown that would imperil his reelection chances. Trump earlier this week acknowledged, for the first time, that his China trade policies may mean economic pain for Americans, though he insisted the tariffs are needed for more important long-term benefits.

But his consideration of cutting payroll taxes appeared short-lived.

“I’m not looking at a tax cut now,” he told reporters at the White House. “We don’t need it. We have a strong economy.”

Trump also knocked down the idea of indexing to the capital gains tax, which applies when investors sell assets, to inflation. He said he feared “it will be perceived, if I do it, as somewhat elitist.”

Analysts have warned that a slowdown, if not full-blown recession, could hit before next year’s election. Trump, however, has largely praised the economy’s performance and his handling of it. He has often blamed the Federal Reserve (and Chairman Jerome Powell) and the global slowdown for creating dark clouds at home.