U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters as he meets with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis in the Oval Office of the White House In Washington, U.S. August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday said his administration was looking to cut U.S. taxes on wages and on profits from selling assets such as stocks, but that he was not talking about doing anything imminently.
Speaking to reporters during a White House visit by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Trump said “I’ve been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time.”
The Washington Post has reported the administration is considering a temporary payroll tax cut to boost the U.S. economy, which has recently shown signs of slowing down in the near future. Millions of U.S. workers pay payroll taxes on their earnings to finance the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly and Social Security, which provides income payments for retirees.
Trump, though, said he believes the country is “very far from recession,” and that the White House has weighed tax cuts for a while. At the end of 2017, Trump signed a massive tax overhaul passed by the Republican-led Congress and has since promised to follow up with another round of major changes.
Still, trade tensions with China have stoked concerns that the U.S. economy is heading for a downturn, which could dampen Trump’s prospects for re-election in 2020.
Trump said he would not need the approval of Congress to link the tax on profits from asset sales, known as capital gains, to inflation. According to tax code experts, investors would pay far less capital gains tax under an inflation index.
“I’m not talking about doing anything at this moment, but indexing is something that a lot of people have liked for a long time. And it’s something that would be very easy to do,” he said. “It is something I am certainly thinking about.”
Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Lisa Shumaker