Cohn Sells Middle-Class Tax Cut At Fancy Luncheon

(Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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WASHINGTON — Several hundred men in dark suits clanked silverware against ceramic plates as top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn sold the House Republican tax plan as a “middle-income, working-class tax cut.”

Cohn was speaking at a luncheon Thursday hosted by The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. in the grand ballroom of the J.W. Marriott.

“We are going to grow our economy at a faster rate,” the director of the National Economic Council said about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Cohn was interviewed by financier David Rubenstein in a conversation that largely focused on the tax bill, but also drifted to a discussion about how Cohn got started in his investment career that led him to become president of Goldman Sachs, and how he met Trump (the first time was in former Yankee owner George Steinbrenner’s box).

The House GOP tax bill reduces the number of individual tax brackets and chops the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The top economics adviser said that a cut in the business tax and middle-class tax relief is the White House’s priority.

Cohn said the tax bill would encourage businesses to invest more in America and will help the “middle-American, hard-working family” to “spend more money,” which would then lead to economic growth.

President Donald Trump is hoping to sign in the tax reform legislation before the year’s end. It would be the first major tax reform signed into law in over three decades. (RELATED: Long-Awaited Republican Legislation Calls For Deep Tax Cuts)

The former Goldman Sachs executive pointed to two benefits it would help if the tax bill is implemented before 2018.

“You sat in a lot of corporate board rooms,” Cohn told Rubenstein, adding, “I sat in a lot of corporate board rooms. … Board rooms like certainty.”

He later noted that middle-class Americans getting a tax break on their first paycheck is “good for our economy … good for our workers.”

President Trump is expected to name Jerome Powell Thursday as his Federal Reserve chairman, a job that Cohn reportedly desired. However, Cohn noted that he enjoys his work in the White House even if he is making less money than he did when he was 20.