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Trump payroll tax cuts: White House considers ways to juice economy



President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday the White House would consider further tax cuts in an attempt to boost the economy, even as he continued to downplay growing concerns about a potential recession.

“The other thing is, we’re looking at various tax reductions,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office. “That’s one of the reasons we’re in such a strong economic position. We’re right now, the number one country anywhere in the world by far as an economy.”

Trump said payroll tax cuts were under consideration, confirming a Washington Post story that a White House official had widely disputed a day before. Hours earlier, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley said on Fox News that payroll tax cuts were not on the table.

Trump also suggested a proposal to lower taxes on capital gains through executive action, bypassing Congress in a move that would likely face legal challenges.

“We’ve been talking about indexing for a long time,” Trump said. “Many people like indexing. It can be done very simply. It can be done directly by me … I would love to do something on capital gains.”

The calls for tax cuts came after a key recession warning flashed Wednesday for the first time since before the global financial crisis in June 2007. Trump was briefed on the economy by top Wall Street executives that afternoon after financial markets turned sharply lower.

With weakening growth abroad and escalating tensions between the US and major trading partners, investors and economists have grown increasingly concerned about the prospect of a slowdown in recent months. The Trump administration plans to expand the scope of its tariffs on China in September in a major escalation.

That would hit far more consumer products than in previous moves and could hurt retail spending, which has remained one of the brightest spots in an otherwise slowing economy. The White House appeared to acknowledge that tariffs could hurt American consumers last week, delaying some of them until after the holiday shopping season.

Proposals to juice the economy have emerged following sharp backlash over trade disputes from companies and lawmakers. Earlier in August, Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida suggested short-term pain from tariffs should be countered with tax cuts.

“Anything we raise in tariffs, we should give back to the rank and public in tax reductions,” he said on CNBC.

The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates last month by a quarter percentage point, but Trump and administration officials have called for more aggressive easing.

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