Steve Mnuchin is Trump's Treasury Secretary. He is a billionaire who wanted the government to fund part of his honeymoon to Europe by calling it a business trip. He has also been one of the major architects of the tax framework that Republicans are trying to sell to the public. One of his problems is that the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center published a report which concluded that 80% of the tax cuts went to the top 1%. It also reported that the tax cuts would raise federal budget deficits by $2.4 trillion over ten years. He and others in the Trump administration have been promoting the tax cuts as boon to the middle class. That required Mnuchin to do two very bad things that should never be done by a Treasury Secretary.
Mnuchin disputed the analysis done by the Tax Policy Center on Fox News by claiming that the tax plan is incomplete and that any analysis would be wrong. He then argued that the incomplete tax plan would reduce federal deficits by $1 trillion over ten years. He also claimed that the plan was for the middle class because the corporate tax cuts in the plan went primarily to the middle class. On Fox News he said that 70% of the benefits went to the middle class. In a speech in Kentucky he claimed that 80% of the benefits went to the middle class.
In the first place, his defense against the analysis done by the Tax Policy Center means that the tax framework that the administration released must be worthless. He argued that details in the plan, apparently which only he knows, turn $2.4 trillion of federal deficits into a $1 trillion reduction in federal deficits. The details in the tax plan have a Midas touch. They produce a $3.4 difference between the Tax Policy analysis and his estimate of budget deficits.
Mnuchin's claim that almost all of the gains from the corporate tax would go the middle class also requires a big lie. For many years it was assumed that 100% of corporate tax cuts went to shareholders. Economists in the Treasury did a study that showed that only 80% of corporate tax cuts went to shareholders. The remainder of the tax cuts went to workers. Since that report conflicts with Mnuchin's claim that 70-80 percent of corporate tax cuts went to shareholders, something had to be done. So Mnuchin did what any respectable Treasury Secretary would not do. He buried the internal report done by his own department. It is no longer available.
Its pretty clear that Mnuchin is willing to do whatever he can to sell the Trump tax plan as a middle class plan. In order to do that he had to dispute an analysis done by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center which showed that 80% of the tax cuts went to the top 1% with a claim that the framework the administration is selling is not useful. He also had to bury an internal study which showed that corporate tax cuts went primarily to shareholders and not to the middle class as he claims.
The Trump tax plan would also eliminate the estate tax. It defends ending the estate tax by arguing that it must be done to protect small businesses and small farmers from an unfair tax. The graph below shows that the estate tax is not being cut to protect small businesses and farmers.