WASHINGTON — On the eve of Tax Day, President Donald Trump is exaggerating the government’s plans to shrink the much-dreaded federal income tax forms.
He is promising a simplified, one-page tax form for next year that basically already exists — the 1040EZ. And after weeks of promises, Trump appears to be dropping a pledge to create an even smaller, card-sized tax form. There are no signs the IRS is planning any such thing for the 2018 tax year.
Meantime, Trump’s tweet Monday accusing China and Russia of “playing the currency devaluation game” is at odds with the Treasury Department, which has not reached the same conclusion in recent economic reports.
A look at the statements and how they don’t hold up:
TRUMP: “Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable.” — tweet Monday.
THE FACTS: Trump’s claim misstates the current economic situation and contradicts his own Treasury Department, which on Friday released a report showing no country was labeled a currency manipulator.
Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign had vowed to brand China a currency manipulator immediately after taking office. But in three straight currency reports issued since Trump took office, the administration has not branded China or any other country as a currency manipulator.
Asked why the administration has not labeled China a currency manipulator in the Treasury reports, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that China was placed on a watch list and “that’s something that the Treasury Department is watching very closely, and we’re continuing to monitor it.”
Trump’s tweet also inaccurately describes the economic situation. China’s currency, the yuan, has actually been rising in value and now stands at the highest levels against the dollar in about three years.
By contrast, Russia’s ruble has been falling against the dollar and did plunge sharply last week. But that reflected new economic sanctions the United States imposed on Russia — not rising U.S. interest rates or efforts by the Russian government to drive down the ruble’s value.
Trump is correct that rising U.S. interest rates could contribute to boosting the dollar’s value against other currencies by making investments in the United States more attractive to foreign investors. But U.S. interest rates are only one factor that can determine the dollar’s value against other countries.
It is not clear what Trump meant by calling the current situation “not acceptable.” It is true that a stronger dollar can …read more