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Trumponomics Daily—Friday, February 24

President Trump sent tax watchers into a tizzy Thursday afternoon with his comments to Reuters that appeared to endorse the House Republican push for a border adjustment tax. “It could lead to a lot more jobs in the United States,” he said. The provision remains the most divisive in the debate over a tax overhaul, pitting House GOPers against their Senate counterparts and major exporters (including Boeing, Dow, GE, Oracle and Pfizer) against big-box retailers like Walmart and Target, oil refiners and the potent-as-ever Koch political network. So a presidential thumb on the scale would indeed be a big deal.

But this is a good example of a time not to take Trump quite so literally. Recall that two weeks ago, Trump also said his administration soon would be rolling out a “phenomenal” tax plan, though Congressional Republicans don’t expect the administration to come forward with a proposal of its own. And yesterday, he boosted the border levy after meeting with manufacturing CEOs who promoted it to him, though last month, Trump dismissed it as “too complicated.” Then examine his fuller remarks to Reuters on the idea in question: “I certainly support a form of tax on the border,” he said. “What is going to happen is companies are going to come back here, they’re going to build their factories and they’re going to create a lot of jobs and there’s no tax.” It sounds less like Trump just made an irreversible, highly consequential decision on a nuanced piece of tax policy and more like he’s cheerleading for his broader aim of making America great again.

Tory Newmyer
@torynewmyer
tory_newmyer@fortune.com

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