President Trump pushed his tax plan to an audience at the Heritage Foundation Tuesday night, and Politico reports that the biggest applause came when he reaffirmed his call to repeal “the horrible and very unfair estate tax.”
As plenty of analysts have pointed out, the tax applies to a relatively small number of estates, most with very high net worth. In 2015, about 5,200 estates owed a total of $18.3 billion in taxes, and almost half of that came from a few hundred worth more than $50 million each.
While Trump has in the past said that the repeal would be a boon for “millions of small businesses and the American farmer” — earning a “pants on fire” review from Politifact in the process — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently admitted that repealing the estate tax may not do much for your local hardware store owner: “Obviously, the estate tax, I will concede, disproportionately helps rich people.”
That potentially includes Trump’s cabinet. According to a new analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund, Trump’s estate could cut its tax bill by more than a billion dollars, while Mnuchin’s heirs could save about $240 million. In all, the heirs of Trump and his cabinet could reduce their tax liability by more than $3.5 billion.