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Trump Says His Tax Plan Won’t Help Him. Here Are Three Ways It Could.

US President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform at the Indiana Farm Bureau building on the Indiana State Fairgrounds September 27, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Believe me!
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

Remember how Sen. Tim Kaine had that whole goofy shtick about the way Donald Trump would end his sentences with “believe me” every time he was trying to sell snake oil to a crowd? Well, during his speech Wednesday unveiling the new Republican tax cut plan, the president seemed to suggest that the proposal would not help his own personal finances. He quickly crossed over into self-parody. “I’m doing the right thing,” he said. “And it’s not good for me, believe me.”

It’s hard to say exactly how much the GOP’s proposal would help Trump financially because a) the plan is still only a sketch; and b) we haven’t seen the president’s recent taxes. Off the bat, however, it’s easy to think of three ways he could benefit.

1. The Republican tax plan would repeal the estate tax. Trump says he is worth many billions of dollars. He would also like to leave some of those billions to his family. He even talked about it with Howard Stern! With the estate tax gone, he will be able to bequeath more to Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric, and Barron (and maybe Tiffany, if he’s feeling generous).

2. The Republican tax plan would create a special 25 percent tax rate for pass-through businesses whose owners currently pay taxes on their profits at the normal income tax rate. The Trump Organization, which our president still owns, is a pass-through. Presumably, this could save him some dough.

3. The Republican tax plan eliminates the alternative minimum tax. Merits of this policy aside, the AMT cost Trump $31 million in 2005, according to his mysteriously leaked tax return from that year. Has he paid it since? Maybe!

Perhaps there are other aspects of the GOP plan that could disadvantage Trump. But he and his children almost certainly stand to benefit from parts of it. Maybe it’d be easier to believe him if he released his taxes.