President Donald Trump’s administration is pushing a plan that would require more Americans to prove they’re worth at least $1 million per year before their tax dollars are awarded.
The plan, unveiled Tuesday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and give the Treasury Department more authority to collect unemployment insurance benefits.
Trump’s plan would also allow states to use money from the Earned Income Tax Credit to pay for education programs.
“If you’ve been unemployed for a year, or if you’re in the lowest-wage bracket, you don’t get a break,” said David Catanese, a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
“But if you’ve made a couple of million bucks, you get a huge benefit.
We need to make sure that it’s not just that, but you get paid the same as the rest of us.”
Mnuchin’s plan to help low-wage workers is part of a larger effort by Mnuchin to try to attract business to the country by pushing for greater investment in infrastructure.
But it is the latest attempt by Trump to expand the number of people able to claim the Earnings Tax Credit, which currently provides about $5,500 to those who make less than $50,000 per year.
Trump has proposed doubling the tax credit to $15,000, a move that could cost the U.S. Treasury $2.5 trillion.
The Trump administration says that the tax break would boost the economy by helping millions of Americans who don’t have enough to pay their bills, and that the increase in the credit would spur investment in manufacturing and other sectors.
The administration has been pushing to increase the number, and the budget proposal does not specify a timeline for the increase.
A Treasury Department official told ABC News that the current amount of the tax benefit is the maximum amount that can be claimed by an individual earning less than that amount, and “we are working to make it a little bit larger” as well as to expand eligibility for unemployment benefits.
“We don’t think that it is a bad idea to increase this credit,” said the official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
“The question is when does the increase begin and how much?”
Asked how the increase could be financed, the official responded, “It’s going to be part of the overall tax reform package that the administration will unveil in the coming months.”
The proposal comes as Trump faces a tough battle to pass his tax plan in the Senate.
Democrats have vowed to block the plan if it reaches the floor, which could allow the administration to keep the tax credits for another six months or more.
The White House has already said it will work to push back against any attempts to roll back the tax changes, although that effort could take a back seat to the broader fight over tax reform.
The administration is not alone in trying to raise the minimum wages. “
It is a major giveaway to the very rich that will give them even more power to tax our hard-working taxpayers.”
The administration is not alone in trying to raise the minimum wages.
Last month, Mnuchin proposed a $5 minimum wage increase for Americans making $50 to $100,000 and for those making $100 million or more, though the proposal was not a priority in the House.
Mnuchin also proposed a tax break for small businesses, though he did not specify how the plan would be funded.
“You can have a job that’s hard work and a good paycheck, but it’s a paycheck you can’t keep,” Catanes said.
“And it’s really important for small business owners to be able to compete, and they need to be given the opportunity to compete.”