Steven Mnuchin defends President Trump's tax-cut plan

President Trump says his tax plan is going to put people back to work, but some important details were missing from the one-page blueprint that calls for big corporate and personal tax cuts. 

The Trump blueprint would slash tax rates and eliminate some deductions. It doubles the standard deduction that most taxpayers take. It would also eliminate taxes that are overwhelmingly paid by high-income Americans. The president's treasury secretary and economic adviser say the tax cuts will pay for themselves by growing the economy, but other analysts say they'll explode the national debt.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss the tax plan. 


Norah O'Donnell: Steven Mnuchin is with us from the Treasury Department. Good morning, Mr. Secretary.

Steven Mnuchin: Good morning, it's great to be here with you. Thank you.

O'Donnell: Great to have you here. As you mentioned this would be historic tax cuts. Estimated to cost the American taxpayer $7 trillion over a decade. So when will you tell us how you will pay for it?

Mnuchin: Well, let me first say this is about the most sweeping, biggest tax cuts and sweeping tax reform in history. And the president is focused on creating economic growth. This is all about economic growth and American jobs. And that's is what the president is committed to. In regards to the pay for, I don't know how people can estimate the cost since we don't haven't released all the details, but this is going to be paid for by economic growth and by a reduction of many, many deductions in special interest.

Gayle King: Why put it out now, Mr. Secretary, without all the details?

Mnuchin: I think the American public wanted to hear about it. And this is something we have been talking about since the campaign.

Charlie Rose: Mr. Secretary, the question is, what kind of economic growth do you have to have in order to pay for the tax cuts, the massive tax cuts you're recommending?

Mnuchin: Well, we feel confident that we can get to at least 3 percent economic growth on a sustained basis.

Rose: When?  

Mnuchin: And that's something we've said and that's something that we're confident with. The American economy has been held back and this is about unleashing economic growth. It's a combination of the tax plan, it's a combination of regulatory relief, and it's a combination of our trade principles. And those three are what are going to create economic growth that's been held back in this country.

Rose: The Republican party is famous for being against debt and deficits. The president less so, what impact is it going to have on deficits over a 10-year period?

Mnuchin: Well, again Charlie, I think the president is very concerned that the debt has grown from 10 to 20 trillion dollars under the last administration and that's something we are very conscious of. And as we go through the details of the plan we'll be comfortable that we can pay for most of the plan. And that's something we will be looking at when we report the 10 year numbers.

Rose: So what are you going to do about American corporations that have a lot of cash or not cash so much, but a lot of earnings stowed away in places around the world and not bringing it back because of taxes.

Mnuchin: Well, Charlie, it's not a surprise that people have left trillions of dollars off shore given the complexly of our system and the way it works. And we've spoken to hundreds of business executives, we're going to have a one-time tax for repatriation and we expect we will get trillions of dollars back on shore. And that will be invested in American capital and American jobs and that's is what this is all about.

King: You say it will create more jobs. How so?

Mnuchin: This is about creating jobs because many surveys show that 70 percent or more of the tax burden is borne by the American worker. And this is about putting money back in the American worker's pocket. And this is about investing more money in plants and equipment to build American plants and create American jobs.

Rose: Mr. Secretary, as you know, a lot of the reports and a lot of the reporting on this says this is a lot of tax cuts for the rich. And if that is portrayed as such, you'll have a tough time in Congress.  

Mnuchin: Well Charlie, as I've said before, the president's objective is about tax simplification. And we will be lowering the rate on the high end in return for eliminating almost all deductions. We're committed to keeping charitable deductions and mortgage interest but everything else is on the table and this is about tax simplification. It's also about creating economic growth and having people invest.

O'Donnell: And you have the Republicans in Congress on board?

Mnuchin: We do. We have had lots of discussions with the leadership and the House and Senate. We've been meeting weekly. I think the good news is conceptually we all agree of on the plan and we're committed to work out the details together.

O'Donnell: Secretary Mnuchin, good to have you this morning. Thank you so much.

Mnuchin: Thank you very much, pleasure.