The Republican tax-cut plan is designed to reduce the tax burden for the very rich, and, since this is a highly unpopular thing to do, Republicans are going to spend a lot of time lying about it. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was dispatched to do the round of morning shows, and his first attempt at lying did not go especially well. Good Washington liars know lots of ways to lie, especially about tax cuts, which are easy to obscure in jargon. Mnuchin has learned only one way: the “about” construction. When pressed with the fact that Trump’s plan would result in large tax reductions for rich people in general, and Donald Trump in particular, Mnuchin simply insisted, over and over, that the plan was not “about” that. It was “about” wonderful things like jobs and reducing deductions and economic growth and our hard-pressed middle class.
Here, for instance, is Mnuchin batting away some questions about the huge tax cuts rich people would get from the plan:
The “about” evasion is a phrase people use to change the subject without denying the charge. (“This isn’t about me getting caught cheating on you, it’s about …”) Mnuchin, having no other good lying methods at hand, used the “about” construction 10 times in his interview on This Morning, 11 times on the Today show, and a staggering 22 times on Good Morning America.
So right now, the official Trump line is that Trump’s tax cut is not about the thing that it in fact would do.