CEA Chairman Kevin Hassett talks Tax Reform:

IFE hosted an impeccably timed INFO Salon with Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Dr. Kevin Hassett and the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib at the residence of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Coopersmith. Attendees included several Ambassadors, Economic Ministers, business leaders, journalists and Presidential Innovation Fellows.

Chairman Hassett kicked off by saying he thinks the tax bill will pass within the week. He noted that tax reform has not taken place in 30 years. Mr. Seib, who led the conversation, dove right in and asked whether the new plan would save American families money. Hassett explained he thought the bill was pro-worker. Seib then asked about the negotiations process for the bill and Hassett replied, “At some point you have to just give the ball to Marshawn Lynch and let him run with it.” The lively discussion covered a range of issues, including whether or not CEOs would really invest corporate savings back into the economy. Referencing a famous moment when Gary Cohn asked CEOs to raise their hands if they would invest tax breaks back into the economy, Hassett noted studies done on CEOs revealing that some would re-invest tax breaks even if they had previously said they wouldn’t. Asked by Seib, “do deficits matter?” Hassett said “of course.”

During the Q & A portion of the evening, H.E. Hovhannissian, Ambassador of Armenia, asked how foreign nations would be affected by the tax bill. Hassett explained a number of specific policy items that would be changed, emphasizing that imports would increase. ZTE’s Angela Simpson asked Hassett about digital economy and how we can be sure we are measuring the right factors correctly. Hassett noted GDP is highly mismeasured and always has been, admitting that he is not sure measurement is more accurate than in prior years, due to the many free services of companies like Google.

After the panel, the salon opened out into the rest of Ambassador Coopersmith’s stunning residence. Guests were fascinated to see her collection of memorabilia from decades of presidents, Kings, artists and other world leaders. Over a sumptuous buffet dinner guests attendees marvelled at the art on display from original Monet’s to Raphael’s.

Contributed by IFE COO Kaivan Shroff

View event photos