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Mnuchin admits parts of tax reform will not be permanent

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Mnuchin admits parts of tax reform will not be permanent

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged during a speech to financial analysts in Washington that some provisions of the administration's proposed tax reform package will not be permanent.

"Well, there's aspects of the package that absolutely have to be permanent," Mnuchin told attendees of the Institute of International Finance's annual membership meeting in Washington on Oct. 13. "When you go from a worldwide system to a territorial system, you can't tell people 10 years from now you can go back to worldwide."

But he noted that the administration's plans for expensing include a five-year sunset, creating a mix of permanent and temporary provisions in the plan.

Mnuchin also pushed the administration's goal of repealing the estate tax by calling it "fundamentally unfair" though he did concede its repeal would help the affluent.

"It's a philosophical issue. It's an economic issue," he said. "Obviously, the estate tax, I will concede, disproportionately helps rich people."

Mnuchin also argued that the administration is pursuing an even-handed approach to financial regulation.

"I think it's proper regulation. I think we're trying to get the right balance," Mnuchin said when asked if removing AIG from the government's list of systemically important financial institutions was a signal of deregulation, harkening back to his experience as head of OneWest bank. "In many cases, there is either too much regulation or too much regulatory overlap."

Mnuchin also reiterated his support for reforming housing financing, without limiting that work to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but also working with the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The treasury secretary declined to comment on the possible selection of a replacement for Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chair. "I'm honored to be participating with the president in his decision-making process," Mnuchin said. "It's one of the most important decisions he will make. We're going through this process very carefully. He's looking at a lot of people, he's taking in a lot of input and, obviously, it's a confidential process."