President Trump traveled to Springfield, MO to announce a tax overhaul, which reminded columnist Joe Nocera of another large reformation push: repealing and placing Obamacare.
Just as before, Trump was exceedingly light on details and prefers to let Congress handle all of the details of the potential legislation. The President also continued his long trend of extravagant promises that range from unlikely to implausible. Promises such as increased wages for the American worker if companies, who already achieve record profits, receive a tax cut from the current 35% to 15%.
There difference this time is that the majority Republican congress knows they’ll have to create and push for the tax bill not only without Trump’s help but while he’s insulting them on Twitter. Unlike the failed plan to repeal the popular Affordable Care Act, Republicans are united in most tax goals. They typically want large tax cuts for the rich, lower corporate taxes and closing overseas tax evasion loopholes.
Nocera makes the prediction that there will be no tax reform, as the Republican majority congress and the President have not seemed to learn from any of the prior mistakes.
The largest of which is the President’s inability to avoid taking credit for the work of a congress he has had no involvement in. He’ll try to call meetings and twist arms, or insult legislators over Twitter. Not only will this scare off his allies, but it will embolden his enemies.
Demanding the impossible and promising populist bait before switching to corporate greed is typical of this administration. All of this is assuming that President Trump only continues with the expected, not if he does something unusual like his statements in support of white nationalists during the Charlottesville protests.
In the end, the only piece of tax reform that both sides of the aisle can agree on is the repatriation of taxes on overseas corporate profits. Too many companies are able to avoid large taxes by setting up an office overseas and claiming it’s a headquarters, among other loopholes.
In theory, it could be a celebrated piece of tax legislation that Trump could champion as a success for years. However, it’s unlikely he won’t aim for the bigger fish in the sea and fail in the process.