Thursday, September 28, 2017

When Trump does not get what he wants...?

Yesterday Trump discussed the tax plan that will be proposed by his administration.  Simplification is definitely a positive aspect and the long outdated elimination of the AMT is welcome(that mainly affects the upper middle class and definitely not the 1% according to my understanding but reports today suggest that it affects the very wealthy as well. I do not understand that and think that the reporting is incorrect) The specifics of what will benefit the middle class are few, while some specifics of what will massively benefit the 1% are, such as complete elimination of the estate tax.

Some aspects are obviously political.  Elimination of the deductions for state and local taxes will significantly raise taxes for many in states like New York and California and in large cities around the country in high tax states.  These are areas that are not part of Trump's base and it is unlikely that they ever will be.  This will offset some of Trump's proposed cuts, but the specificity is clear.

What should also be clear is that tax reform is a highly complex process.  Trump's comments yesterday made it seem like there will be a bipartisan package agreed upon soon.  That possibility is remote, even among the Republican caucus.  It would be shocking if this could be a 2017 event, almost impossible.  Unless Trump decides to come up with an infrastructure package that would be  likely to gain bipartisan support more quickly, he will end 2017 with no major accomplishments.

While government functionaries are making many changes that are consistent with a new administration, like them or not, there is no immediate buy-in to major Trump initiatives in Congress.  An example is the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations approving a $51 billion budget for the Department of State rather that the $37 billion the Trump forces had requested.  Trump's proposal had dramatic cuts in necessary components of U.S. foreign policy activities that would have been harmful, even dangerous in some cases.  It is reassuring to see instances like this where the Trump cabal is thwarted.  Obviously Trump has little idea of the impact of some of the proposals that are put before him.

This week we saw Trump campaign for a Senate candidate in an Alabama Republican primary who lost to an even more right wing evangelical that will be a challenge to any moderation that McConnell and Ryan want to project.

Where is this post going?  When do we get to the point where Trump's frustration leads to an action meant to divert attention and force the country to stand behind him?  That's an old trick used around the world by unpopular leaders.  That makes Trump's fascination with North Korea and Iran more troublesome.  At least that's a concern here.


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