Third Party & Independents Archives

Can Trump Be Transactional on Tax Reform?

The question of what President Trump would do in the wake of Judge Moore’s primary win over Luther Strange in Alabama has been answered, in part at least. He’ll not only go after GOP establishment members of Congress. He’ll also go after Democrats. Especially when he believes he has a wedge issue at hand which he believes can be used against members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.

Tax reform for example.


Polling has recently shown that there is broad support for lowering middle class and even corporate tax rates from their current levels. That broad support is bipartisan, with a plurality - if not a majority - of Democrat voters siding with tax reform. So in Indiana on Wednesday, the president sketched a broad outline of middle class and corporate tax cuts and a doubling of the basic deduction from 12,000 to 24,000. And he threatened Indiana Senator Joe Donnely with campaigning against him should he not come aboard and support the proposals. Donnely is a Democrat of course.
The president also said this:

"I truly believe that enough Democrats want to support our plan, and with enough encouragement from the American people, they will do what they know is right for our country."

How clumsy and direct, huh? What is wrong with Trump? Doesn't he know that you have to spend 9 figure sums like Jeb Bush did? How can he expect to directly persuade voters on an issue like tax reform with threats like that? Compared to an expert on persuasion like Karl Rove with his hand-drawn charts held up to the camera? If you just tell voters that there are jobs (like the ones they have or had) that they really don't want to have, and that instead illegals should have, all you need is a magic marker and a hand-held bit of whiteboard, right?

So. We know that Rove spent millions and millions and it was a disaster for Jeb Bush. But we can say more than that. A recent study has shown that voters don't respond much to either canvassing or political ads. Joshua Kalla of Berkeley and David Broockman of Stanford have authored a new study that claims voters cannot be persuaded by what were once seen as vital tools for any campaign. Ones that people like Karl Rove were once masters at manipulating.

Did Kalla and Broockman give Trump an advance copy of their report? Or are they chasing the political reality that Trump had already tuned into over the last few years? One that means that the art of persuasion is obsolete and what seems to be replacing it seems to be either partisan base pandering or elite smashing. But this is hardly new in politics. The loss of persuasion has been lamented for decades.

Maybe the new political reality is ruthlessly transactional. Where you don't build coalitions or cultivate bipartisan support. Rather, you offer a deal that is just good enough to bring on just enough votes in Congress and not lose too many votes, to get it done.

And the answer to that is: nice if you could ever get it done Mr. President. So far you haven't been able to, and yes Congress has a fair share of the blame for that, but so do you.

But the other answer is that in a political climate so divided and angry, transactional one-off deal making may be the only way to get anything passed. Even if this president, or this Congress, is unable to get tax reform or any other significant legislation passed this year. The next Congress or the next president will have to be ruthlessly (not provocatively; they're not the same) transactional. And maybe, and only maybe, legislation can start to get passed. That too might have been part of the message of Moore's run-off win in Alabama.

Posted by AllardK at September 29, 2017 1:42 PM
Comments
Comment #420249

Some people, including one of the POS’s business partners, are opposed to one of the tax proposals: https://defendestatetax.com/

The estate tax was introduced a century ago when economic inequality had reached such historic levels that it was considered a threat to national stability. We suffer the same level of imbalance today, making preservation of the estate tax a top priority for patriotic Americans…By repealing the estate tax, dozens of members of the House and Senate will transfer to their own heirs millions of dollars that currently belong to the American people…The “death” tax is more accurately understood as a DYNASTY TAX as it was specifically designed to prevent the rise of a permanent aristocracy.
Posted by: ohrealy at September 29, 2017 2:12 PM
Comment #420250

The national debt is $20 trillion and the annual deficit is $700 billion. The latest quarterly GDP was 3.1%. The economy is healthy (thanks, Obama). Isn’t this the time when we should be raising taxes?

Posted by: phx8 at September 29, 2017 2:26 PM
Comment #420255

I’d start with a 100% inheritance tax for everyone who has every served or worked in the US Congress, Executive Branch, and Supreme Court, or registered as a lobbyist anywhere in the US, or contributed more than $1000 to a political campaign. It’s one way of getting back what they steal.

Johnson left office with a balanced budget, which Nixon immediately stopped. Carter left office with a balanced budget which Reagan immediately unbalanced, and Clinton left office with a surplus, which W turned into a huge deficit. The right wing believes in deficit spending, so they can whine about how terribly irresponsible the government is, and prevent spending on things we actually need. Yes, they are irresponsible. They need to give those speeches into a mirror.

Posted by: ohrealy at September 29, 2017 5:25 PM
Comment #421126

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Posted by: anra at October 29, 2017 2:47 PM
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