As unveilings go, Jeb Bush offered more Velvet Elvis than Mona Lisa. The lagging presidential candidate once seen as a probable frontrunner limped into Garner to announce his much-ballyhooed economic plan. His staff, frustrated by the bombast and staying power of Donald Trump, chose a Garner manufacturing facility, Morris & Associates, an industrial equipment maker, as the scene for what had been billed as an important announcement.
But despite landing an op-ed piece in the reliably conservative Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that also announced his plan, Bush seemed to get little attention nationally. Trump was busy taking all the oxygen out of the Republican room by criticizing the looks of business executive Carly Fiorina, who’s also seeking the GOP nomination.
Bush’s plan? It sounds a lot like what his father called “voodoo economics” – big tax cuts that magically pay for themselves by spurring rapid economic growth. Workers feeling the pain of wage stagnation and young people burdened by college loan debt are unlikely to rally behind a plan that repeats the trickle-down approach that hasn’t worked since Ronald Reagan pushed it and George H.W. Bush scoffed at it.
Nonetheless, Jeb Bush says he would cut corporate taxes from 35 percent to 20 percent, not tax U.S. businesses abroad, simplify the tax code overall and lower the top income tax rate. In other words, he’d follow the standard Republican game plan of cutting taxes on business and the wealthy and leave the middle class with a boot on its neck. Yawn.
He made the usual comments about how he’d let “hard-working Americans” keep more money and ease the world’s highest corporate tax rate. Yawn.
This is the best Bush has? He’s up against it in a rough primary with 15 or 16 people in it and to separate himself from the pack he offers a plan from 1980? Yawn.
This is, after all, a campaign for the presidency of the United States, and Bush’s opponents aren’t exactly political powerhouses with any connections approaching his. Yet he and other Republicans continue to focus on bashing Hillary Clinton and the Affordable Care Act and to present virtually no fresh ideas of their own.
Meanwhile, Trump is entertaining the nation by playing Whack-a-Mole with his opponents, smacking their ideas whenever they offer one. But Bush’s economic plan is so predictable Trump probably won’t even bother knocking it down. He’s yawning, too.