Donald Trump’s method of governing as president is at least consistent with his method of campaigning: Promise everything, but don’t worry about details or, for that matter, reality.
His tax cutting proposal would slash individual rates and the corporate rate, the latter to 15 percent at the top, a drop from 35 percent. Individual rates would be set at 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. Now, the top rate is 39.6 percent. He’d also double the standard deduction.
Ah, but the details. The White House has few specifics about how the cuts will be covered, though it’s expected the federal deficit might grow by several trillion dollars. That seems to be of little concern to Trump. In his own world, after all, he had four or six bankruptcies, depending upon who is doing the figuring.
The likelihood, of course, is that Trump’s tax plan will go the way of his border wall and his health care reform. It’ll have a bombastic rollout, but will fall by the wayside when reality strikes.
Republicans in Congress — they can’t really be called Trump’s “fellow Republicans” — aren’t fond of growing deficit numbers, not after years of criticizing Democrats for excessive spending, and they recognize the economic risks in huge tax cuts for the sake of ... huge tax cuts. In the end, they have the power, and they aren’t going to let Trump drive the country off an economic cliff. Unfortunately, they also aren’t like to craft budgets that answer human services needs or fund health care or infrastructure improvements or be more fair to the middle class while asking the wealthy to do more.
The country does need tax reform, but not the wild, unrealistic kind Trump is proposing. Middle-class Americans, who bear the brunt of the tax burden over the long term, deserve and need some tax breaks, and those in the highest bracket need dramatic reform of the kind they won’t like — higher taxes, fewer deductions and tricks written into the system. Warren Buffet, the “oracle of Omaha,” has long advocated higher taxes for the wealthy, but he doesn’t have a lot of other billionaires and megamillionaires crowding the elevator to join him in that kind of announcement.
With his disappointing tax plan, Donald Trump underlines again, painfully so for average Americans, the fact that he’s completely out of touch with the needs of middle America when it comes to the really important, serious aspects of governing. He’ll doubtless take to the road, holding more of those campaign-style rallies he so enjoys, and perhaps he’ll draw his “base” of disgruntled, angry voters to him for another round.
But his ineptitude is showing more and more, and his broken promises are piling up. So are the videotapes of the ridiculous promise-them-everything speeches from the campaign. At this point, the promises are running far, far behind what he has delivered. And eventually, President Trump is going to find those rally halls much, much quieter.