r960-4fa001932c5304602930efbfba1fd440.jpg


Even after the most successful speech of President Trump’s political career, which reassured nervous Republicans who weren’t sure what to expect, unanswered questions about how he plans to govern remain.

First, let’s focus on the questions Trump did answer. Many asked whether Trump, who prefers the discursive and improvisational speaking style he uses during his rallies, could rise to the occasion in the dignified setting of joint session of Congress.

Even if Trump could stick to the teleprompter on his own, could he hold firm and not veer off-script if the Democrats heckled him?

The answer to both of those questions was clearly yes.

The most important substantive question Trump answered was whether he was preparing to set up his strongest supporters for disappointment on immigration. Yet again, it was rumored Trump was open to a “compromise” that might include legal status for illegal immigrants already in the United States, better known as amnesty to many of the president’s voters.

On that, Trump answered with a resounding no. The immigration reforms he outlined were the exact opposite of McCain-Kennedy or the Gang of Eight. His approach is more consistent with that taken by immigration restrictionists who regarded the aforementioned bipartisan bills as amnesty.

Elsewhere, question marks remained.

Does Trump want refundable tax credits in the Obamacare replacement plan? Some observers think the answer is yes. After all, Trump said he wanted to expand access to health insurance through the “use of tax credits.” A refundable credit, preferred by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump’s new Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, would function more like a subsidy, because it could reduce an individual’s tax liability to less than zero.

Others point out that the House Freedom Caucus proposal contains a $5,000 tax credit to help fund expanded health savings accounts, even if it relies on tax deductions rather than refundable credits to facilitate the purchase of insurance. In this telling, there is no daylight between Trump and the most conservative lawmakers.

Lindsey Graham: Sessions should recuse himself from Trump-Russia investigation

Also from the Washington Examiner

Graham said there should be a special prosecutor if there is any evidence of something criminal.

03/02/17 12:01 AM

So which is it?

Does Trump support “border adjustment?” This is a component of the House Republican tax reform plan that would tax corporate income based on where it was earned not where the product was originally made. This would in effect tax imports rather than exports.

Here again, some look at Trump’s comments and say the answer is yes, especially his reference to the high taxes Harley Davidson pays abroad. But there is little in the president’s remarks that clarifies that he isn’t talking about using tariffs or other mechanisms to open foreign markets to American good or punish companies that relocate jobs overseas.

The president described “making it easier for companies to do business in the United States, and much harder for companies to leave.” No variation of the phrase “border adjustment” appears in the speech and Trump has previously said the concept was “too complicated.”

How does Trump plan to pay for his new spending? It has become standard operating procedure for Republican president to cut taxes, increase defense spending and then allow entitlements to continue to grow on auto pilot. But as the president noted in his speech, during the last eight years, the national debt grew more than under all the other presidents combined. The numbers are getting more difficult to add up.

Democrats are banking on Trump's failure

Also from the Washington Examiner

Preliminary polls taken after Trump’s address show viewers mostly hailed it as a winner.

03/02/17 12:01 AM

Trump has nevertheless fallen into the familiar pattern. He wants to increase defense spending, rolling back part of the sequester, which was the GOP’s biggest victory on spending during President Obama’s two terms. He wants a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. He favors additional education spending. Yet he is swearing off entitlement reform and most major spending cuts.

Within a decade, mandatory spending, defense and the interest on the national debt will combine for nearly 90 percent of federal spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Cutting waste, fraud and abuse won’t suffice.

How will Trump actually create all those jobs? Trump made a lot of promises about jobs during his speech. We’re “going to bring back millions of jobs,” he said. The infrastructure plan will “create millions of new jobs.” The pipelines will create “tens of thousands of jobs.”

At least the pipelines are specific projects. Trump is generally vowing to create and save jobs through tax and regulatory reform, better trade deals, the infrastructure project and unleashing energy.

But we don’t know what the tax, regulatory or infrastructure plans will actually look like. Ditto the new trade deals. Trump is hinting he can answer the last two questions by goosing economic growth to 3 to 4 percent a year as opposed to the current anemic rate. That still raises the question of how.

None of this even gets into Russia or other questions some Americans have about the new administration.


Trump gave us the most serious look at how he actually plans to govern the country Tuesday night. There’s still a lot more to find out, however.



Source link

About the Author:

Leave a Reply