by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The conservative magazine National Review served as a scathing critic of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Now NR editor Rich Lowry writes that President Trump deserves “credit where it’s due.”
As the year ends, President Donald Trump is compiling a solid record of accomplishment. Much of it is unilateral, dependent on extensive executive actions rolling back President Barack Obama’s regulations, impressive judicial appointments, and the successful fight against ISIS overseas. The tax bill is the significant legislative achievement that heretofore had been missing.
For much of the year, Trump’s presidency had seemed to be sound and fury signifying not much besides the welcome ascension of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court; now, it is sound and fury signifying a discernible shift of American government to the right. It’s hard to see how a conventional Republican president would have done much better, except if he had managed to get Obamacare repealed, which was always going to be a dicey proposition given the narrow Republican majority in the Senate.
The tax cut is big — $1.5 trillion over ten years, and even more if you account for the budgetary gimmicks — and has changes that conservative economists have sought for decades, particularly the lower corporate rate (from 35 to 21 percent), the move to a territorial tax system (companies would only be taxed on their earnings in the U.S.), and the business expensing (companies can write off the full cost of new buildings and equipment). These reforms are arguably as significant on the corporate side as the Reagan reforms of 1981 were on the individual side. They stand a good chance to be enduring, too — it’s unlikely we are ever going back up to a 35 percent corporate rate or returning to a worldwide tax system.