Is tax reform next on Congress’ agenda? Political observers scoff — tax reform’s hard, they note, harder than abolishing Obamacare. If the GOPs can’t do the former, how are they going to do the latter? Another defeat for Trump looms, etc.
I’m not so sure a new tax reform push is bad for Trump. Think of it in crude terms. “Comprehensive tax reform” means everybody on K St makes money. It’s comprehensive, after all — meaning it threatens every business in America with higher taxes or dangles in front of them the prospect of lower taxes. They all have to hire lobbyists to protect their positions. Clients all around! Tax reform is to Washington what pilot season is to Hollywood. (“Everybody works in pilot season.”)
Even better, the reform doesn’t have to actually pass to have these lucrative consequences. It just has to be
threatened considered. And it can be considered for a loooong time. Just by bringing it up. Trump ties up half of Paul Ryan’s aides, plus 70% of the lobbyists in Washington who’ll be sucking up to those aides, attending meetings on rates and alternative tax schedules, trying to neutralize all the lobbyists on the other side (but not too decisively, lest the battle end quickly). They’ll be too fat-and-happily occupied to make much trouble pushing another Gang of 8 amnesty (though they’ll try, of course).
And if they ever do threaten Trump’s core agenda on trade, infrastructure and immigration, he’ll have a terrifying new threat to hold over their heads, one that would leave them facing the grim prospect of losing the deposit on their Aston Martins — or putting their kids through college by actually practicing law. Just a tweet will do, actually:
“Democrats block our cuts, have turned “tax reform” into a trick to defund the military! I am therefore abandoning tax reform until my second term. Shame!”
Nice little protection racket you’ve got there. Too bad if something should happen to it. ….