Over at The Washington Post on Friday, Kathleen Parker published a simpleminded, Pollyannaish column titled "Calm Down. We'll Be Fine No Matter Who Wins." Among other things, she told us this:
If Trump wins, he’ll be held more or less in check by the House and Senate because that’s the way our system of government is set up. Not even Republicans are eager to follow Trump’s lead.
This morning, on NPR, conservative economist Peter Morici said something similar:
Trump is going to govern within the context, if he were elected, of a Republican Congress, and he's going to have to reach compromises with his opposition, which is going to be Ryan, not Pelosi. And in that context, we're not going to have these trillion-dollar tax cuts.
How on earth does this idea persist? Why do supposedly intelligent people believe that Donald Trump and congressional Republicans would be at odds if Trump were to win?
On the question of the tax plans,Bloomberg's Paula Dwyer wrote this: in June:
Paul Ryan's Tax Blueprint Looks a Lot Like Trump's
...They would both repeal Obamacare, gut the Dodd-Frank financial reforms and block climate-change regulations....
Both would reduce individual taxes.... Ryan would increase the standard deduction and eliminate the alternative minimum tax. So would Trump. Ryan would repeal estate and gift taxes. So would Trump.
Ryan would also end deductions for state and local taxes, which tend to benefit homeowners more in blue states than red. Trump would do the same....
Both would also lower taxes on investment income....
And both he and Ryan would reduce business taxes.... Both would allow corporations, which collectively have $2.4 trillion in untaxed profits stashed in overseas accounts, to pay less tax on those earnings.... Both would deem such earnings as repatriated and apply the tax, even if the earnings stayed offshore.
That was before Trump released a revised version of his budget plan. According to analysts at the liberal organization Citizens for Tax Justice, Ryan's plan would blow a $4 trillion hole in the federal budget over ten years; Trump's plan would cost $4.8 trillion. Trump's plan would give 44% of its tax cuts to the top 1%; Ryan's would give that group 60%. They're really not that far apart.
And as Jonathan Chait wrote recently:
... on the vast majority of issues, Trump has aligned himself with standard conservative dogma. The Wall Street Journal editorial page probably got it right when it reasoned that “precisely because [Trump] is such a tabula rasa, he would be more dependent than any other President on Congress.” In September, Trump appointed a former lobbyist and aide to Vice-President Dick Cheney to his transition team, which would staff his administration, and the Heritage Foundation has taken an active role in supplying ideas and candidates for his prospective administration. As Ryan gushed after Trump’s first debate, “I see emerging in front of us the potential for what a unified Republican government can get you.” ...
President Trump’s domestic policy, in other words, would look a lot like President Cruz’s. Or President Ryan’s.
Chait notes the general agreement between Trump and congressional Republicans on budgeting, then adds:
Trump has promised to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a decision that would cause the treaty to unravel, and has appointed as the leader of his Environmental Protection Agency transition team Myron Ebell, a climate-science skeptic who has called the Paris agreement “unconstitutional.” Ryan has called it “disastrous for the American economy” and claimed it was entered “unlawfully.” His plan would repeal all climate-change regulations related to global warming. Trump and Ryan would also both repeal Obama’s health-care reforms and regulations on Wall Street....
Nothing Trump has done or said constitutes apostasy against a core tenet of conservative doctrine. He has not advocated tax increases, or defended Obamacare or Wall Street regulations such as Dodd-Frank.
It is the tantalizing prospect of crippling the welfare state that has lured Republicans into endorsing [Trump].... They are willing to give Trump control of the military, the Department of Justice, and the domestic-security apparatus as long as Ryan controls the legislative agenda.
As I've said several times, I think Trump will eventually be rehabilitated by the political establishment, or at least by the media and cultural establishments. But even if he remains a pariah in the Beltway, I think memories of the support given to him by Ryan and Company are going to go very fuzzy. We'll be told that Ryan and the rest of the party were always completely at odds with Trump. That will be a falsehood, but you'll never get the political insiders to admit the truth.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog