The libertarian populist future of the GOP

The Camp tax plan is far from perfect. For what appear to be purely scoring reasons, it lengthened the timeframe businesses must use to deduct capital expenditures when it should have shortened them, and it did nothing to lower the payroll tax burden on all working Americans either.

But the direction Republican party is heading is pretty clear, especially when the Camp plan is compared to Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) tax plan, which also eliminated many tax breaks for the rich. The GOP is moving in a populist direction. One that frowns upon using the tax code to, in the words of the CBO, “further societal goals by providing benefits to particular activities, entities, or groups of people.”

This is not the populism of the Democratic party. There will be no net tax hikes or higher spending. And Republicans will not return to the big government of Bush’s compassionate conservatism.

No, the future of the Republican party is a libertarian populism, where Americans have learned that by trying to do too much, and often advantaging the wealthy and politically connected when it does, the federal government has become a force for growing inequality and economic immobility.

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