Trump is off to a good start

Nothing less than the specter of the end of American confidence in ever-brightening prospects, and the thought of a nation in durable decline — something the great nations of Europe and Asia have faced but the United States has not, a repulsive and horrifying assault on the whole American ethos and mythos — impends if Trump does not get a serious tax and health-care reform through. He has courted the Congress, even many of the Democrats, very assiduously lately, and no one in Washington can fail to see the need for comprehensive action. In most matters, the whole system has been gridlocked since Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich put through welfare reform in 1996, and President Clinton, with some reluctance, signed it.

In all of the circumstances, the president’s followers and the country will give him time, but everyone, down to the least politically connected and sophisticated unskilled worker, knows that in some way, the economy has to start growing again; things have to get better and the terrible tension of tens of millions of families being on a financial knife-edge must end positively. Some revenue enhancement will have to be added, even if it is provisional on failure to reduce the deficit over a significant period. (Depending on how the legislation is written, this can be up to ten years.)

This is a make-or-break moment, not just for the administration and the long-dysfunctional system, but for the American people and nation. Everyone will have to look beyond the foibles of the president and the shambles of partisan discourse and unseemly maneuver. It must happen in the next year.

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