Law and Justice isn’t alone. Other far-right European parties have also expanded—or promised to expand—the welfare state. Hungary’s Viktor Orbán has established what The Economist calls “New Deal–style public-works programmes.” Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom has slammed the Dutch government for cutting spending on health care. Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant National Rally has criticized the free-market reforms of French President Emmanuel Macron while demanding higher welfare payments and a lower retirement age. Even Boris Johnson has irked corporate leaders in Britain by proposing to boost the minimum wage and spend more on the National Health Service.
Trump hasn’t done any such thing. Other than on trade, he’s utterly abandoned the economic populism that he touted during the 2016 campaign. As a candidate, he vowed not to reduce Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. In office, he endorsed a push to turn Medicaid into a block grant, thus leaving it vulnerable to dramatic cuts. On the campaign trail, he pledged to end the carried-interest deduction that benefits the private-equity and hedge-fund industries and promised not to cut taxes for the rich. As president, though, he signed a tax cut whose benefits go mostly to the wealthiest and offered little support when Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee pushed for a child tax credit vaguely reminiscent of what Poland offers. Candidate Trump suggested raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour and instituting a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. In office, he has backed off both.