Instead, with Trump’s enthusiastic blessing, they devised a bill that was more solicitous of their donors than their voters, and that only modestly addressed the central socioeconomic challenge of our time — the nexus of wage stagnation, family breakdown and falling birthrates, which will eventually undo conservatism if conservatives cannot take it as seriously as they do the animal spirits of the investor class.

What’s particularly frustrating is that it didn’t have to be this way. The bill’s basic architecture is compatible with better policy, and there is no great mystery about how it could have been improved: All it needed was to shrink the business tax cuts somewhat and push the extra money directly into the paychecks of the working class. But when a version of that improvement was attempted, when Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee tried to use a small portion of the bill’s corporate tax cut to pay for family tax cuts, the Republican leadership decided to make the corporate cut nonnegotiable, the Democrats decided it was better not to improve a bill that they oppose, and the senators themselves declined to be the Bad Guys of their caucus in a good cause and simply swallowed their defeat.