The cognitive dissonance within the Republican Party that Trump and his allies must resolve is evident in the tax bill. It’s a hash of rate reductions and elimination of deductions that does not advance any clearly articulated principle other than the belated recognition by congressional Republicans that they must accomplish something or risk voters’ wrath.
It would have been better for Republicans to make sure that the working and middle classes directly experienced the benefits of tax reform. In addition to rate reductions for high-income earners, Republicans could include tax credits for hiring U.S. citizens and for tuition, and exemption of some income from the payroll tax. Each would provide more tangible benefit than a small rate reduction.
Still, elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate fulfills a promise and hands the president an important political victory. It’s about time, because the base, which overwhelmingly backed Trump, is impatient with the infuriating combination of insouciance and threadbare slogans offered by Republican elites.