Matthew Yglesias (vox.com) and Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line) are sharp guys and I rarely find myself in disagreement with them. But our views of Donald Trump's new tax plan puts me somewhat at odds with them.
Recall that I proposed that Trump had a 2-part strategy. On my account, he directs his public bluster and B. S. at the GOP rank and file red-meat crowd. But he uses his policy statements to establish his creds with the Republican establishment. Yglesias and Sargent see only a part of this.
From the Vox.com article on Trump's tax plan by Yglesias.
The clearest indication that Trump utterly failed to deliver the breath of fresh air the world was waiting for comes from the Club for Growth's own Stephen Moore, who told journalist Jim Tankersley that he was pleased as punch with Trump's ideas.
"Who would have known Donald Trump was a supply sider?" Steve Moore tells me. "It’s a solid plan. It’s very pro-growth. It's Reaganesque."
— Jim Tankersley (@jimtankersley) September 28, 2015
Actually its a cobbled-together copy-cat plan likely to create a huge deficit, but read on.
It's not entirely clear why Trump took this particular turn. Even the GOP rank and file doesn't share the donor class's obsession with cutting taxes on the rich, and Trump is a very rich man who isn't relying on donors to fuel his campaign.
See? The establishment types love it.
From the Plum Line article by Sargent.
Not long ago, Donald Trump claimed that his rivals would allow "Wall Street" and the "hedge fund guys" to continue to "rip off the people by paying no or very little in taxes." The implication was that Trump would raise the tax burden on top earners, which he seemed to underscore at the most recent GOP debate, when he ridiculed an opponent’s suggestion that raising taxes on the wealthy would constitute "socialism," adding: "I know people that are making a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no tax, and I think it’s unfair."
Today, Trump finally rolled out his tax plan. According to a leading tax expert I spoke to today, it would probably result in a tax cut, possibly a very large one, for many of the highest earners.
You’re probably very surprised by this.
Not really. Sargent's title tells us that Trump played us for suckers. But, it's part of his 2-part strategy. He tells one story to the masses and another to the entrenched leaders.
Now, I am an experimental psychologist by training so I am a data guy. If any of you reading this can provide observations grounded in fact that would prove me wrong, go for it. Just let me know.