The Corner

Do Tax Plans Matter?

I don’t entirely agree with Grover Norquist’s post. One could have made a similar argument about George W. Bush’s tax plan in 2000: Republicans held Congress and were likely to be able to get any Republican president’s tax plan through, if perhaps in watered-down form. (Which is what happened, even in a 51-50 Republican Senate.) And there was a party-wide consensus that tax rates, and especially tax rates on investment income, should be reduced, a consensus formed in part because a Republican Congress had repeatedly passed legislation to that effect.

But Bush’s specific campaign plan still made a difference. He chose to include an expanded child tax credit and the reduction of the 15 percent tax rate part of his plan–Congress didn’t force either provision on him. But the Republican Congress wasn’t going to ignore the new president’s wishes, either, and it followed through on Bush’s proposals.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.