The Corner

Trump’s Huge Retreat on Taxes

Don’t look now, but Donald Trump is quietly changing his mind on taxes.

Less than 24 hours after he officially became the Republican party’s nominee, Trump’s team revealed that their tax plan would be the subject of some “tweaks.” Specifically, Trump is looking to abandon seven trillion dollars in tax cuts, fully two thirds of the benefit to taxpayers that he had originally proposed. In scale, this is akin to Trump’s abandoning his promise of a wall with Mexico and proposing a little more funding for border security in its place.

Don’t get me wrong: the original plan was deeply flawed (see here, and here), whereas this new policy looks more like Paul Ryan’s, which is probably a good thing. But what does this say about Trump?

He lied to attract votesIn order to win against candidates of substance, Trump promised the impossible. And then, the day after he officially took power, he reverted to a shoddy substitute of what he campaigned against. Every voter who thought they were getting what Trump promised should be furious. Since the economy is the top concern of Trump voters this season, it’s not exactly a stretch to argue that his tax plan was a major factor in a lot of voting decisions.

He’s a hypocriteTrump has pointed out that Cruz didn’t honor his campaign pledge to support the Republican nominee. And yet, just hours before Cruz’s speech, Trump himself broke an arguably bigger promise. Trump’s supporters would be foolish to argue that one action deserves derision while the other does not.

He’s not an economic genius after allFor all of Trump’s supposed business acumen, when left to his own devices he put together a terrible plan. And now, when faced by reality, he is hastily co-opting the policies of better men — exactly as he’s done before.  At what point in Trump’s campaign does he show off his famed business skills? He has failed in fundraising, in campaign management, in trade policy, and now in tax policy. This confirms that one of his greatest “strengths” is in fact an unqualified weakness. 

Austin Rose is a student at Brown University and an intern at National Review.

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