The Corner

The SOTU Tax Plan Is Bad

There were policies in the president’s State of the Union address that I liked: We should lead on Ebola and on pandemics, we should invest more (and more responsibly) in infrastructure, we should expand research, we should expand the space program.

More specifically, there were tax proposals I like: We should expand the earned income tax credit (EITC) for childless workers.

But on balance, the president’s SOTU tax plan is quite bad, as I write in my reaction column, out this morning.

The worst part of the plan is what’s missing from it. For months and months Washington’s corridors —- powerful and not —- have been buzzing with talk of real corporate tax reform. This was one of the three things —- along with trade authority and infrastructure — that the president and Congress could get done. We have been told over and over again that the president will work with congressional Republicans.

And…nothing. All sound and fury.

The plan is bad economics. And the political message is clear: The president is not interested in working with Republicans on taxes. His definition of compromise — I will work with Republicans when they agree with me and will not when they don’t — has always been lacking. But the absence of a corporate rate reduction and the presence of capital income rate increases suggests that even under his own definition the president isn’t interested in compromise.

You can read my entire SOTU-reaction column here.

Michael R. Strain — Michael R. Strain is the director of economic-policy studies and the Arthur F. Burns Scholar in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute.  

Most Popular

Trump vs. Biden: A Rundown

One week out, the contrasts are worth assessing. Foreign policy Biden so far has issued no substantive critique of Trump’s foreign policy other than banalities that Trump’s comportment and unpredictability have offended allies and tarnished America’s reputation. But who exactly, according to Biden, is ... Read More

Trump vs. Biden: A Rundown

One week out, the contrasts are worth assessing. Foreign policy Biden so far has issued no substantive critique of Trump’s foreign policy other than banalities that Trump’s comportment and unpredictability have offended allies and tarnished America’s reputation. But who exactly, according to Biden, is ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Some Counterfactual Thinking

Election Day is one week away. Can you believe it? On the menu today: contemplating what would be different, and what would be the same, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had retired in 2013 instead of staying on the Court until her death earlier this year; a couple of flubbed words on the campaign trail; yes, people really ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Some Counterfactual Thinking

Election Day is one week away. Can you believe it? On the menu today: contemplating what would be different, and what would be the same, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had retired in 2013 instead of staying on the Court until her death earlier this year; a couple of flubbed words on the campaign trail; yes, people really ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Whose Seat?

Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. And I think there are two little things to say about it. The first is that we very likely have in Barrett the true successor to Antonin Scalia on the Court. Barrett clerked for Scalia and her articulation of his philosophy is probably the most faithful on the court. Justices ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Whose Seat?

Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. And I think there are two little things to say about it. The first is that we very likely have in Barrett the true successor to Antonin Scalia on the Court. Barrett clerked for Scalia and her articulation of his philosophy is probably the most faithful on the court. Justices ... Read More