President Donald Trump hosts a meeting with House and Senate leadership in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Washington. From left, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Get Ready: Trump, Republicans Preparing to Fail at Tax Reform Next

It’s somewhat amusing and somewhat infuriating to hear Trump apologists on the right complain about the lackluster Republican leadership in Congress as being responsible for the startling lack of any significant legislative accomplishment in the Trump administration to date. Because, if you will recall, the entire reason Republicans needed to support Trump over his more conservative primary rivals, we were told by these same apologists, was Trump’s uncanny ability to “close the deal.”

Whereas Cruz, Rubio, Walker, or even Carson, would “sell out to the swamp,” Trump would get the job done.

Border wall? Not a brick laid.

Obamacare? Still destroying people’s lives and livelihoods.

And next up on the disappointment tour appears to be the promise to simplify the tax code and reform the oppressive tax burden faced by citizens:

President Donald Trump is planning to kick off one of the most important sales pitches of his presidency this week — getting Americans fired up about rewriting the U.S. tax code.  But there’s no plan to sell.


Basic questions remain unanswered. Will the changes be permanent or temporary? How will individual tax brackets be set? What rate will corporations and small businesses pay? Instead of providing details that could help build support for a bill, the president will largely rely on the same talking points he and his advisers have highlighted since January.

Funny thing about getting a deal made – you have to propose a plan or there’s nothing to deal with. One of the most revealing exchanges during the whole primary election debate spectacles was when Senator Marco Rubio challenged Trump to expound upon his healthcare plans. He didn’t have any. He just promised that he would – and they would be spectacular.

As it turned out, he didn’t, and it was disastrous.

And it appears that we can expect more of the same as this tax “debate” unfolds:

“They’re nowhere. They’re just nowhere,” said Henrietta Treyz, a tax analyst with Veda Partners and former Senate tax staffer. “I see them putting these ideas out as though they’re making progress, but they are the same regurgitated ideas we’ve been talking about for 20 years that have never gotten past the white-paper stage.”  Treyz said congressional tax staffers she’s spoken with are despondent over what they call an unexpectedly grim situation.

So much winning.

I guess I don’t really intend to be snarky because all this leaves me in the same boat as it leaves everybody else – frustrated, even if unsurprised, by President Trump’s inability to lead. It’s almost as if the President wants to be isolated and impotent.

He is the one who has been unnecessarily polarizing since taking office.

He is the one who has continually given the media all the rope they could ask for to hang him with.

He is the one who has made his brand toxic for fellow Republicans.

He is the one who didn’t walk into office with any concrete, coherent plans on how to shepherd critical legislation through Congress in his first 100 days.

Of course Mitch McConnell is the furthest thing imaginable from a conservative champion in the Senate, and Paul Ryan leaves much to be desired in the House. But all of that was known throughout the 2016 election cycle, and the big selling point for Trump was that he was the only guy who could manage to get these guys to produce something beneficial for conservatism (and by extension therefore, the country).

As it turns out, as the glaring lack of any significant accomplishment becomes increasingly noticeable and embarrassing, it seems that Republicans elected perhaps the only guy who couldn’t get anything done.

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Peter Heck

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