Happy (100) Days

So the idea that a president must accomplish big things in his first 100 days is partly a reference to how much FDR got done and partly an awareness that if a president doesn’t act in a hurry, his popularity is likely to go down (it is usually highest when he is inaugurated) and then midterm considerations come along and Congress gets too chicken to vote on anything meaningful.

Really, it’s just not that big a deal, and many meaningful accomplishments take place outside of that 100 day window (Obamacare, for instance.)

Still, the media has a bee in its bonnet about it and that means Trump has a bee in his bonnet about it too.  As a media-driven president, he is busy trying to psych out his news coverage and that means this week is Yuge.

Here’s Jake Tapper on the subject – got to love his facial expressions and he can explain this in more colorful language than I.

Clearly Trump has to act fast to meet his self-imposed deadline.  Republicans have been trying to push the idea of taking up the repeal of Obamacare again, but also on the agenda is passing a Continuing Resolution on the budget lest the government shut down at the end of the week and the fact that Trump wants to rush tax reform through.

The notion behind tax reform is to reform the whole tax code, that is, to restructure the way we pay taxes.  Speaker Paul Ryan already has had a plan to do that and has been working on it with Republicans in Congress. But it’s a big job and unlikely to happen quickly, so Trump is willing to settle for a tax cut for the wealthy in place of real reform.  While we will have to wait til Wednesday for the details (making the tax bill unlikely to come up for a vote in the crucial 100 days) there were hints today that Trump plans, among other things, a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent.

He also says the tax cut doesn’t have to be revenue neutral (which is budget speak for “paid for.”) His expectation is that it will drive economic growth and therefore it will pay for itself.  That is generally the expectation of those promoting unpaid for tax cuts. There will likely be some gimmick in the plan to make the numbers work; Bush’s unpaid for tax cut ran for ten years and then needed to be renewed by another Congress down the road (except that it ran into the buzz saw of the Obama administration.  Here is a great explainer on what happened to those tax cuts and what it meant.)  In the meantime, you can look for the deficit to balloon with the reduction in the government’s income and no corresponding cuts to compensate.

Oh, and here is Glenn Kessler, the fact checker at the Washington Post, on Trumps’ claim that “no administration has accomplished more in its first 90 days.”  True or False — what do you think?

Happy (100) Days!

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