(Rich Galen, Mullings) – The Trump Administration announced the President’s tax plan yesterday.
I didn’t understand much of what it says but I’ve been in Washington long enough to known that a major change in tax law is likely to be more than the 207 words the official announcement was yesterday.
As T. Boone Pickens (about whom, more later) once said: “A plan without action is just a speech.”
As presented by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, it was clear there is no plan to implement this.
All the document said was that the Administration would “hold listening sessions with stakeholders” throughout the month of May “to develop the details of a plan.”
Maybe that can happen. I mean, anything’s possible. I could be the Closer the Washington Nationals are searching for.
But, as the Brits would say: Not bloody likely.
This is like handing in a one-page outline for what was supposed to have been your fully-developed doctoral thesis.
I know there was no way to develop a fully formed plan within 100 days. The issue is, why didn’t the people around the President know it?
The Administration wants to cut the personal tax brackets down to three from its current seven (10, 25, and 35 percent) and cut the corporate tax rate from its current maximum of about 39% to 15%.
I agree generally that lower taxes are better than higher taxes, but I’m not clear on what this plan – if implemented – would do to the national debt which, as I type this on Wednesday night stands at $19.9 T.R.I.L.L.I.O.N.
I understand the White House is in full ears-back panic looking for things President Trump can take credit for before the 100-day clock runs out on Saturday. I get that.
But, this was a page of bullet points to hand out at a meeting of the Heritage Foundation, not a plan to be presented to the American people.
Another old saying on Capitol Hill is that every line in the tax code has a father – let’s amend that to say “has a parent.” A lot of organizations – labor unions, pension plans, churches as well as corporations and trust fund babies have paid good money to get their particular tax break into the tax code.
That is a lot – a LOT – of financial inertia to overcome.
One of the smartest Members of Congress is Tom Cole of Oklahoma. He said,
“I would prefer not to add to the deficit, but I’m going to wait and see what the legislative language looks like before I take a hard and fast position on any of this.”
Good advice to all.
Since the summer of 2008, there have been at least two conference calls per week for the Pickens Plan team. Tomorrow will mark the final one.
As nearly as I can count, it will be the 916th bi-weekly call since the Pickens Plan – imagined by T. Boone Pickens and executed by Tom Synhorst – began.
As originally conceived, Mr. Pickens’ idea was to use solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, “anything American” to produce electrical power. Added to that was to get America’s heavy truck fleet – about 8.5 million over-the-road vehicles – to switch from running on imported diesel to domestic natural gas.
It wasn’t as dramatic as we had hoped, but as we roll up the carpeting and stack the chairs on the tables, Pickens has made the importation of OPEC oil a major talking point and has succeeded in cutting imports in half.
Hydraulic fracturing – fracking – and horizontal drilling have changed the energy landscape since we began and now the United States is sitting on a sea of economically recoverable oil and natural gas.
One of the earliest partners was the Sierra Club. We worked with the wind and solar industry as well as with oil and gas companies. Pickens has criss-crossed the country over the past decade explaining his plan. In the early days, we would easily get over 1,000 people into a hall to hear him.
When he was challenged – usually on college campuses by professors who thought they knew as much as Pickens – he would say: I’ve presented my plan, what’s your plan? If you don’t have a plan, then your plan is the status quo and we’re sending about a billion dollars a day to OPEC.
It has been a great project with a great team. I’m sorry it’s ending.
It’s been a great gig.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.