Another day, another disappointment for Wall Street and much of corporate America when it comes to those promised big Trump tax cuts. House Speaker Paul Ryan said today that the Republicans in Congress will tackle replacing Obamacare and infrastructure spending first and won't take up a tax bill until the spring. That pushes the most realistic projections for a signed tax cut bill to August at the earliest.
To be fair, President Donald Trump has been in office for less than two weeks. But he quickly leapt into action on the protectionist side of his agenda and campaign promises. The immigration and travel ban on people from seven countries announced last Friday is the strongest example. But there's also been President Trump's continued pressure on major CEOs to invest and hire more in the U.S. That pressure and public comments have been so consistent that if a Democrat applied that kind of pressure, conservatives would be going crazy talking about a statist takeover of American industry.
But the brass ring the Trump team has been dangling in front of corporate America and even middle class taxpayers for months is the promise of those big tax cuts. And while President Trump continues to mention them, we aren't seeing or hearing anywhere near the kind of action and clarity from the White House on taxes that we've seen and heard on immigration and trade protectionism.
That didn't change Thursday when the president met with top Congressional leaders from the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means committee. Even though the committee leaders from the parties were there, it appears the discussion focused more on trade and not so much on taxes.
Congress and the White House may still be on an historically reasonable timeline considering the thin GOP Congressional majorities. Even the laser-focused-on-tax-cuts Reagan administration didn't get its tax cut plan passed and signed until August of its first year in office. And with Treasury Secretary-Designate Steven Mnuchin not yet confirmed, it's not surprising that the tax cut movement would be a little stalled when the administration's chief quarterback for the effort is still on the sidelines.