Donald Trump took time out of his busy schedule of disaster tourism and tweeting about the media to deliver a speech in Missouri on Wednesday about a seemingly far-less entertaining topic — comprehensive tax reform.
An overhaul of the tax code would, Trump promised, "bring back Main Street by reducing the crumbling burden on our companies and on our workers."
Meanwhile, Paul Ryan's been touring the nation waiving around a vaguely postcard-shaped piece of paper that he believes Americans will be able to use to file their taxes once the simplification nirvana of tax reform is enacted.
Congress is facing a crowded September full of "must pass" bills to keep the government open, replenish FEMA's Harvey-depleted coffers, and avoid a debt ceiling crisis. But when those deadlines are in the rearview mirror, tax reform is the next Republican policy priority. And while achieving the sort of comprehensive reworking of the tax system that Trump is talking about is extremely difficult, the stars are far better aligned for Republicans to pass something than they were on the disastrous effort to replace the Affordable Care Act.
Even though neither the White House nor congressional Republicans have released legislative text or even a detailed plan for tax reform, major business lobby groups have already committed considerable sums of money to airing ads in support of the reform plan — whatever that reform plan may be.
In the fact that corporate America has decided to support tax reform without knowing what the content of tax reform is, one begins to spy the outlines of what's to come. The tax reform push currently underway is a purely partisan affair, driven by GOP committee chairs and leadership with some input from Gary Cohn at the White House and Steve Mnuchin at the Treasury Department. And while business executives aren't exactly sure what they'll come up with, they are sure that they're going to like it. Because lurking beneath the GOP's high-minded interest in the complex policy terrain of tax reform is a rather simple and more profound belief.
Republicans believe that Americans — and especially highly-paid Americans and Americans who own businesses or shares of stock — deserve to pay less in taxes. The business community is inclined to agree. And working in tandem with unified Republican Party control of Washington, they are likely to get what they want.