White House chief economist Kevin Hassett has just published a new paper explaining the Trump administration's push for corporate tax cuts. Among other things, it says that a corporate tax cut to 20 percent would boost American paychecks and the U.S. gross domestic product.
Well that settles it. We all know that all it takes for a major economic or tax policy to be embraced by the public and sail through the congressional approval process is a solid paper or two written by a top economist. So, President Donald Trump's tax reform plan is in the clear.
This is 2017, and that means we're way past the point where a cogent economic argument can win the day in American politics. It's debatable that there ever was such a time when it could, but a quick scan of history and a brief consideration of human nature should disabuse anyone of the notion that policy papers make a real difference.
Now to be sure, it's not a bad thing that the administration has made a data-based case for the tax reform plan, even if that case is disputed by many. Not only is this a matter of ethics, but presenting a winning argument needs at least some level of coherence for it to work.
But the reality is that it's not the economists, academics, and wonks the Trump team needs to convince, but a critical mass of the American people. And right now, the polls show the American people are not so hot for corporate tax cuts. A considerable amount of the news media will also be solidly against the plan, and that is not even a comment on the anti-Trump movement. Remember the anti-tax cut movement began with hard core fervor well before President Trump's time in politics.