(CNN)Fresh from yet another failure to repeal-and-not-quite-replace Obamacare, President Trump and fellow Republicans are attempting to pull another trick out of their traditional playbook: “massive” tax cuts, mainly helping the rich.
The “Unified Framework” released Wednesday is, like most things Republican of late, more of a sketch than a plan. But it is a telling sketch, both in what it includes and in what it doesn’t.
There is deep irony in how things are playing out. The Republicans faithfully claim to be learning the lesson of the failed Obamacare repeal effort, but stripped to its essence, what is the lesson? It is a simple one that Trump himself ought to know full well: People hate to lose.
Trumpcare would have been a major loss for tens of millions of Americans, which was exactly its point. The quest to kill entitlement programs has become a holy grail of the right, Obamacare becoming the Moby Dick turning Paul Ryan and his merry band of conservatives into a gang of raging Ahabs.
Of course, entitlement losers make for tax cut winners. The trouble is, the losers from Trumpcare and the winners from Trump tax would not have been the same people.
The Trump tax sketch includes plenty of “wins” for the billionaire class. It lowers the top income tax rate from 39.6% to 35. Saving 4.6% of their income is a nice prize for those couples already making over $470,000 a year. It slashes the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%. It eliminates the alternative minimum tax, which billionaires like Trump pay. It creates a special 25% tax rate for “small businesses,” defined by their legal form of ownership as “pass-through entities.”
What is such a thing? Well, technically it includes partnerships, limited liability companies, and S corporations. But the more relevant fact may be that President Trump personally owns nearly500 of them.