Trump’s One Legislative ‘Win’ Is Actually a Failure

Donald Trump.
Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

The first two years of the Trump administration have mostly combined ethical calamities large (the separation of migrant children from their parents) and small (petty graft ranging from lavish office expenses to making staff procure high-end hand cream) with a succession of pratfalls. Trump has proved unable to do the large things (like repeal and replace, or even just repeal, Obamacare) or the small things (staff his administration, produce correctly spelled official documents). But against this shambolic backdrop, there stands in bright shining succession the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Here is the crown jewel of the Trump presidency, the singular legislative achievement that even Trump-skeptical Republicans can point to as the payoff (worth it or otherwise) for the embarrassment of having to endure Trump’s clown show.

The tax-cut backers have relentlessly promoted their handiwork, most prominently in Paul Ryan’s valedictory video series, but also in a series of choreographed corporate announcements of bonuses for workers and news of a brief spike in business investment last year. As Ryan has boasted, the tax cuts indeed represent the cutting edge of conservative policy-making, the very best case for what the Republican Party has to offer the country.