The Jury Talks Back


Greaaaat: Trump May Delay Signing Tax Bill — to Avoid Spending Cuts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 10:30 am

Some of you may recall that I railed against the GOP tax plan in part because I believed it sent a signal that we were never going to get serious about spending cuts to reduce the debt and deficit. Always trust content from Patterico! A report says that President Trump may delay signing the tax bill to avoid spending cuts that neither side wants:

President Trump may not sign the tax bill until January even after congressional Republicans passed it in a rush to get it to the White House before Christmas, his top economic adviser said Tuesday.

Rather, the administration may hold off on signing the bill into law in order to avoid an awkward vote on spending cuts that would be mandated under pay-as-you-go law. If Trump signs the bill in 2018 rather than 2017, he would avoid that vote for another year and take a leverage point away from Democrats.

“There’s a technical issue on something called PAYGO,” National Economic Council director Gary Cohn said Wednesday morning at a public interview with the publication Axios.

PAYGO requires that tax cuts added to the deficit be offset [with] mandatory spending cuts to certain government programs. Congress wouldn’t have control over those cuts, and they would cut deeply into Medicare, farm subsidies, and other government programs. Neither Democrats nor Republicans would favor those cuts.

GOP leaders have reassured lawmakers that the automatic cuts will be waived.

The article phrases Trump’s proposed move in terms of taking a leverage point from Democrats. That makes it a good move under the Anything That Makes Democrats Cry Is a Good Thing style of conservatism that now reigns under Donald Trump.

But under the old style of conservatism that is still observed by me and about three of you, this is a bad thing — because Trump is trying to avoid a law that makes sure tax cuts don’t add to the deficit. The debt and deficit are primarily a spending problem, and this action shows that spending will not be addressed.

They will never, ever, ever, ever, ever cut spending. Neither side will. They don’t care about it.

That we routinely vote to burden our children with crushing debt is a fundamental weak point in the structure of our republic — and absent a constitutional amendment that the public does not want (for obvious reasons), this structural flaw will be our ruin.

At least a handful of us noticed the hole in the ship’s hull before it sank. That’s something, right?


[Cross-posted at RedState.]


  1. I’m both a deficit hawk and someone who in general wholeheartedly approves of anything-that-make-Democrats-cry.

    However, in this case, you know what’d make Democrats cry even more? Cutting the dang spending.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 12/20/2017 @ 6:48 pm

  2. Exactly, CJ. Are you sure you aren’t a Texan? You’d fit right in.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/20/2017 @ 7:06 pm

  3. I take that as a high compliment, DRJ, thank you.
    I’ve always loved Texas, and have been there often. But, I’m an Arizonan. :)

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 12/20/2017 @ 10:54 pm

  4. “… old style of conservatism that is still observed by me and about three of you …”

    You made me spill my milk and cookies laughing at that one.

    “They will never, ever, ever, ever, ever cut spending. Neither side will. They don’t care about it.”

    That’s entirely a function of the voters who choose short-sighted irrationality. The same voters that chose Obama for “free health care” elected Trump for “more infrastructure spending and lower taxes”.

    Things that can’t go on forever, don’t. Like the dotcom bubble or the housing crash, when it happens it will be “unexpectedly”.

    Comment by Luke Stywalker — 12/22/2017 @ 2:15 am

  5. Well, the speculation that Trump wouldn’t sign it this year proved to be unfounded; Trump signed the bill.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 12/22/2017 @ 9:18 pm

  6. But if PAYGO was waived, then there was no penalty for signing it now. The question is, would he have signed it this year if PAYGO had not been waived?

    Comment by DRJ — 12/24/2017 @ 2:21 pm

  7. Exactly. That was the whole point.

    The speculation (actually a statement from someone in the Administration, on the record) was that he would not sign it if PAYGO was not waived.

    But it was.

    Comment by Patterico — 12/25/2017 @ 8:36 am

  8. Is Trump a Libertarian, or at least governing like one? It would explain the lack of principles, as well as the support by many people who reluctantly identified as conservatives before Trump’s nomination.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/25/2017 @ 5:40 pm

  9. Let me quickly add that I know Libertarians have principles — chiefly, liberty and the right to live lives free of government interference — but that can seem more pragmatic than principled in practice.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/25/2017 @ 5:51 pm

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