President Trump is reportedly planning another tax cut. If so, he should figure out why the first one was a dud.
As a card-carrying supply-sider, I was certain tax reform would at last lift the U.S. economy out of its rut of 2% growth. On Dec. 16, 2017, a few days before he signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Mr. Trump told reporters: “The economy now has hit 3%. Nobody thought we’d be anywhere close. I think we can go to 4%, 5% and maybe even 6% ultimately.”
But the increase in gross domestic product hasn’t hit 3%. It was only 2.3% in 2017 and 2.9% in 2018, when the cuts kicked in. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates only 2.3% for 2019. Overall, annual GDP growth under Mr. Trump has averaged only a few tenths of a point better than that of President Obama’s second term.The Obama-Trump EconomyAnnualized GDP growth by quarter, 2013-19Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis%2013’14’15’16’17’18’19-2-10123456
I supported the 2017 corporate and personal tax cuts, expecting them to add incentives to work and invest. Businesses were supposed to plow tons of money into new factories and machines. Instead, in 2019, real private nonresidential fixed investment fell.
Economic growth lifts all boats, and it is disappointing—but probably inevitable—that the Democratic presidential candidates have focused on redistribution rather than increasing GDP.
Still, why didn’t the tax cuts have the desired effect? Perhaps they did but were overwhelmed by losses from other policies.
- Tariffs on foreign goods harmed growth by raising prices for consumers and producers and disrupting supply chains.
- Restrictive immigration policies helped cut U.S. population growth to less than 0.5% last year, the smallest increase since the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. A growing population, especially of working-age immigrants, is crucial to economic growth.
There’s another likely deterrent as well. Mr. Trump’s erratic behavior and penchant for economic and diplomatic isolation have almost certainly dampened the enthusiasm of both foreigners and Americans to devote capital here. Foreign direct investment has dropped for five straight quarters.
The Obama years were hardly brilliant for the economy. After a bad recession, we didn’t get our usual roaring recovery. Instead, we puttered along at little better than 2%. Unfortunately, we’re still puttering along.
The Agenda welcomes Eric Kaufmann, an immigration expert, politics professor at London’s Birkbeck College, and author of the controversial new book, “Whiteshift,” which explores how demographical change has given rise to populism. In an age marked by cultural wars and ethnic divisions, Kaufmann says, “We need to talk about white identity.” He writes that societies need to shift their thinking and analyze how Western populations – immigrants, non-whites, whites and mixed populations – can co-exist.
Ann Coulter is a conservative commentator, columnist and the author of several books, including “Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole” and “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!”
Coulter’s candid, full interview was conducted with FRONTLINE during the making of the October 2019 documentary “Zero Tolerance.”
26:54So why is he hiring people that disagree withwhat his tenets are?>>Why he surrounded himself by peopleactively opposed to his agenda and let Paul Ryan take overhis agenda for the first two years when he hada Republican House and Republican Senate,“No, let’s do all the stuff on the loser GOP’s to-do list.Let’s not do the popular stuff that wonthis very unlikely person the presidency.”Why he did that, who knows?Who knows?He has surrounded himself with people who disagree with him.Why did he hire his kids?I mean, I don’t know.Does he believe any of it?Is he a con-man liar and this was just a good gig?Again, picked up the $1,000 bill lying on the ground becauseno other Republican was willing to run on popular issues.Or is he just lazy?Yeah, he does believe it, but if it’s going to take a phone call—“I have to call [Sen.] Mitch McConnell?Nah, let them do whatever they want.”Could be laziness.Could be narcissism: “They love me for me!”Who knows?But he has surrounded himself by people who don’t agreewith his agenda, and that’s why very, very, very littleis getting done.(Time Left off: 38 min)