There are two compelling narratives around President Donald Trump’s first 100 days. The first is his transformation from heterodox populist to orthodox Republican. Although he ran as a mold-breaking renegade, his economic policies come straight out of the conservative mold, from cutting business regulations to backing off threats to label China a currency manipulator and supporting plans to reduce health-insurance coverage for the poor.
The second story is that Trump has been more focused on optimizing for his own income and branding than for political victories. He has visited no foreign leaders, passed no major laws, given no major political addresses, and disappeared as the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare failed, all while doing little to refute accusations that he’s using the office to raise membership revenue at Mar-a-Lago and mixing business and politics in ways that are unprecedented for a sitting president.
So, it’s no surprise that his new tax plan—hailed by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin as “the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country”—is a blend of these two Trump narratives. First, it is Reagan on steroids, or Art Laffer on ayahuasca, a business-friendly plan that would likely cut taxes by trillions of dollars, with the vast majority of the benefits accruing to high-income households. Second, its most controversial provision would slash taxes on companies just like Trump’s, potentially saving the president many millions of dollars in taxes, even after his presidency is over.