Trump pushes through tax reform

US President Trump's major tax reform which passed through Congress on Wednesday has been widely criticised by the press on the grounds that it mainly works in the favour of wealthy entrepreneurs. Journalists disagree as to whether other sections of society will also benefit.

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National Review (US) /

Biased media bad-mouthing a good reform

The reform's bad reputation among Americans is unjustified, National Review argues:

“[One] crucial component of the bill's stunning lack of popularity surely stems from the amount of misinformation floating around about the substance of the bill, perpetuated by biased media outlets. Just this morning, for example, the New York Times opinion newsletter called the bill 'a huge handout to corporate America,' completely ignoring the fact that the bill will lower taxes for a shocking 80.4 percent of Americans, according to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center. ... This tax bill surely isn't perfect, but in many ways and for most people, it'll likely prove to be an improvement on the status quo. Listening to our media, though, it's no wonder Americans don't believe it.”

The Times (GB) /

Historic impulse for the US economy

The Times is impressed that Trump was able to push through such tax benefits for businesses:

“The current US corporate tax rate of 35 per cent is a relic of the late Cold War, which no previous administration has been able to cut despite bipartisan agreement on the need to do so. The reasons for these failures were the sheer complexity of the convoluted US tax code and an assumption that it had to be reformed in its entirety or not at all. Mr Trump has proved this assumption wrong. The new 21 per cent corporate rate is higher than he hoped for but should still serve as a powerful incentive for corporate America to start repatriating an estimated 2.6 trillion stockpiled in lower-tax jurisdictions abroad.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Republicans will come to regret the reform

The Republicans are in for a rude awakening once their euphoria over the tax reform's approval has subsided, Der Standard believes:

“The people know that their tax relief will expire in eight years - because otherwise the law couldn't have been passed without the help of the Democrats - while the much more generous corporate tax cuts will be maintained. And those who stand to benefit most are property developers like the Trump clan. With all its exemption clauses for interest groups the law makes an easy target for election campaign ads. The Democrats' chances of winning back a majority in Congress in 2018 are better than ever - unless the economy picks up as much as Trump promises it will. But the economists who believe that are few and far between.”

Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

A terrible tactician

Trump would do better to refrain from comparing himself with Ronald Reagan, the taz recommends:

“What's true is that Reagan too took the burden off the rich and caused huge budget deficits. Nevertheless, as Trump will no doubt learn to his own detriment in the next elections, the comparison is faulty. ... Trump has failed to recognise the danger because he doesn't understand why Reagan became a legend: the latter simply had the good fortune to be elected during an economic crisis. The economy could only get better at that point - and afterwards many voters wrongly believed that Reagan's tax reforms were the reason. With Trump it's the exact opposite: his presidency began in a boom. The economic situation can no longer improve, a downturn is far more likely. So the chances are good that he will get what he deserves - and go down in history as a terrible tactician.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Real problems left untackled

Just how Trump's tax reform is supposed to help the country remains a mystery for Le Monde:

“Most economists believe this stimulus will have only a limited impact on growth and investments, because corporate profits have already reached their maximum level. If the growth rate stalls, the budget deficit threatens to increase. ... This tax reform doesn't tackle any of the problems the US faces today: widespread inequality, weak growth in productivity, worsening primary and secondary school education, a dire lack of public investment in infrastructure, and the list goes on.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Crumbs for the simple folk

Trump's voter base in particular won't benefit much from the tax reform, Helsingin Sanomat points out:

“Trump's wealthy voters have good reason to rejoice. ... However, the white working class that decided the presidential elections will get nothing but crumbs. ... The tax cuts for wage earners are far smaller than those for companies. In addition, those cuts will only be temporary. ... It remains to be seen whether Trump's supporters feel cheated or not. Trump promised he would 'drain the swamp' by punishing the elites in Washington and defending the little people. But that's not what this tax reform does.”