- - Wednesday, December 20, 2017


President Trump basked late Wednesday in a rare moment of acknowledged triumph, delivering at last on a legislative promise, “the big, beautiful tax cut” he promised would arrive before Christmas.

Even The New York Times, the media leader of the so-called “resistance,” conceded after both houses of Congress approved the Republican legislation that the triumph was “finally demonstrating the political power of unified Republican control in Washington.”

Indeed, the implications of Mr. Trump’s big day should be felt first by the fractious Republicans who hold control of the U.S. Senate, if just barely (by one vote), and the House of Representatives, if just barely comfortably. They may yet replace the Democrats as the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

“This is a big week,” says Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and sometime candidate for president. “A wide range of people are starting to say, ‘I like him, his tweets may irritate me, but something has happened.’ Clearly this was the piece de resistance, this bill at this moment just before Christmas.”

The Democrats, having failed to derail the tax cut, were left to argue only that it will never work, that the middle class has been betrayed, that the Republicans have delivered only to the fat cats.

Mr. Trump hasn’t really done anything, Sen. Michael Bennett, Colorado Democrat, insisted to The New York Times. “As soon as the American people see what’s in the bill, and that it borrows from their children to pay for it, they will reject it. This is just a tax cut for the wealthy masquerading as a middle-class tax cut, and not terribly well.”

The legislation passed, like Obamacare, on a straight party-line vote, testimony to the continued partisan divide in Washington. Much of the Democratic deriding of the tax cut sounded more like a wan hope that tax relief will fail than a clear-eyed assessment of the actual prospects of the economy.

But if the economy responds to the liberation of the great American economic engine — the engine that finally blew away the Great Depression and overwhelmed the Axis in a world war — and Americans start paying lower taxes, the public verdict will arrive just as the nation elects a new Congress next November. “I think minds are going to change,” Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, had told television interviewers Wednesday morning. “I think [skeptics] are going to change their view.”

The approving votes were not unexpected. Congress had been moving in fits, burps and starts for days, and the House had to vote twice this week to repair the language in the House legislation that conflicted with certain arcane requirements in the Senate, delaying the final approval until Wednesday afternoon.

The economy, as the iconic Mr. Stupid could tell everyone, will get the last word, as it always does. Denizens of the swamp, that fearsome Democratic redoubt where there be monsters, were left spluttering in their coffee and bottled water in the wake of the day’s events.

The Trump phenomenon finally comes down to jobs, whether the president makes good on his frequent boasts and twitters that he can make the American economy great again. If the economy, strangled for nearly a decade by the regulatory nostrums of Barack Obama, does not return to robust health, Donald Trump might be remembered as a blip of history.

But if, having been liberated from regulatory purgatory, the economy roars back to robust life, the rewards to the nation, to Mr. Trump and to the Republicans, will be great. For now, he can bask in the fragile praise of a job well done.

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