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Trump Could Be the Next George H.W. Bush


(BloombergOpinion) -- Donald Trump is dangerously close to becoming the first Republicanpresident since George H.W. Bush to raise taxes. According to the TaxFoundation, if the tariffs already announced by Trump go into effect, they willamount to a $200 billion annual tax increase. That’s larger than the $165billion average annual reduction in 2017’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act.


Bush’sbrazen break with Republican orthodoxy, along with a sluggish economy andbroken promises, made him a one-term president. If Trump’s not careful, he mayjoin him.
Inhis 1988 campaign, Bush famously asked the public to read his lips when hepromised “no new taxes.” While Bush had been Ronald Reagan’s vice president, hecame from an earlier generation of moderate Republicans. Movement conservativesalways had doubts about his fealty to their low-tax agenda.


Asit turned out, those concerns were justified. In 1990, two years after asuccessful campaign based in part on a commitment to fight Congress’s attemptsto raise taxes, Bush faced a rising deficit and a Congress reluctant to cutdomestic spending. He caved. In June he announced that he was willing to accepta budget that not only cut defense spending but also included tax increases.


Thereality looks different: Every bit of good news is soon undermined by astumble. Tariffs are still rising, and the trade war is taking an increasingtoll on the broader economy.
Sofar the trade war’s effect has been felt primarily in business investment.Analysis from JP Morgan Chase & Co., however, suggests that consumers willsoon be feeling the pinch as well. If fully implemented, this next phase ofTrump’s tariffs will cost the average household up to $1,795 per year — $495more than the bank’s estimate of the average increase in disposable income fromtax reform. (The biggest tax cuts in the 2017 law were on the corporate side;they weren’t paid out to any actual humans.)

现实情况看起来有所不同: 每一个好消息都很快被一个挫折所破坏。关税仍在上涨,贸易战对更广泛的经济造成的负面影响越来越大。
到目前为止,贸易战的影响主要体现在商业投资上。不过,摩根大通的分析显示,消费者很快也会感到手头拮据。如果特朗普的下一阶段关税得到全面实施,普通家庭每年的平均支出将高达1795美元---比世行估计的税收改革带来的可支配收入平均增长高出495美元。(2017年法案中最大的减税是针对企业的; 并不是任何现实的人。)

Ifconsumer spending starts to slip, there won’t be much left propping up economicgrowth. This combination of weak growth, a rising tax burden and brokenpromises echoes the 1992 election. In addition, Trump is already accumulatingprimary challengers who will no doubt criticize him for his failure to deliver.When the Democrats pile on, it will be that much harder for the president tomake his case for re-election.


Intone and substance, Donald Trump and George H.W. Bush are nearly polaropposites. In terms of their economic and political circumstances, however,they are eerily similar — in a way that should raise some doubts about Trump’schances of re-election.