Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will dine with the president at the White House tonight. Other than loads of flattery and some New York stories, Schumer and Pelosi might want to bring some ideas with them.
First, Schumer should share his two must-haves with President Trump on tax reform — revenue-neutral and no tax cuts for the very rich. If Trump goes in that direction, he could get oodles of Democratic votes, make House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) the bad guy if he nixes it and get glowing press. They can remind him that former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon floated the idea of raising taxes on the very rich. Schumer and Pelosi can assure the president that his backing such a deal would transform the GOP. (It would shatter it, actually, but that counts as transformative too.) They might consider coming with a single sheet of paper with three or four bullet points and tell Trump they can strike a deal in principle then and there.
Second, Schumer and Pelosi should tell Trump the truth about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The latter is lying about the economics, and Trump should stop listening to him. For this, they can bring along a piece from Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute wherein Strain explains:
The economic benefits of deporting 690,000 people whose families brought them here illegally when they were children? There are none.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions argues otherwise. In his statement rescinding DACA, Sessions contended that it “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.” This reasoning would earn a failing grade in an undergraduate economics course.
Strain offers a basic lesson in labor economics:
The U.S. economy does not have a fixed number of jobs. Hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients — commonly called Dreamers — do hold jobs. They also buy food and clothing, pay for housing, and consume entertainment. Their spending is someone else’s income, supporting employment in their local communities — creating jobs. Their work makes the economic pie bigger. They don’t just take a slice.
Moreover, people covered under the program are not the lesser-skilled, low-wage immigrants that many are concerned drive down wages for native-born workers. Rather, according to Ike Brannon and Logan Albright in a study published in January by the libertarian Cato Institute, Dreamers closely resemble H-1B visa holders — foreign-born workers employed in specialty occupations requiring a high level of skill. The average DACA recipient earns $17 per hour, more than double the federal minimum wage, according to the Cato report. And many of them are pursuing advanced degrees.
So once again, Mr. President, Schumer and Pelosi can say, you’ll be lauded in the press and make a great economic deal for the country. All Trump needs to do is tell Ryan and Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to put a clean bill on the floor and hold a vote. Hey, if they don’t, it’s one more instance in which those balky Republicans are denying the president a win!
Third, on health care, the bipartisan health-care plan from Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and six other governors goes a long way toward fixing the problems with Obamacare. As the governors said, “Based on these guiding principles, we recommend (1) immediate federal action to stabilize markets, (2) responsible reforms that preserve recent coverage gains and control costs, and (3) an active federal/state partnership that is based on innovation and a shared commitment to improve overall health system performance.” Former president Barack Obama said he’d support a plan if Trump came up with something better than the original Affordable Care Act, right? Hey, Trump would have fun telling Obama that he has to credit Trump for doing the bipartisan reform Obama could not.
You think Trump wouldn’t go for this? Ah, you forget that Trump cares not one wit about the content of any legislation. He wants “deals,” the praise of the press forced to recognize his fabulousness and a win. Heck, if he did all that, he could declare his job done this year (accomplished more in one year than other presidents did in eight!) and go back to New York for good. That’d show that meanie Robert S. Mueller III.