US tax cuts – saving Speaker Ryan

I had the pleasure of hearing Speaker Ryan of the US House of Representatives when he was in London last week talking about the new Administration’s strategy.

He came across as able, engaging, well informed and keen to get on with the job. He wore power well, and handled deftly the questions of those in the media and think tank world who wished to trip him up or drive wedges between the House and the President.

There was surprisingly little reporting of his remarks on the media. He was warm and positive about the US/UK relationship. He constantly stressed its special nature and its long history, joked about the time the UK  burned the White House and made a clear offer of early progress on a US/UK trade deal just as soon as the UK was in a position to do so.  Given all the comments we hear reported on possible complexities in confirming our current free trade arrangements with the EU in a new format, it was odd we did not hear a lot more about a likely free trade deal with our single largest overseas country market.

He explained in a response to my question that both House Republicans and the President are keen on tax reform and reduction. Both agree on the shape of the simplification and reduction of personal income taxes. The differences over reform and reduction of corporate income taxes he thought to be easy to overcome, as both want the same direction of travel. Healthcare reform has been given priority because the spending reductions it produces are helpful in working out the  budget impact of the tax changes. However, if they cannot secure an early healthcare reform the tax reform can still proceed.

He repeated that Republicans understand the current mood of scepticism about political establishments. They understand they need to deliver on both healthcare reform and tax reductions to keep their promises and to speed the US recovery. Getting things through the Congress even when a party has a majority in both as the Republicans do is never easy. Speaker Ryan seems determined to achieve something before the year is out.

 

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32 Comments

  1. sm
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    I fail to see how anything sensible can be done in the US while they have a maniac as President, and one who was endorsed by the Republicans!

    That does NOT mean that I would have been happier with a Clinton Presidency.

  2. Duncan
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Of course for many politicians who enjoy the business of politics (the pursuit and exercise of political power or to put it another way ‘spending other peoples money’ to create favourable circumstances that deliver political gains) the idea of tax cuts is anathema to the pursuit of political power.

    For many politicians in govt. tax cuts represent a diminution of power. The more of our money we own and directly control the less is available to govts to spend in a manner that affords them political favouritism. There are many examples of this. Gordon Brown’s commissioning of two Aircraft Carriers was a direct attempt to secure political loyalty in its Glasgow constituencies. Throwing money down the bottomless pit that is the NHS is another example. It is easier to throw cash at the problem rather than confront reform and the inevitable negative political headlines that this would entail

    Any politician who offers tax cuts (a transfer of power from the State to the person) gets a big tick from me which may explain why I have always been a Thatcherite

    Since MT ‘passed on’ the nature of contemporary politics has become Orwellian in the extreme. Honesty, directness and transparency have died to be replaced by the most appalling set of circumstances where media lies, State vested interests and shadow organisations rule the roost..

    Beware the left for they will never give up their fight for totalitarianism

  3. NB
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Far too many jokes over the years about the British burning the White House. We should never have lost the colonies, high taxes, strategic blunders, almost like we lost them on purpose. Very strange.

  4. NB
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I am Libertarian Right not Authoritarian Right so do not support this Administration. I am however pleased to hear you are getting on.

  5. Mark B
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Our kind host is correct, there was not much coverage by the media on such an event as the US Speaker of the House here in the UK.

    If the USA does indeed tend to cut taxes and keep up public spending then it will have to raise interests rates. That will have an effect on matters in the UK and elsewhere. Perhaps that is another reason for an early GE ??? 😉

  6. Prigger
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    “There was surprisingly little reporting of his remarks on the media.”

    It doesn’t report the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov though he has been in post for fourteen years. He speaks very well in English and has given long and extremely detailed interviews in English. Ryan speaks well in English too. Our media is highly likely unable to understand either of them for this reason.

  7. Prigger
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Ryan should have been introduced to our media as “progressive”. The do progressive. Macron is progressive in their five paged thick cardboard book. No they can’t define progressive in terms of Macron or anyone else but it is an IN-word for them like existential, synergy, dynamics, metrics and goodweed.

  8. Richard1
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    It is a pity Romney and Ryan didn’t win in 2012. Hopefully he can now steer Trump away from protectionism and some of his other sillier policies.

    It is quite amazing that this important visit by one of the most significant decision makers in the US was not reported by the BBC. His message can’t have been consistent with the required alarmism and negativity over Brexit.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted April 26, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      ‘Hopefully he can now steer Trump away from protectionism and some of his other sillier policies’

      – Luckily, Trump’s got his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Kushner, behind him, steering him away from the bonkers hard-right populists in the White House. It’s early days, but I think Rex Tillerson is proving to be a sensible, steady pair of hands and influence as well.

      (By the way, not here to condemn Trump personally, he come across as someone deeply insecure in need of a big hug but he does have access to a lot of power, including things like nuclear weapons, so we have a right to be concerned).

  9. Anonymous
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile… here in Britain drivers (on the safest roads in Europe) are to be spanked inordinately hard with speeding fines (aka an easy tax)

    The real cause of accidents is tailgaiting, mobile phone usage… things which can only be picked up by expensive patrols, not automated cameras. So it’s not about safety.

    If we need to increase road tax then do so across the board. And then call it what it is – a tax. (Reclassify Nat Ins as a tax too, that’s what it is now.) This sort of fining will wipe individuals out financially.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Let us hope they achieve results on tax reform and reductions and we get them in the UK too.

    The Conservative party is a low tax party or it is nothing, said the Sunday Telegraph Leader yesterday. Not that it has been since Mrs Thatcher was knifed. Hammond is a puppet of the treasury not a leader he must surely go and May need to get real about efficienies in government. There is so much fat to cut.

  11. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    He destroyed much of his credibility with his shambolic first go at replacing Obamacare, I doubt he has the ear of Trump after that fiasco.

  12. Ian Wragg
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Donald is going to have a bonfire of taxes and regulations.
    This will make Europe even more uncompetitive and sceloric looking.
    The customs union will be seen as nothing more than a protectionist racket to coddle EU companies.

    Macron on the other hand will be an abject failure as he is essentially Hollandes placeman.
    The unions will destroy him and his enthusiasm for the EU will ensure high unemployment in France.
    Interesting times.

  13. Bert Young
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    A very positive report . Ryan sounds like the sort of man I would like to spearhead our economy – low taxes and healthcare reform ought to be high on our agenda .

    UK / USA trade and relations are very important and the reference to an early deal with us once we are “free”, ought to be seen as good news to our manufacturing and service organisations . The Banking sector here that is being rattled by EU noises and offers , ought to take heed of Ryans’ remarks ; London should remain – with New York , the hub of financial transactions ; the skills in these two places would be very difficult to place elsewhere .

  14. Bob
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    “There was surprisingly little reporting of his remarks on the media.”

    the media can no longer be relied on for honest and unbiased reporting, it’s been thoroughly infiltrated by Frankfurt School/Common Purpose automatons.

  15. norman
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this John. A breath of fresh air from across the Atlantic! America is such a melting pot, but at its best, a bastion of freedom that impacts the whole world. I for one am very thankful for the ‘Special Relationship’, and all the cultural things we share. The grudging attitude of so many in our country towards our American friends reveals a lot about us. On the other hand, Britain at its best has much to give them. How sad that we would not have known about this meeting, unless you reported it here. One hopes their change of direction, wisely applied, will facilitate much needed reform here, too.

  16. APL
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    JR: “He repeated that Republicans understand the current mood of scepticism .. ”

    Did anyone think to ask Ryan, why after seven years threatening to abolish ‘Obama-Care’, he hadn’t come up with a viable alternative that could command the support of the Republican majority in Congress?

    And by the way, the Medical Cartel in the United States is the one thing that is likely to destroy the US economy with in the next decade.

  17. William Long
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Most interesting, and not so surprising. How very lucky the Americans are in their new Government; I wish we had someone who was interested in Tax reform and reduction.

  18. oldtimer
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    My understanding is that so far the Trump administration has failed to get any major legislation passed. The Democrats oppose at every turn and the Republicans are not united. You make no mention on the ever ballooning US deficit (now c$20 trillion and set to grow provided Congress authorises it). Many think the US is overstretched in many areas – from stock market valuations to its military commitments – with several bubbles ready to burst.

  19. Antisthenes
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Taxes, government spending and socialising society may appear to be the answer to achieving social justice and abolishing inequality. It may also be seen as a way to address what are perceived to be unacceptable excesses of the capitalist system. Whilst that may hold some truth it is only so if the perceptions and levels of taxing, spending and socialising are commensurate with the reality. It is not and increasingly so because legitimate crusades to right social injustices have expanded and/or been manipulated beyond their original objective to become vehicles for vested interests to profit.

    We now have created a system that is in most ways is worse than that which it was designed to put right. It must be reformed by reducing what it does and how it does it and a return to allowing wealth creation to be the main driver for reducing social injustice and inequality. Sensible criminal laws and regulations are sufficient to curb the worst excesses. High tax and spend, massive state interference, legislation and using coercive means to alter our behaviour is not.

  20. james Neill
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I just have no faith in the US system- it is dysfunctional, was never great and now appears to be getting worse.. the Speaker Ryan is another case in point and appears to be jockeying position for some future try at the presidential race. They, the political class, are always going to look after themselves first and that is much more so now with Trump in situ. I hope that the UK is not batting on getting some kind of special trade deal with them to replace trade with EU countries because they are not at all trustworthy in the present make up.. not for the short term and not for the long term either..

  21. Lifelogic
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    So now May and Hammond even want to control energy prices by central dictat. I do not think prices and incomes policies in the past have worked well, has she checked? What a choice socialist, high tax big government May or the even more so Corbyn. Still perhaps a tiny bit better than the French choice they now have.

  22. Prigger
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    A minute number of drivers who must drive as part of their job for many hours per day will welcome the new speed fines, or any.
    A sat nav taking you in and out of housing estates joning duel-carriageways mid-way and other variable speed roadways within seconds where the speed limit is not obviius and where speedy avoidance of other drivers swerving onto slower lanes when seeing cameras…it goes on with no-one daring to blame sideways collision on the speed camera. It wouldn’t get up to speed in court. Fake Courts. Fake Justice.
    One day, and it is surely not far off even at a dead 30mph , a Party will get into power because it massively intends to eliminate speed fines and drive bans…against all “commonsense..” Politics is built of this . Parliamentarians have formally educated themselves into defeat.Good riddance. You are a danger to the public!
    A deserved Party victory.
    So many people have lost their livelihoods on the back of ignorance and prejudice of OFFICIAL road safety. The truth is somewhat different to these roadside scholars

  23. Mactheknife
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Are you surprised that the media in general did not report his remarks? Anything good about the Trump regime will not be publicised by most papers and certainly not the BBC. One look at their website during the US elections and in the weeks afterwards shows a continuous stream od “bad news” stories and opinion from their so called unbiased reporters.

  24. BOF
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    ‘There was surprisingly little reporting of his remarks on the media. He was warm and positive about the US/UK relationship.’

    Indeed, all I heard on the BBC was that the EU would be ahead of the UK in negotiations for a trade deal! But then what else can we expect from the BBC.

  25. Richard Butler
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    A constant Remoaner refrain informs us a trade deal with the US will be weighted in favour of the US to our great cost.

    A quick look through existing US trade deals with much smaller nations reveal’s they work well for both parties. Similarly the NZ – China deal has proved very satisfactory for NZ.

    Remaoners above all else have this sense the British nation is impotent and incapable – my Remoaner Aunt said yesterday she is worried we will toxify our fields the moment we leave, after all we cant possibly manage our own environmental affairs right?

  26. John Finn
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Is there anything of any concern in the recent Times article which suggests the UK has been elbowed aside in any future trade negotiations with the US following Merkel’s meeting with Trump.

  27. Martin
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Did you ask if the Republicans are digging up the old ‘edstone promise of a price cap for those who can’t be bothered/too stupid to shop around for a cheaper energy deal?

    I

  28. Ed Mahony
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Is Donald Trump really putting the EU ahead of the UK in terms of trade agreement (according to Daily Telegraph and others?).

    If so, this represents another important shift in the new Republicanism of Donald Trump, from the hard-right populist Republicanism of Steve Bannon to the more centre-right, globalist Republicanism of Trump’s daugther, Ivanka, son-in-law, Kushner, and Republicans such as Speaker Ryan.

    And if this true, what impact will this have on Brexit, the UK economy, and a deal or not with the EU?

  29. Trumpe-tear
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    The US stock exchanges are moving generally sideways. The “Trump Rally” as it is called is over. Trump and the Republican Party set the dates and calendar events to come.He hasn’t succeeded in anything he promised,not even the ones he tried at. He cannot even play at ships but gets them stranded in the Indian ocean. Trump is what the Chinese and probably the North Korean’s would call “A Paper Tiger”
    It is noteworthy that when America is faced with an opponent who can fight back, fails.

  30. NB
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I was thinking of Paul Boehner and got him mixed up with Mr Ryan. It was Paul Boehner who wept with joy as the antichrist addressed Congress. I will research Mr Ryan.

  31. acorn
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Between Speaker Ryan; White House Budget Director Mulvaney; Treasury Secretary Mnuchin; and, President Trump, the chances of getting anything that makes sense, are quite slim. Compared to this lot, “Fred Karno’s Army” would appear the epitome of competence! Trump and Ryan; they may be in the same party, but blood brothers they are not, by a long way.

    I wouldn’t hold your breath on an easy US/UK trade deal JR, you don’t know yet what the price will be. If I were Trump, I would want a long term lease on Scotland for use as a US (unrestricted) military base with added Golf / Leisure complexes. The Scots could get a nice little earner from that; and, possibly become the seventeenth US overseas territory.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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