The tax bill passed by Congress this week is a pretty big deal, to put it mildly. Who deserves the credit (or the blame, depending on how you see it)? Here is a first pass — if I am missing anyone, the comments function is open:
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: This guy's Yale classmates petitioned him to resign. National Review (here) and the New York Times (here) made fun of him and his wife in the most personal and nasty ways. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial page was skeptical of his nomination. With this tax cut, he belongs in the ranks with Douglas Dillon and Andrew Mellon as consequential tax-cutting Treasury secretaries.
Senators Cornyn, McConnell, Scott, and Toomey: Senate Republican leadership and members of the conference committee with the House were able somehow to deliver a bill that every Republican senator was able to support.
Gary Cohn: Denounced as a Goldman Sachs globalist by the Breitbart crowd, denounced as a sellout to Trump by Manhattan liberals, White House economic aide Cohn managed to do something that lots of people thought was going to be impossible.
President Trump: For all the derision directed at Trump, his performance on the tax bill was a pretty good example of presidential executive leadership. He didn't get too mired in the details. He basically delivered on a campaign promise. He let Congress handle its end of it.
President Obama and Senators Schumer and Reid: These guys could have modestly lowered the corporate tax rate and done a "repatriation" deal to bring back corporate profits overseas back when they controlled the White House and/or Congress. Obama had suggested a 28% rate. But they missed the opportunity, leaving the issue to Trump and the Republicans. If they had taken it seriously, they might have even been able to do it back then in a bipartisan way more palatable to at least some Democrats.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady: Ryan also comes in for a lot of contempt from the Republican base for having failed to deliver. Now he has delivered, in a big way.