Dec. 17, 2017
By Bernie Becker
For the large contingent of Washington supply-siders and tax-cutters, the sweeping tax overhaul that President Donald Trump is poised to sign into law this week has been a generation in coming — and the culmination of half a life’s work that started during Ronald Reagan’s 1980s.
Grover Norquist, arguably the best-known anti-tax activist in the country, started Americans for Tax Reform at then-President Reagan’s request to help marshal support for the 1986 tax overhaul. He’s been working ever since to rally support for more tax cuts.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for years said his dream job was to be House Ways and Means chairman, a position that would have allowed him to quarterback the sort of tax revamp that his mentor, the late Jack Kemp, helped get through Congress in 1986.
When he became Speaker, Ryan said he was reluctantly passing the title of Ways and Means chairman, and the opportunity to focus attention on tax reform, to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas).
Now, the 2017 tax revamp will bring the American tax system more into lockstep with those conservatives’ thinking than perhaps ever before — making the idea that what works for corporate America will work for the country at large a central plank of U.S. policy for decades to come, maybe even a generation or more.