Mnuchin leaves a news briefing in NYC on September 21st.
By Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
So much for “so much winning.” Donald Trump’s big, beautiful wall is still a fantasy. Repeal and Replace has failed three times. With G.O.P. control of both houses, nine months into his administration, Trump has suffered a staggering number of losses, and has virtually no legislative accomplishments. So everything is riding on tax reform—it’s Trump’s last, best hope to save his first year in office. “This is really the primary legislative item that the president wants to accomplish,” Jason Miller, a former senior communications adviser for the Trump campaign who is now a managing director at Teneo Holdings, told me. Gary Cohn, the president’s senior economic adviser, called it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
It might cause some pause, then, to recognize that other than Donald Trump, the person most responsible for making this grand ambition a reality is Steven Mnuchin. A day after Trump flew to Indianapolis to announce his tax proposal, Mnuchin, the Trump administration’s main spokesman for the plan, took to the stage in Washington to sell it. The proposal, which was hashed out by the so-called Big Six, which includes the leadership of both the House and Senate as well as Mnuchin and Cohn, added few details to the one-page document the administration released over the summer. The plan proposes to cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent. “People spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get around taxes when they’re 35 percent. There’s no question that companies spend too much time trying to figure out how to keep money offshore,” Mnuchin said in Washington the day after Trump announced the plan. He added that the plan would “create enormous capital investment and enormous jobs and revenues.” Mnuchin has had to back off his initial assurance during his confirmation hearing that “there would be no absolute tax cut…