News outlets are reporting that Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) has announced he will retire from Congress at the end of the current term, his thirteenth.
We’ve been fans of Mr. Brady here at IPI. And while we’re sorry to see a good one go, Kevin Brady can retire with the knowledge that he accomplished his number one policy goal: fundamental tax reform. And when a willing president bent on cutting taxes won the White House, Brady was already ready with the knowledge and framework he had been working on for years in cooperation with growth economists, conservative think tanks, and pro-growth congressional colleagues.
Brady was the point person on tax reform, he understood the details and trade-offs probably better than anyone. And though it wouldn’t have happened without President Trump in the White House actively selling the proposal, it was largely Mr. Brady’s work.
The results spoke for themselves. The economy was growing at an increased pace until the pandemic hit. And because Brady’s tax reform restored America’s global tax competitiveness, no one has heard the phrase “corporate inversion” since. By lowering the U.S. corporate tax rate to a level comparable to other industrialized countries, the U.S. is a more attractive place for corporations to invest and site their capital.
As a result of the tax reform, middle-class households saw a sizeable tax reduction as well as increases in personal income. And contrary to uninformed claims, wealthy households actually saw a tax increase because of the imposition of a cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT).
No one deserves more credit for these accomplishments than Rep. Kevin Brady, and for that, we thank you, Mr. Brady. You can leave knowing that you accomplished a significant policy reform, and it serves as a capstone for your congressional career.
Now the question is: How much of Mr. Brady’s tax reform can we keep in place?
Democrats want to undo most of it, including raising corporate tax rates and eliminating the SALT deduction cap, effectively cutting taxes on the wealthy. Not only would that be politically ironic, but it would be harmful to the US economy and would undermine much of the success of the 2017 tax reform.
We expect Mr. Brady will spend the remainder of his final term doing everything he can to keep his reforms in place. That would be a good use of his time both for the country and his legacy.