This was a relatively small Republican victory, but just one of many that made 2017 the “most consequential year from a right-of-center point of view,” Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell says, since he was elected in 1984.
Another conservative surprise in tax reform was the elimination of the individual mandate requiring everyone to buy health insurance or pay a fine. It was the idea of Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas). Since more people will be opting out of Obamacare, less money will be needed to fund subsidies and thus available for tax cuts. The ANWR opening, by the way, was pushed by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
There were much bigger victories than these. The corporate tax rate was slashed like never before—to 21 percent from 35 percent. The top rate on personal income dropped to 37 percent from 39 percent. And of special interest to middle-income taxpayers, the standard deduction was doubled from $12,000 to $24,000 for joint filers.