As the Trump administration turns, allegedly, to the development of a tax reform proposal, it’s notable that his administration’s Treasury Department does not yet have any confirmed political appointees for the jobs that would be tasked with reforming the tax code.
There is supposed to be an Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, who is supposed to be assisted by Deputy Assistant Secretaries for Tax Policy, Tax Analysis, and International Tax Affairs. The department, obviously, continues to be staffed by a large number of skilled career civil servants. But to put their skills and expertise to good use, it’s generally beneficial to put some people in charge who can serve as an interface between the career staff and the big picture political objectives of the White House.
Trump also lacks an Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs (the Treasury Department website says Anne Wall is serving in this role, but she was an Obama appointee who has since departed for the Duberstein Group), to say nothing of the subordinate appointees in that office who would focus on tax and budget issues.
The president has never been one to put a lot of stock in professional expertise or the value of government experience, so it’s not a huge surprise that he hasn’t put much emphasis on maximizing the value of the Treasury Department’s resources and expertise. But if you happen to care about designing tax policy changes that will impact the economy and the federal budget in a beneficial way, it could be a good idea to actually staff the main federal agency concerned with tax policy.