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Tax Policy NewsNov 16, 2017
Daily chart: The Trump tax cuts fall far short of Ronald Reagan's reforms
Main image:  IN THE annals of modern American economic policymaking, among the most revered pieces of legislation is the Tax Reform Act of 1986. During the three decades since its passage, Democrats and Republicans alike have hailed the law not only for overhauling the country''s tax system, which Jimmy Carter famously called 'a disgrace to the human race', but also for doing so with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. As Republicans embark on yet another sweeping rewrite of the tax code, many point to the 1986 effort as a model to emulate. It was 'really something special', Donald Trump said in August. However, admirers of America''s last comprehensive revision of its tax code should be disappointed with the GOP''s current attempts.The bill that passed in 1986 took a long, arduous path to President Ronald Reagan''s desk. Originating out of a three-volume report by the Treasury department, it faced numerous brushes with death, and took more than two years to wind its way through Congress. The process included full committee hearings, markups and deliberations. The final bill eliminated many deductions, credits and exemptions that favoured some taxpayers over others. This generated new revenues, which were then used to reduce tax rates, mainly for low and middle-income individuals. The bill did ...
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