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Tax Reform Act

Some bipartisan moments are borne of a desire to stand on high moral principles, others are borne of more down-to-earth interests. In the divided government of 1986, Republican President Ronald Reagan found himself with a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. While the situation seemed ripe for gridlock, when it came to the 1986 Tax Reform Act, just the opposite happened — nobody wanted to look like the bad guy who killed tax reform. Lowering taxes was a hallmark of Reagan’s presidential campaigns; reforming the tax code was a goal of both parties (Democrats favored simplifying the system and eliminating loopholes, Republicans favored treating capital gains and investment income the same as regular income). An unlikely alliance was formed. Add in two powerful committee chairmen in the House (Rep. Dan Rostenkowski) and Senate (Sen. Bob Packwood) who saw passage of the bill as a test of their political might and the United States got what cynics said could never be done: the biggest and most complete overhaul of the tax code in post-war America.

1986-01-01 00:00:00

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