Reagan Tax Cuts & Increases

Bruce Bartlett takes issue with the all-tax-cuts-all-the-time wing of the GOP.

He argues essentially that Reagan was a good Keynsian, passing huge tax cuts during a recession, then taking (half of) them back as the economy expanded:

“It may come as a surprise to some people that once upon a time in the not-too-distant past Republicans actually cared enough about budget deficits that they thought raising taxes was necessary to bring them down. Today, Republicans believe that deficits are nothing more than something to ignore when they are in power and to bludgeon Democrats with when they are out of power.”

Here is his chart of Reagan era tax revenue and costs; Turns out RR was only one half Supply Sider — he was also one half Keynseian, taking back almost 50% of the tax cuts during an expansion:


Legislated Tax Changes by Ronald Reagan as of 1988

Tax Cuts

Billions of Dollars

Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981


Interest and Dividends Tax Compliance Act of 1983


Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986


Tax Reform Act of 1986


Total cumulative tax cuts

Tax Increases

Billions of Dollars

Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982


Highway Revenue Act of 1982


Social Security Amendments of 1983


Railroad Retirement Revenue Act of 1983


Deficit Reduction Act of 1984


Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985


Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985


Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986


Continuing Resolution for 1987


Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987


Continuing Resolution for 1988


Total cumulative tax increases


Source: Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1990 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989), p. 4-4.

From Bruce Bartlett's blog

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