Reagan Tax Cuts and 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 Keynesian, 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 Keynesian, 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
-264.4
Interest and Dividends Tax Compliance Act of 1983
-1.8
Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986
-0.2
Tax Reform Act of 1986
-8.9
Total cumulative tax cuts
-275.3
 
Tax Increases
Billions of Dollars
Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982
+57.3
Highway Revenue Act of 1982
+4.9
Social Security Amendments of 1983
+24.6
Railroad Retirement Revenue Act of 1983
+1.2
Deficit Reduction Act of 1984
+25.4
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985
+2.9
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985
+2.4
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986
+0.6
Continuing Resolution for 1987
+2.8
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987
+8.6
Continuing Resolution for 1988
+2.0
Total cumulative tax increases
+132.7

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.


Originally published at The Big Picture and reproduced here with the author’s permission.