by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Thirty years ago this week President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986, landmark legislation recognized as the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in our nation’s history. Upon signing the bill into law, President Reagan described the new tax code as one “designed to take us into a future of technological invention and economic achievement, one that will keep America competitive and growing into the 21st century.”
True to these words, the American economy saw remarkable improvements as our nation led the way in developing breakthrough products and technologies. But our tax code also has changed significantly since 1986 — and not for the better. Unlike the American inventions and achievements that have expanded horizons of possibility, our nation’s tax code has become an excessive burden that strangles individual opportunity and economic freedom.
Over the past decade alone, more than 4,400 changes have been made to the U.S. tax code. That equals more than one change per day. Meanwhile, our nation’s tax laws have come to fill more than 70,000 pages, forcing taxpayers to spend an incredible amount of time and money preparing their tax returns each year. A recent study by the Tax Foundation projects that Americans will devote over 8.9 billion hours to complying with IRS tax-filing requirements in 2016.
House Republicans believe that now is the time to move forward with bold, pro-growth tax reform. That’s why, earlier this year, we put forward a detailed blueprint for comprehensive tax reform that will lift the burdens on families and job creators and propel our nation into a new era of economic prosperity and leadership.