Tax and Fiscal Policy It’s Been Thirty Years


Next time you’re Googling, check out the history of the U.S. tax system: the last time it was updated, online search engines didn’t even exist. Today officially marks 30 years since the Senate passed the last significant tax overhaul, the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Given today’s anniversary, it’s only fitting that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady released a blueprint for comprehensive tax reform. Their initial plan includes many pro-growth tax reforms that will demonstrate the importance of finding policy solutions that boost American workers and businesses.

Tax experts project that modernization of the U.S. tax code can increase wages for American workers and increase jobs by boosting economic growth. Currently, U.S. workers bear nearly 75 percent of the cost of the uncompetitive U.S. corporate tax rate — which at 35 percent, is the highest corporate tax rate of any industrialized nation.

In the 21st century global economy, the United States is losing jobs, companies, entrepreneurs and investment to foreign competitors with tax systems that promote innovation and investment by businesses large and small. The current tax system stifles entrepreneurs looking to move from their garages to global success — constraining the big ideas and innovation that have long been critical to the U.S. economy and bolstered America’s reputation as the cradle of modern innovation.

The uncompetitive corporate tax rate in the United States has already driven hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. business assets and operations into the hands of the global competitors to U.S. businesses and U.S. entrepreneurs. Since 2000, the number of U.S.-headquartered firms in the Global Fortune 500 has fallen 28 percent as companies in the rest of the world have expanded to a global scale. If the U.S. is going to lead and compete worldwide, we must upgrade our outdated tax system to ensure that American workers and the U.S. economy are the beneficiaries of global competition.

There is increasing bipartisan support for pro-growth tax reforms.

There is increasing bipartisan support for pro-growth tax reforms that would relieve U.S. companies and workers of the burden that has been placed on them by an archaic tax system. Recent efforts, like the tax reform blueprint, are encouraging, but a substantial amount of work remains to modernize the outdated U.S. tax code. It’s time to upgrade our tax system.