How L.B.J. Pushed Through Kennedy’s Tax CutRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: LBJ, JFK, taxes
Bruce Bartlett held senior policy roles in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and served on the staffs of Representatives Jack Kemp and Ron Paul. He is the author of The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform — Why We Need It and What It Will Take.
In posts on Jan. 22, 2013, and Sept. 24, 2013, I discussed how President John F. Kennedy came to support a big tax cut and his struggle to get it passed in the House of Representatives against strong conservative resistance, because of concerns about the deficit. After his assassination, it was left to Lyndon B. Johnson to achieve final action on the tax cut, which was accomplished 50 years ago this week when the Senate voted in favor of it on Feb. 7, 1964.
Since the beginning of the tax cut debate, the White House knew the Senate was going to be a much tougher sell than the House of Representatives. The Senate Finance Committee, in particular, was a serious problem, because the Democratic side was heavily stacked with conservative Southern Democrats. They opposed budget deficits regardless of whether they arose from tax cuts or spending increases. And the committee chairman, Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. of Virginia, strongly opposed the tax cut.
Typical among the Southern Democrats on the Finance Committee was the view of Senator Albert Gore Sr. of Tennessee: “It is not sound policy to borrow money to cut taxes.” Moreover, tax cuts would impair the government’s ability to spend on pressing national priorities, he said.
This latter view is one that is commonly called “starve the beast” and was one of the arguments Ronald Reagan made in favor of his tax cut in 1981. That is, a beneficial effect of the tax cut was that it would force Congress to cut spending to reduce the deficit....
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Soviet Politburo Discussed CIA Billion Dollar Spy Adolf Tolkachev
- Pentagon withholds Iraq War photos showing detainee abuse
- These Rebels Have Amassed A Library From Syria’s Ruins
- Was 1916 fire at Canadian Parliament set by German saboteur?
- United Nations Calls On U.S. To Pay African Americans Reparations For Slavery
- Juan Cole says America’s inclination to turn to the military started with Manifest Destiny
- History Jobs Drop
- Paul Krugman gives credence to Robert J. Gordon's pessimism about American economic growth
- Harvard President Drew Faust Condemns Free Tuition Proposal from Outsider Overseers Ticket
- Andrew Roberts says Trump is the Mussolini of America with double the vulgarity