George Bush Sr. on Tax Reform
President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)
Others have pushed him to cut payroll taxes on a one-time basis, a move that would have helped middle- and lower-class workers the most because Social Security and Medicare taxes make up a proportionately larger share of their tax burden than it does for wealthier taxpayers.
Reneging on his campaign promise to Americans, the President agreed to a tax increase in 1990 as part of the $492 billion deficit reduction package passed by Congress. He felt compelled to compromise because of the rapidly escalating costs of salvaging the savings-and-loan industry. In exchange for agreeing to a tax increase, Bush insisted on cutting the capital-gains tax to benefit those who earned more than $200,000 a year.
He admitted later that it was the "biggest mistake" of his presidency. Democrats applauded him: "He laid the economic foundation for the prosperity that Bill Clinton took credit for in the 1990's."
"You are going to get killed [in the midterm elections]," said the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "This is the most sacred pledge Bush ever made."
The contentious young Turks in the House were focusing on domestic policy and social issues. They wanted a capital gains tax cut, enterprise zones for cities, and tax fairness for families. Bush may have promised not to raise taxes, but he had not promised to cut them.
In White House Daze, Charles Kolb was rougher. He spoke for most Conservatives when he wrote: "With this one assertion [violating the no-tax pledge], Bush squandered not only his capital but also his credibility. Democrats now knew for a certainty that he would compromise with them on even his most fundamental 'beliefs.'" It was a blow to the middle class, many of them Reagan Democrats that would doom the Bush presidency. Public cynicism would skyrocket and voter participation would decline.
|Other past presidents on Tax Reform:||George Bush Sr. on other issues:|
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Past Vice Presidents:
Natural Law Party