The Trump Files: Donald Told Congress the Reagan Tax Cuts Were Terrible

Now he’s proposing virtually the same thing.

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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on July 12, 2016.

Donald Trump loves to (falsely) complain at his rallies and speeches that America is “the highest-taxed country in the world.” His tax plan would slash income tax rates and deliver huge savings to the richest Americans. But he wasn’t always a fan of trickle-down, supply-side tax cuts.

In 1991, Trump told the House Budget Committee’s Subcommittee on Urgent Fiscal Matters that President Ronald Reagan had screwed up with his 1986 tax cuts, which cut the highest income tax rates nearly in half, from 50 percent to 28 percent.

“In the real estate business we’re in an absolute depression, and one of the reasons we’re there is what happened in 1986,” he said. “Something has to be done. It has to be brought back. It has to be reformed.”

Trump contended that the low income tax rates took away rich people’s reason to invest and that the economy as a whole suffered as a result. He recommended a return to much higher rates for the rich, arguing that they cause more people to invest in real estate. But he didn’t quite explain why that would happen. “The fact is that 25 percent for high-income people—for high-income people—it should be raised substantially,” he said. “I say leave the middle, leave the low—lower ’em. But people with money have to have the incentive.”

A tax rate of 25 percent (which Trump erroneously thought was the top income tax rate at the time) is now the maximum income tax rate that Trump calls for in his 2016 tax plan.

Read the rest of “The Trump Files”:

 

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In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

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