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Senator Byron Dorgan on Differences Between the 1986 Tax Reform Push and 2017

The year 1986 was the last time meaningful tax reform happened in recent US history. Arent Fox senior policy advisor and former Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) was on the House Ways and Means Committee at that time.

In an interview with NPR’s Marketplace, Dorgan describes “a mood in the country that the tax system in our country was not fair, it was too complicated,” pointing out that the issue was one that both President Ronald Reagan and Congressional Democrats campaigned on. In the mid-1980s, despite philosophical and party differences, the Republican Treasury Secretary under Reagan worked with the Democratic Committee to mark up the proposed legislation, something that Senator Dorgan believes “…would never happen today.” The bipartisan legislation was successful, broadening the base and lowering the tax rate. The willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion does not seem to exist in today’s political climate. Click here to read the article in full and here to listen to an audio version.


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