When Trump Supported Higher Taxes For the Rich

In Taxes On

Republicans often point to Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Tax Reform Act as the kind of ambitious rewriting of the tax laws that is possible with persistence, bipartisan cooperation and strong presidential leadership. Congressional Republicans headed to the Reagan Ranch in California on Wednesday to seek inspiration at a place sacred to the last president who accomplished a sweeping overhaul of the tax code.

But not everyone remembers 1986 with such fondness. President Trump, who has often compared himself to President Reagan, was a fierce critic of the tax legislation.

In 1991, Donald Trump was invited to testify before the House Budget Committee about the impact that the changes to the tax code were having on the construction industry. Mr. Trump, a real estate developer at the time, described the Reagan tax law as an albatross on the economy, warning that such sweeping changes were disrupting deals and stultifying economic growth.

The concerns that he expressed could prove instructive as the Mr. Trump looks to sell his own ambitious tax plan this year.

Never one to be shy, Mr. Trump told lawmakers that the 1986 tax act was essentially wrecking the economy. The central problem, he explained, was changes that were harming the real estate industry, which he described as a keystone to the labor market.

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