1937-1987: The Tax Foundation?s First Fifty Years

January 15, 2007

As we celebrate our 70th anniversary this year, we look back at Tax Foundation history. We have just posted a 10-page Tax Foundation report published in 1987 titled “The Tax Foundation, 1937-1987: The First Fifty Years.”

The report summarizes the Tax Foundation’s beginnings in New York and 50 years of contributions to sound tax policy at the federal, state, and local levels. An excerpt:

In 1954 the Magill Committee issued a “Federal Finances” study in conjunction with passage of the nation’s second Internal Revenue Code, which amended and recodified all Federal income tax law passed from its inception in 1913 up to that time. Tax Foundation research had played a part in the congressional deliberations that led up to this historic legislation, much of it behind the scenes — a Foundation role that was repeated thirty years later when Congress began the preliminaries that led to adoption of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, also known as the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Along with research, the Tax Foundation in the Fifties expanded one of its original initiatives: The preparation and publication of novel dramatizations of tax-related ideas and issues. “Tax Bite in an 8-hour Day,” a Foundation concept backed by expert research, is one example. The computations are made and publicized on an annual basis to this day, giving the general public a quick snapshot of the tax impact on their personal work and social lives. Another instance of this kind of “macro information” … was a brief presentation entitled, “A Hundred Taxes on a Loaf of Bread.” This captured the interest and attention of President Dwight Eisenhower, who quoted it — and that led to extensive references in the press and elsewhere, “arousing more consciousness about tax burdens than a thousand tables of statistics” according to one observer at the time.

Read the full report here.


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