Presidential Videos on Taxes

April 14, 2010

The Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia has put together an excellent website with video clips of the last several U.S. presidents speaking on tax policy.

President Kennedy speaking at the IRS on tax burdens and efficiency:

"[S]o many taxpayers have become so preoccupied with so many tax-saving devices that business decisions are interfered with, and the efficient functioning of the price system is distorted.

"Moreover, special provisions have developed into an increasing source of preferential treatment to various groups. Whenever one taxpayer is permitted to pay less, someone else must be asked to pay more. The uniform distribution of the tax burden is thereby disturbed and higher rates are made necessary by the narrowing of the tax base. Of course, some departures from uniformity are needed to promote desirable social or economic objectives of overriding importance which can be achieved most effectively through the tax mechanism. But many of the preferences which have developed do not meet such a test and need to be reevaluated in our tax reform program."

President Johnson discussing tax reductions and other programs during his 1964 State of the Union, urging passage of what we know as the Revenue Act of 1964 that greatly reduced individual and corporate tax rates:

President Reagan signs the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which eliminated many unjustifiable exemptions and deductions, and lowered tax rates. (Many of the exemptions and deductions have since made their way back in.):

Check out the rest here.


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