NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A Winning Tax-Cut Strategy

October 20, 1999

The Republicans' tax cut bill failed to become law for several reasons: it was complex and people really didn't understand it, and President Clinton incorrectly kept describing it as "gargantuan" and "huge."

Political analysts are suggesting that the GOP can avoid such a defeat in the future by concentrating only on those parts which are likely to garner public support -- then pass those items as separate bills and see if Clinton will risk a succession of unpopular vetoes.

Would he be prepared to veto:

  • A bill that would reduce the marriage penalty for three million couples?
  • A bill that would abolish the useless death tax levied on family-owned businesses and farms -- which often forces heirs to sell those properties simply to pay the taxes?
  • A bill that would protect middle-income Americans from the alternative minimum tax, which by not being indexed for inflation is victimizing people of modest means?
  • A bill that would allow people to raise their annual contributions to IRAs from $2,000 to $5,000?

There are other worthwhile provisions in the GOP's tax plans -- such as indexing capital gains for inflation and extending the research and development tax credit. But these are more difficult to explain and probably would not generate the level of public support needed.

Source: Pete du Pont (National Center for Policy Analysis), "Step-by-Step Strategy for Trimming Taxes," Washington Times, October 20, 1999.


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