NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Supermajorities As A Roadblock To Tax Increases

December 29, 1998

The Constitution enumerates 10 instances where a supermajority -- two-thirds of those present and voting -- is needed to approve particularly important congressional decisions. The Republicans want to add an 11th: any proposal to raise federal taxes.

  • With only a simple majority needed to increase taxes, federal taxes have grown from 5 percent of a family's income in 1934 to at least 20 percent today.
  • Before the GOP took control of Congress, 18 of the last 19 Democrat-controlled Congresses passed tax hikes -- including the $241 billion increase in 1993, that would have been blocked had a two-thirds majority been required.
  • Four other tax hikes going back to 1984 would have failed had a two-thirds majority been required.
  • Those four took a total of $660 billion more from taxpayers' wallets.

Advocates of a supermajority for any tax increase contend that the present tax drain for Americans is no less important to them than the other policy issues requiring a two-thirds vote.

Source: Editorial, "A Supermajority for Tax Hikes," Investor's Business Daily, December 29, 1998.


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