Trump touts 1980s tax law that he once called a ‘catastrophe’

Trump touts 1980s tax law that he once called a ‘catastrophe’
© WhiteHouse.gov

President Trump on Wednesday praised the 1986 Tax Reform Act while unveiling his administration's plans on tax reform, marking an apparent reversal from his previous criticism of the law. 

“Our last major tax rewrite was 31 years ago,” Trump said to a crowd of supporters in Springfield, Missouri, on Wednesday, referring to the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

“It was really something special… In 1986, Ronald Reagan led the world, cutting our tax base by 34 percent. Under this pro-America system, our economy just went beautifully through the roof,” Trump continued.

In 1999, however, Trump penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal blasting former President Reagan's administration over the law. 

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Trump at the time ripped the elimination of the "passive loss" deduction, a tax shelter for real estate developers that Trump faulted the bill for eliminating "overnight." In his op-ed, Trump argues that the provision in the 1986 bill was "one of the worst ideas in recent history."

"It was a hard time for developers like me," Trump wrote. "Many of my competitors, as well as the contractors, builders and workers who depended on them, went under."

And even earlier, in 1991, Trump called the act "an absolute catastrophe for the country."

“This tax act was just an absolute catastrophe for the country, for the real estate industry, and I really hope that something can be done,” Trump said at the time.

Republicans are gearing up to make tax reform the next major legislative issue for the Trump administration and the GOP Congress after the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare failed in July. A crucial vote on a "skinny repeal" of the law failed just before the August recess began by a vote of 51-49.