Showdown at Gucci Gulch Response Essay

Showdown at Gucci Gulch Response Essay - Response Essay...

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Response Essay: Showdown at Gucci Gulch The economic system in America was struggling when Ronald Reagan served his first term as president. The country faced an enormous annual budget deficit of $250 billion, but the unfair tax system meant that rich individuals and corporations were legally evading tax while the poor paid proportionally more. With the help of clever lobbyists and tax lawyers, Congress had devised a multitude of legal methods for corporations to avoid paying taxes on business income. The public was deeply dissatisfied with the legal loopholes that enabled the rich to avoid paying taxes, but it seemed unlikely that tax reform would actually happen. It was a politically sensitive topic and seemed too complex to take place realistically. Despite all odds, however, the Tax Reform Act passed in 1986 and changed America’s income tax dramatically. Jeffrey Birnbaum and Alan Murray explain in Showdown at Gucci Gulch why tax reform triumphed. Tax reform succeeded not because of a single individual, but was a combination of chance happenings that pushed a group of unlikely reformers to eventually fight for the bill. The main players in the story of tax reform included Bradley, Packwood, Rostenkowski, Regan, Baker, and President Reagan. Most of these men had started out as unlikely advocates of tax reform, but for one reason or another, ended up on the side of tax reform.
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Senator Bill Bradley, the “godfather of reform” (Birnbaum and Murray 6), was the first to fight for it. Out of all the men who ended up working in favor of tax reform, Bradley was the only one who was idealistically dedicated to it. He worked with Gephardt to introduce the Bradley-Gephardt Bill in August 1982, but little attention was paid to this bill. Even though this bill was forgotten, it contained the basic principles that were eventually found in the Tax Reform Act of 1968. President Reagan had a much more prominent role in tax reform; according to Birnbaum and Murray, “the most important player in tax reform was Ronald Reagan himself” (Birnbaum and Murray 286). He also seemed an unlikely reformer, because he believed that the government should not take the taxpayer’s money and that there was no justification for taxing corporations. However, he did believe passionately in lowering individual tax rates, as he had once been a victim of heavy tax rates as a young Hollywood actor. His involvement in tax reform was mostly political though. He was afraid that
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