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Lobbying AmericaThe Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA$
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Benjamin C. Waterhouse

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149165

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149165.001.0001

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A Tale of Two Tax Cuts

A Tale of Two Tax Cuts

(p.201) Chapter 7 A Tale of Two Tax Cuts
Lobbying America

Benjamin C. Waterhouse

Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes how the interlocking problems of taxation and the federal budget set the stage for the contentious politics of business in the 1980s. During the Reagan administration, ideological small-government conservatives clashed openly with the heads of manufacturing and other traditional capital-intensive business firms. In spite of their superficial common opposition to Keynesian demand stimulus and organized labor, these disparate groups of conservatives held sharply divergent priorities. Their struggle produced a tale of two tax cuts. One, supported by industrialists, aimed to revitalize manufacturing by providing incentives for investment and savings. The other, an antistatist quest to lower all taxes, garnered greater populist appeal. Although not mutually exclusive—both found a way into Reagan's tax reduction legislation in the summer of 1981—these competing visions marked an emerging schism within the ranks of conservatism.

Keywords:   taxation, federal budget, Reagan administration, small-government conservatives, organized labor, tax cuts, industrialists, antistatists

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