The 1986 tax reform plan getting so much love from Republicans is supposed to be the genius move of one Ronald Reagan, the icon of contemporary Republicans. While there is a lot of myth-making involved in the Reagan fantasy, we have data to help us view the success of his tax cuts.
If you look at the post-1986 growth of the economy, you may be surprised to see a less than inspiring result. It's not until that bum, Bill Clinton, takes office and raises taxes that we get solid economic growth.
All this tells us is that tax policy may not be the elixer of economic growth. For sure it tells us that cutting taxes has a poor track record of increasing growth.
Currently Republicans are pushing several absurdities: One is that cutting corporate taxes will be a great benefit to workers. The historical facts indicate that 80% of corporate tax cuts go to the shareholders and management gets a good chunk too. Another myth is that tax cuts increase economic growth. In addition to the Reagan record, check out the benefits of the Bush tax cut in 2001 on our chart. The decline is still going in 2005. The final claim is the most ridiculous: Tax cuts pay for themselves. If that were true we would have no deficit. The Kansas Kalamity brought about by Gov. Sam Brownback's implementation of that very doctrine is the most recent failure of that canard. Of course, Reagan and Bush experienced the same failure. Sorry boys, this is not one of those counter-intuitive results. You cut taxes, revenue falls. Deficits ensue. Tax cuts have not paid for themselves in the past and they do NOT pay for themselves in 2017.