Read My Lips: Exploring The Origins of America's Anti-Tax Political Culture

 
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Today in Washington, Republicans are working to pass a tax bill that would amount to over a $1.4 trillion tax cut over the next 10 years.

Included in the bill is a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would save more than $300 billion over 10 years, but would leave 13 million people uninsured.

"Rather than buy the insurance that supposedly we want them to buy, we overprice it and then we penalize them when they can't afford it," said Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on Wednesday. "So we're going to repeal the tax on poor Americans. It'll amount to about $43 billion over the next 10 years. That'll be a huge influx of money into their pockets that right now they're having to pay the federal government."

Cornyn argues that the mandate “penalizes” Americans by making citizens pay up to the federal government. It’s a similar message to that of Ronald Reagan back in 1981.

"We will restore the freedom of all men and women to excel and to create. We will unleash the energy and genius of the American people, traits which have never failed us," he said.

That was the year Reagan passed his tax bill, still viewed as the gold standard in Republican tax cuts. Here, we look at the history of America's relationships with taxes, and how we came to be on the precipice of yet another major cut.

Molly Michelmore, professor at Washington & Lee University, and author of “Tax and Spend: The Welfare State, Tax Politics and the Limits of American Liberalism,” discusses the evolution of tax policy in America, and how Republicans became the party of tax cuts.

And Vanessa Williamson, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of “Read My Lips: Why Americans are Proud to Pay Taxes,” examines how Americans have actually viewed taxes over the years.

This segment is hosted by Todd Zwillich

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