×

Fill out the brief form below for access to the free report.

  • George W. Bush Institute

    Our Ideas

  • Through our three Impact Centers — Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda — we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

I'm interested in dates between:
--

Taking Action

Advancing Policy

Developing Leaders

Issues

I have minutes to read today:

Programs & Issues

Taking Action

Advancing Policy

Developing Leaders

Issues

Publication Type
Date
I'm interested in dates between:
--
Reading Time

I have minutes to read today:

Setting the 1950s Tax Record Straight

April 17, 2013 by Matthew Denhart

High taxes don’t hurt growth, and the 1950s are proof.

At least that’s the argument some people have been making lately. But does the experience of the 1950s really reconcile high tax rates with strong growth?

Many scholars have looked into this question and concluded, after serious examination, that that the pro-tax argument does not hold water. Rather than summarize their points in this short blog, I encourage interested readers to check out some of the convincing analysis of this topic that has been published recently.

Joseph Thorndike, a Bush Fellow and respected tax historian, has authored a detailed study unpacking many of the common assumptions and misconceptions about the 1950s.

In a January 2013 column for Bloomberg, my Bush Center colleague Amity Shlaes writes that many people’s conceptions about 1950s tax history are fantasies.

Just this week, the Wall Street Journal published an Op-Ed by Lawrence Mone titled “There’s No Going Back to the 1950s Tax System.”

And finally, the Manhattan Institute has just released a study by Arpit Gupta which concludes that “…it is potentially misleading to imagine that U.S. taxes in the 1950s can serve as a model for a better approach in 2013.”


Author

Matthew Denhart
Matthew Denhart

Matthew Denhart is an expert on immigration policy and is the author of the Bush Institute’s America's Advantage: A Handbook of Vital Immigration and Economic Growth Statistics, now in its third edition. He currently serves as executive director of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and is a founder of the Coolidge Scholars Program which provides full-ride merit scholarships to America's most promising college students. A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University, Denhart has written and spoken widely on a variety of policy topics including the economics of higher education, labor, and taxes. He has contributed articles to numerous national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, CNN Opinion, and Bloomberg View. 

Full Bio