This CNN op-ed about Trump's recent attempts to cut taxes makes some historical claims:

President Kennedy declared at the New York Economic Club that "it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low -- and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now.''


Kennedy was, of course, proven exactly right. After the tax cuts were enacted after his death, America experienced one of the greatest periods of prosperity in our history.

Did tax revenues increase after Kennedy's proposals for tax cuts were enacted more than would have been projected without the tax cuts?

  • Without the right context, this is a very misleading claim. The highest marginal tax rate during Kennedy’s administration was 91%. The tax cut reduced that to 77%. Today it’s 39.6%.
    – Mark
    Dec 15, 2017 at 15:14
  • @Mark: Funny story: when i first posted this question a few hours ago it made that same point, but after another user made some edits to clarify what i was asking that point was dropped. I've since read Wikipedia's account of the Johnson administration's 1964 legislation; apparently tax revenues rose, but hopefully an answer here will eventually indicate whether that was by more than would have been expected without said legislation.
    – J.G.
    Dec 15, 2017 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia states that

The stated goals of the tax cuts were to raise personal incomes, increase consumption, and increase capital investments. Evidence shows that these goals were exceeded by large degree with the combination of tax cuts and domestic spending programs President Johnson advocated, such as Medicare. Unemployment fell from 5.2% in 1964 to 4.5% in 1965, and fell to 3.8% in 1966. Initial estimates predicted a loss of revenue as a result of the tax cuts, however, tax revenue increased in 1964 and 1965.

Source: Wikipedia.

However, tax revenues increase almost every year and comparing to years before and after, revenue increase in the years 1964-65-66 is not prominent at all:

(federal tax revenues and change to the previous year, billions):
1961: 94
1962: 100 (+6)
1963: 107 (+7)
1964: 113 (+6)
1965: 117 (+4)
1966: 131 (+14)
1967: 149 (+18)
1968: 153 (+4)
1969: 187 (+34)
  • I knew the edit a moderator forced on me would lead to confusion eventually, so I've updated my question to make clear how it goes beyond what that Wikipedia page (the one I was discussing with Mark) says about this legislation.
    – J.G.
    Dec 15, 2017 at 15:24
  • @J.G. I added some statistics
    – Common Guy
    Dec 15, 2017 at 15:34
  • To be meanigful, the tax income should probably be adjusted for population (per capita).
    – Raedwald
    Dec 22, 2017 at 9:49

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