In 1986, however, everything changed. Conservatives joined liberals in scorning the tax credit as a “subsidy” as if allowing people to spend their own money is the same thing as giving them some of other peoples money! and in rejecting the tax credit approach as a “loophole,” a breach in the noble ideal of a monolithic uniformity of taxation. Instead of trying to get peoples taxes as low as possible, reducing taxes where they could, conservatives now adopted the ideal of a monolithic, “fair,” imposition of an equal pain on everyone in society.
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was supposed to bring sweet simplicity to our tax forms, and to bring about fairness without changing total revenue. But when Americans finally got through wending their way through the thickets of their tax forms, they found everything so complex that even the IRS couldnt understand what was going on and most of them found that their tax payments had gone up. And there were no tax credits to bring them solace.