1945-1981: Bipartisan Consensus on Taxes
From the end of World War II to the eve of the Reagan administration, both parties saw taxes as an otherwise uninteresting mechanism to raise the money required to pay the bills. The biggest tax cut was secured by John F. Kennedy, whose across-the-board tax reductions were actually opposed by the majority of Republicans in the House. Even after the Kennedy cuts, the top tax rate stood at 70 percent – double its current level. Steeply progressive taxation paid for the postwar investments in infrastructure, science and education that enabled the average American family to get ahead.