Jimmy Carter photo

Tax Reduction and Reform Remarks Concerning Proposals Submitted to the Congress.

April 17, 1978

THE PRESIDENT. Good afternoon, everybody.

Today the congressional committee began to mark up the tax reform proposals that we submitted to the Congress, and today also happens to be the date, each year, when American people have to pay their taxes for last year.

Many American citizens at this time of the year wonder why in the world the tax codes, the tax laws, are so complicated and so unfair. We here in Washington don't hear clearly the voices of those who are concerned, who are cheated by the present tax laws, who don't understand the complicated tax codes, and who have been treated unfairly for many years.

All these people want, the average American family, is a simple tax code that's fair. The voices that we hear in Washington when tax reform is proposed are the voices of those special interest groups, because they are powerful, are rich, are influential, and are present here through lobbyists and spokesmen and lawyers and accountants, are trying to protect the selfish special privilege that has been carved out for them in the past, and whose tax bills have to be paid by the average American workman and the average American family.

These average Americans foot the bill for the rich and others who mark off from their tax payments high-priced meals, high-priced theater tickets, ball game tickets, first-class air travel, even country club dues. And because the expenses of Government are fairly well fixed because of the services demanded, somebody has to pay when those rich, influential people don't. And the ones who pay are the quiet, average American working family members who expect to be protected, but quite often are not.

The low and middle American families also pay the taxes for the multinational corporations who have special privileges concerning foreign earnings and, in the process, also are encouraged to export jobs that are badly needed here in our own country.

Under the proposals that have been made to Congress for tax reform, tax reduction, families who earn between $10,000 and $30,000 a year would have their taxes cut about $300 if the proposals go into effect.

But tax reform is not just economic. The tax codes touch, perhaps, more Americans than any other laws that we have. And the tax codes quite often are the measuring stick by which citizens can judge the effectiveness of their own Government and the fairness of their own Government and evolve, therefore, trust in their own Government.

I've seen recent news stories that said that there is no enthusiasm in Washington for tax reform. But there's a lot of enthusiasm in the White House, there's a lot of enthusiasm in the Treasury Department, and there's a lot of enthusiasm among American citizens who are tired of being treated unfairly and want to see tax reform implemented.

If the American people will let their voices be heard to equal those of the special interests, then the Congress will hear, and tax reform will finally go into effect in our country.

If we don't succeed in all our efforts this year, I intend to come back next year and the next and the next to make sure that American voices are heard and that our tax reform proposals are implemented and that tax codes will be simple and fair.

Thank you very much.


I might say that the meetings that we had this weekend at Camp David were profitable, very helpful to me, and I think that every member of the Cabinet, every member of the White House staff would agree with those assessments.

We measured how our administration had performed so far. We analyzed some problems and some failures that have been widely publicized. We recommitted ourselves to carrying out the commitments that I made during the campaign and to make our Government, from the executive branch, be more effective.

Thank you very much.

REPORTER. Will you do things differently, sir? Did you reach some decisions about different processes?

THE PRESIDENT. We'll do things better.

Note: The President spoke at 5:10 p.m. to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House.

Jimmy Carter, Tax Reduction and Reform Remarks Concerning Proposals Submitted to the Congress. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/245229

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives