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October 24. 2016

ACT Tax Facts: It’s the 30th Birthday of the U.S. Tax Code and The World Is a Very Different Place Today

October 22nd marked the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Tax Reform Act, but the world is a very different place today than it was when the United States last undertook tax reform. Like cassette tapes and fanny packs, the tax code is outdated and out of style. In light of the 30th anniversary of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, we’re taking a look back to see just how much things have changed—

1. In the 1980’s, we relied on fax machines and mail to communicate.

It’s hard to imagine a time when you couldn’t see what was happening at your office when you step out for lunch, or when you had to wait days for someone to reply to your message. In the 1980’s people relied on fax machines and mail to deliver messages, today we can get texts and emails immediately on phones and even watches.

2. In 1986, Pluto was still a planet – before it wasn’t, and then was again.

Discovered by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, Pluto was widely recognized as the ninth planet for nearly 70 years, but in 1996, following the finding of similar entities in the faraway Kuiper Belt, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet, a classification it retains to this day.

3. Driverless cars were viewed as a thing of the future, today they are becoming a reality.

Hollywood helped people imagine the driverless cars of the future in movies like Herbie and shows like the Knight Rider. Today companies such as Google, Audi, Ford, Jaguar and even Uber and Lyft are working to make autonomous vehicles a reality in the next few years.

4. In 1986, IBM released the PC Convertible – one of the world’s earliest laptop computers.

On April 3, 1986, IBM – now known for cloud computing and its AI system Watson – launched the PC Convertible, a machine that would change the world as we know it. While the machine cost over $4,000 in today’s dollars and weighed approximately 13 pounds, it set the stage for the global online community and era of mobile business we know today.

5. James Brown, Elvis Presley and Little Richard were among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1986, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the first 16 awardees into its prestigious club. Thirty years later, over 300 bands, artists and performers have staked their claim in Rock and Roll history at the legendary Hall of Fame.

6. Tom Cruise became a box office star in Top Gun.

In 1986, Tom Cruise joined the ranks of America’s A-list when Top Gun became an instant cult classic. Thirty years – and many Tom Cruise action films – later, the pop culture staple still makes viewers nostalgic for the mid-1980s.

7. People could still smoke cigarettes on commercial airliners – but who would want to?

It was legal to smoke cigarettes on commercial jetliners in the United States until February 25, 1990, when banned on domestic flights by the federal government. Smoking on American flights to international destinations was not banned until nearly ten years later.

8. The top-selling car in 1986 was the Chevy Celebrity and gas was just $0.89 a gallon.

The Chevy Celebrity was the favorite midsize car in the 1980’s – known for its automatic transmission, power steering and breaks and power windows. 30 years later, the Toyota Camry tops the list as the best-selling car, with innovative features including hybrid models, a push button start and a suite of web-based applications that allows passengers to listen to their favorite music on Pandora, book reservations on Open Table and buy movie tickets all from the car.

9. “Power Dressing” was all the rage.

Get big shoulders and get noticed.” Fashion magazines like Vogue and Elle, which was less than one year old at the time, agreed “power dressing” was a woman’s key to success. The broad shouldered silhouettes were defined by shoulder pads, belted waists and lean lines, and for many, indicated a new wave of feminism in the workforce.

10. The United States saw the last federal initiative to amend the corporate tax rate.

In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act into law. When it came into effect, the idea of the internet was nothing more than a distant dream. Since then, dozens of other countries have taken steps to reform their tax codes to fit the changing times.

The world has changed dramatically since 1986, and the United States needs a tax code that reflects just how far we’ve come.  Today, America’s tax system is filled with outdated rules that penalize American businesses and workers. The United States needs a modern tax code that encourages economic growth, spurs job creation and lets American businesses compete in today’s global economy.

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