Jaclyn Neuman Jaclyn Neuman
Former Senior Manager, Member Relations, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Amanda Ziegler


April 19, 2017


When was the last time you pulled out a physical map from your glove compartment? Everything from the way we shop, to how we listen to music, to the way we style our hair has drastically changed in the last 31 years. But what hasn’t changed? The tax code hasn’t been updated since President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Tax Reform Act.

Here’s a list of 10 things that have changed since the last comprehensive tax reform took place in 1986:

1. Looking up friends.

Old rolodex

When was the last time you picked up a phonebook? You may not remember, but it used to take a long time to get in touch. But thanks to Facebook, it now takes seconds.

2. Listening to music.

Cassette Tape

Remember how easy it was to ruin the film on your Michael Jackson cassette tape? Thankfully today a spotty Wi-Fi connection is the only thing standing between you and Drake.

3. Shopping habits.

Shopping Habits

Remember when you had to run to the store after running out of laundry detergent? No worries, today it’s just a click away with Amazon Dash.

4. Capturing memories.

Camera Film

Getting photos developed used to take weeks. Today you can immediately retake a pic if you blinked.

5. Getting around town.

Taxi Airport

Hailing a cab is a thing of the past. Why bother waiting for your ride when you can instantly order an Uber on your phone?

6. “Mobile” devices.

Old Mobile Phone

Your 1980’s two pound receiver phone may have been weighing you down. Thankfully our iPhones are only a slim five ounces these days!

7. The price of a movie.

Drive in Movie

When Netflix just won’t do it for ya, you can grab a ticket to the big screen for an average cost $8.65, a whole $5 more expensive than the 1986 average.

8. TV habits.

Retro television set

Remember planning your night around your favorite program airing at 8/7 central? There’s no need now with Netflix, Hulu, or TiVo.

9. “Searching.”

Library file

Research used to mean flipping through hundreds of pages to find answers in the library. Now, a simple Google search is all you need.

10. News consumption.


From newspaper to newsfeed, the news we consume has shifted from 1000+ word newspapers/magazines to 140 character tweets.

What didn’t change at all? Our tax code. It’s still stuck in the past, and taxes are a critical factor in how most companies make decisions—including whether to expand, hire new workers, or invest in new technologies. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul our tax code in a way that promotes economic growth.

The last time tax reform occurred, the U.S. Chamber played an instrumental part in reaching a deal and getting it passed. We will do the same in 2017 to ensure pro-growth policies are put into place. The reform should:

  • Lower tax rates for all businesses and adopt an internationally competitive system;
  • Shift to a system of full expensing, allowing businesses to write off investments faster; and
  • Bring permanency, simplicity, and clarity to the marketplace.

A perfect code is a challenge, but the Chamber is prepared to champion the pro-growth tax reform our country so desperately needs.. The process to get there may not be easy, but the opportunity to get this done hasn’t presented itself in a while, so we’re going to keep up the drumbeat and strongly encourage Congress and the White House to get it done right.

About the authors

Jaclyn Neuman

Jaclyn Neuman

Jaclyn Neuman is the former Senior Manager of Member Relations for Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Amanda Ziegler