The Senate: Surtax Under Siege

In theory, the surtax is a fiscal mechanism, a key weapon in the fight against inflation. In practice—as two Presidents have discovered to their chagrin—Congress has found it a handy lever for forcing its fiscal views on the Chief Executive. Last year a House coalition compelled Lyndon Johnson to accept stringent budget cuts before they would pass the tax. This year liberals in the Senate are demanding as their price for extending the surcharge a major overhaul of the entire tax structure.

So strong is the sentiment for tax revision that the House would not consider the...

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