Since the 1960s, tax rates on very high incomes have been slashed dramatically, starving public investments in schools and roads and everything else needed to build our economy, and providing ever-greater incentives to rig the economy’s rules to send more money to the top.
A predecessor Minimum Tax was enacted by the Tax Reform Act of 1969 and went into effect in 1970. Treasury Secretary Joseph Barr prompted the enactment action with an announcement that 155 high-income households had not paid a dime of federal income taxes. The households had taken advantage of so many tax benefits and deductions that reduced their tax liabilities to zero. Congress responded by creating an add-on tax on high-income households, equal to 10% of the sum of tax preferences in excess of $30,000 plus the taxpayer's regular tax liability.