Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, at least partly due to his promise that he'd stimulate the economy by reducing too-high federal taxes. After his inauguration, his Republican allies in Congress introduced legislation to make that promise a reality, slashing individual tax rates by 25 percent and cutting levies on businesses and oil producers.
Democratic opponents saw the tax cut as a budget buster that would mostly benefit the wealthy. But in a deft piece of political strategizing, the Republicans managed to peel off enough support from conservative Southern Democrats to make resistance futile, and Democratic leaders had to accept defeat. On July 30, 1981, the Reagan tax cut passed the U.S. Senate by a resounding 89-11 vote, and in the House, by 323 to 107.
President Reagan issued a statement that the "first real tax cut in nearly 20 years" had "removed one of the most important remaining challenges to our agenda for prosperity" [source: Cowan].
While Reagan did make headlines, people preferred to watch another event unfold: The wedding of Britain's Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer attracted an estimated 750 million TV viewers worldwide [source: Hill].