Think about how much has changed since 1981. Back then Iran had just released American hostages; Lech Walesa’s leadership of an independent trade union in Poland led to his arrest; and a new cable channel was begun — airing only music videos.

That year, the House of Representatives approved an increase in the tax-deductible amount Americans could invest annually in individual retirement accounts, raising it by 33%, to $2,000. In the two decades since then the world has changed. The Ayatollah and the Iron Curtain are gone. Music videos are all too commonplace. But for many Americans their savings and investments are hamstrung by the limit established by the 97th Congress.

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