Skip to comments.The fact-free world of Reagan myth making
Posted on 01/03/2012 1:10:44 PM PST by presidio9
CBSs 60 Minutes ran a profile on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Sunday night, and there was one portion of the interview that has generated controversy. When asked by Leslie Stahl whether President Reagan compromised, Cantor dodged the question. Stahl then stated matter-of-factly that Reagan raised taxes. This is when Cantor's press aide off camera interrupted the interview stating "that's not true. I can't let that stand." As a matter of fact, it is true.
Here is the clip of that portion of the interview and a discussion with Ezra Klein about Reagan having raised taxes a dozen times during his presidency on The Ed Show. Klein points out that the head of the Reagan Legacy Project is Grover Norquist, who has a vested interest in promoting the myth of "Saint Ronnie the Tax Slayer" to justify his "no new taxes ever" ideology.
Steve Benen has more on this at the Political Animal - Cantor cant handle the truth about Reagan:
Cantors press secretary, off camera, interrupted the interview, yelling that Stahl was lying when she said Reagan raised taxes. As Stahl told 60 Minutes viewers, There seemed to be some difficulty accepting the fact that even though Ronald Reagan cut taxes, he also pushed through several tax increases, including one in 1982 during a recession.
Lets call some difficulty a dramatic understatement.
Unfortunately for Cantor and his press secretary, reality is stubborn. The facts are indisputable: in Ronald Reagans first term, he signed off on a series of tax increases even when unemployment was nearing 11% and proceeded to raise taxes seven out of the eight years he was in office. The truth is, no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people as Reagan.
Of particular interest is the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, the largest of Reagans tax increases, and generally considered the largest tax increase as a percentage of the economy in modern American history. In fact, between 1982 and 1984, Reagan raised taxes four times, and as Bruce Bartlett has explained more than once, Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his eight years in office.
Why do Cantor, his press secretary, and Republicans everywhere deny what is plainly true? Because reality is terribly inconvenient: the GOP demi-god rejected the right-wing line on always opposing tax increases; he willingly compromised with Democrats on revenue; and the economy soared after Reagan raised taxes, disproving the Republican assumption that tax increases always push the nation towards recessions.
In other words, Reagans legacy makes the contemporary Republican Party look ridiculous. No wonder Cantors press secretary started yelling: Stahl was bringing up facts that are never supposed to be repeated out loud.
The question here is straightforward. Stahl said Reagan raised taxes; Cantors press secretary said "that's not true." One side is right; one side is wrong. Benen continues at the Political Animal - Lets not parse the meaning of tax increase:
Either Reagan signed tax increases into law or he didnt. Even conservatives should be able to accept these basic terms.
And in this case, reality is crystal clear and the facts are indisputable: in Ronald Reagans first term, he signed off on a series of tax increases even when unemployment was nearing 11% and proceeded to raise taxes seven out of the eight years he was in office. The truth is, no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people as Reagan.
Its true that Reagan cut taxes in 1981, but a year later, he also approved what is generally considered the largest tax increase as a percentage of the economy in modern American history.
And unfortunately for the right, the economy boomed shortly thereafter.
Theres nothing to debate here. Between 1982 and 1984, Reagan raised taxes four times, and as Bruce Bartlett who worked for Reagan has explained more than once, Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his eight years in office.
When we can deny indisputable facts and deny reality, we are headed down the rabbit hole into a dangerous world of make believe. We have had enough of that lunacy over the past 30 years.
Wrong. The president doesn’t have the power to raise taxes. That privilege is reserved for Congress. Reagan might have signed tax increases proposed by Congress, but, literally speaking, HE did not raise taxes.
Bingo! He approved tax increases. He compromised with a Democrat Congress to get things done. His ideology generally won the day... but he did have to make some concessions... remember amnesty? He held up his side of the bargain... Congress did not.
It bothers me when ideologues on both sides ignore history. It bothers me ever more when they try to change it.
Reagan made the best deal possible in 1982 with democrats in control of congress, but Tip O’Neall reneged on the spending cuts. Ms Stahl was half right on her assertion, but mislead viewers by not telling the full story.
It’s almost like Media Matters is executive producer for 60 Minutes.
Funny how the leftists never want to mention the fact that he massively cut the top tax rate from 70% down to 28%.
What an underhanded approach to rewriting history. This article might as well have said conservatives will have to accept that a lot of socialist legislation was passed under Reagan — which is true, but those laws weren’t composed by Ronald Reagan and certainly were not in line with Reagan’s philosophy. R Reagan was swimming upstream against an intense opposition by the leftists but despite that opposition he made great strides in reducing tax constrictions while clearing the road for economic growth. He inspired optimism and entrepreneurial drive. And, he did it with a smile. Reagan had a way of seeing through to winning a war and not being defeated by each little battle—that was one of his great attributes.
Somehow I don’t think closing loopholes carries the same weight as out and out raising of tax rates.
“proceeded to raise taxes seven out of the eight years he was in office.”
Kinda ironic that the writer never quantifies the accusation.
Reagan was saddled with a heavily Democrat congress who insisted on raising taxes. Liberals always like to create the pretense that Reagan initiated the tax increases when in fact he was hostage to a Dem Congress that insisted on them and had the power to stymie him. The simple fact is he dramatically reduced the top tax bracket from 70% to 28%, Despite a heavily Dem congress insisting on subsequent tax increases Reagan left office with Americans dramatically paying less in net taxes than when he entered office.
Reagan agreed to a compromise which included raising taxes in exchange for the democrats reducing some spending. In typical democrat style, the taxes were implemented, but the spending cuts never materialized. The truth is in the congressional record, should you care to do the research instead of trying to rewrite history.
When Reagan took office in 1980, there were 16 tax brackets ranging from 0% ($3,400 or less) to 70% ($215,400). When Reagan left office in 1988 there were 2 brackets: 15% (income up to $29,750) and 28% for income over $29,750). Coincidentally, revenues increased from $517.1 billion to $909.2 billion. Sadly, the democrat controlled congress spent at an even faster rate (from a -$73.8 billion dollar deficit in 1980 to -$221.2 billion dollar deficit in 1986).
Facts really are stubborn things.
These leftist in the article are all damned liars and here’s why: They know perfectly well the difference between a president signing legislation into law and a president leading legislators to write a particular law. They know perfectly well that Reagan, given absolute power would have turned away the legislation they link to him personally.
Its so absurd its almost funny. If ordinary Americans remember President Reagan as a tax-cutter rather than a tax-raiser, its not because they are victims of some kind of elaborate deception perpetrated by the Great Communicator. Its because President Reagan, well, cut tax rates.
Even the left-leaning web site Slate didnt buy the "1982-biggest-peacetime-tax-increase in history" line when it was used against one of its congressional creators, Sen. Robert Dole, in the 1996 presidential campaign. Slate said, most of Dole's tax increase was actually the partial repeal of future tax cuts that had been enacted in 1981 but had not yet taken place. Despite Dole's bill, taxpayers received more than $375 billion in tax cuts over the following three years Almost $50 billion of Dole's 1982 projected revenue was supposed to come from cracking down on tax cheats, by adding staff to the IRS, and requiring financial institutions to withhold interest and dividends the way employers withhold wages. (This provision was repealed the next year, before it could take effect.) Is getting people to pay taxes they already owe but would otherwise escape a tax increase?
Look closely, because this is likely to be the first and last time I ever quote Reason magazine to make a point about Ronald Reagan.
First, the author needs some private schooling on how to put together a thought succinctly.
Reagan first led the cause to re-write the tax code to “flat” tax type simplicity and lowered the highest brackets into one. Over the years, as the simplicity was molested, loopholes were closed and indeed, there was likely more of a tax burden on the wealthiest while at the same time making the tax code simpler. There were less nooks and crannies for armies of accountants to exploit, thereby making the whole tax code better.
To make the ridiculous jump that these we all tax increases is absurd and dishonest. Yes, taxes did get raised after they were cut under Reagan's watch, but not at his behest, like (add any democratic president here) did and still does.
Funny how they try to peg tax increases on Reagan but give Clinton credit for welfare reform.
Reagan first cut taxes to help fix a bad economy. then,since raising taxes slows down the economy,once the economy was strong, he raised taxes to prevent it from becoming overheated.
When a liberal says, “let’s not quibble over the definition of” something, you can be sure that is exactly what the liberal has done.
Tax increases do not make the economy grow.
Now, admit that Obama is 100% responsible for this economy being in the doldrums the way it is. No one else, no blaming predecessors, no blaming staff. He’s managed this thing from the beginning, Bush even asked him what HE wanted to do with the TARP thing, since he had been already elected. This is the obama recession, no one elses.
Tax increases do not make the economy grow. They may be less destructive at some times than others, but they are never con-structive.
This is pertinent and the answer will tell you whether Mary Smegma has a valid point or is full of crap.
Reagan signed into law some domestic spending that was demanded by the Democrats, to get the defense spending needed.
Rather like the deal that GW Bush made to get the ‘surge’ to win in Iraq.
compared to the high price of the Afghanistan ‘mini-surge’ bought by the Obamination’s massive domestic spending increase, Reagan and Bush look like freakin’ genius negotiators.
The fact is that the tax burden on Americans of all strata was lower when Ronald Reagan left office than when he took office. Thus, Reagan was a tax cutter, not a tax raiser. And this doubled revenues over a decade (following the increases in revenues from the Coolidge tax cuts and the Kennedy tax cuts.)