We are the 99%

February 6, 2011

Happy Reagan Day (Part II)

As pointed out previously, this is President Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday.

Now while the wingnuts and the rest of the media regurgitate the usual myths of the Reagan years (Reagan ended the Cold War, Reagan was a tax-cutter, etc), I want to point out some truth.

First, from Think Progress. Did you know that Ronald Reagan raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office?

He did. From the transcript:
Former Senator ALAN SIMPSON (Republican, Wyoming): Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration. I was here. I was here. I knew him. Better than anybody in this room. He was a dear friend and a total realist as to politics.

SCOTT HORSLEY: Simpson's recollection is spot on, says historian Douglas Brinkley, the editor of Reagan's diaries.

Professor DOUGLAS BRINKLEY (Rice University): Ronald Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes. He knew that it was necessary at times. And so there's a false mythology out there about Reagan as this conservative president who came in and just cut taxes and trimmed federal spending in a dramatic way. It didn't happen that way. It's false.
They go on to describe how Reagan never really cut much domestic spending but when his early tax cuts kicked in, he was faced with a decision; cuts in entitlements or raising taxes. Guess what?
...Reagan faced a choice between raising taxes and an even bigger federal debt. He chose the tax hikes.
This is RONALD REAGAN we're talking here.

Did you know that federal spending ballooned during the Reagan Administration. And "ballooned" is not, in fact, my term. It's how Reagan's favorite DC newspaper, the Washington Times described it:
During Reagan’s eight years in office, inflation fell from its staggering late-1970s peak, relations with the Soviet Union thawed, the unemployment rate fell and incomes rose. But measured by other standards, income inequality grew and federal spending ballooned. [emphasis added]
And as Will Bunch, author of Tear Down This Myth points out at the Huffington Post, Ronald Reagan would not have approved of torture. In his letter accompanying his signature on the UN Convention Against Torture, Ronald Reagan wrote:
The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called "universal jurisdiction." Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.
Happy Birthday, Ronnie! Ya soft-on-terror, tax-and-spend, big-guv'ment pragmatist!

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