The Myth of Reaganomics

I have just watched the most appalling piece of historical revisionism I have seen in a long time, the first part of the PBS series, The Commanding Heights, first broadcast in 2002. This two hour film purports to show the history of 20th-century economics up through the Reagan administration. Never mind that the film presents this history as a simple contest between the "free market" and "socialism," or as a contest between J. M. Keynes (whom they seem to think was a socialist) and Friedrich Hayek; television, I suppose has to simplify. Nevertheless, you know something is afoot when, in discussing (in glowing terms) Reagan's economic policies, they do not mention the economic theory that was the driving force of the administration's policies and great debate of the day, the now thoroughly discredited supply-side economics.

The film presents Reaganomics as not only an unqualified success, but also as an unqualified victory for the "free market." One can, if one likes, call Reagan's policies a "success"; one cannot, if one is honest, call them "free market." And giving the right name to things is half the problem of understanding them. So what name should we properly give to Reaganomics? To answer that question, we will first have to evaluate what they accomplished, and evaluate it on their own terms, because the best way to evaluate anybody is by the goals they set for themselves; someone can argue about goals others set for them, but there is no disputing an evaluation in terms of one's own stated goals. Reagan stated four goals for his administration: 1) Reduce government spending; 2) Reduce taxes; 3) Balance the budget, and ; 4) Reduce government regulations. Let's look at the numbers to see how well he accomplished these goals. (Incidentally, I take the numbers not from some left-wing Reagan-haters, but from the purest of the Libertarian theorists, Murray Rothbard; you can find his 1986 evaluation of Reagan here.)

Government Spending


In 1980, the last year of Jimmy Carter's administration, the fed­eral government spent $591 billion. In 1986, the federal government spent $990 billion, an increase of 68%. Federal spending as percent of GNP in 1980 was 21.6%, and after six years of Reagan, 24.3%. A better comparison would be percentage of federal spending to net private product, that is, production of the private sector. That percentage was 31.1% in 1980, and a shocking 34.3% in 1986. So whether in absolute terms or in percentages, the Reagan administration has brought us a substantial increase in government spending.

Taxes

Despite the much touted tax cuts of 1981, taxes for the average person actually rose, and they rose every year thereafter. Of course, they weren't called "tax increases," they were called "fees" or "plugging loopholes; but the effect was the same.
The facts are that federal tax receipts were $517 billion in the last Carter year of 1980. In 1986, revenues totaled $769 billion, an increase of 49%. Taxes fell from 18.9% of the GNP to 18.3%, or for a better gauge, taxes as percentage of net private product fell from 27.2% to 26.6%. While that is a slight decrease, it hardly matches the overheated rhetoric. What actually went down was not tax cuts, but tax shifting, from upper income taxpayers, to middle and lower-income taxpayers. This was accomplished through an $165B increase in Social Security taxes, monies which were spent as ordinary revenue. Taxes were increased again in 1986, to prevent a market meltdown.

Balanced Budgets

In the last year of Carter's administration, the budget deficit has $74 Billion. By 1984, the deficit was $200Billion and rising.
In 1980, the debt of the United States was $712 Billion; when Reagan left office, it was over $2 trillion; when the elder Bush left office, it was $3 trillion. This kind of borrowing is also a tax increase, but an increase on future generations; we spend ourselves into prosperity by taking the money form our children; so much for "family values."

Government Regulation

The Reagan administration took credit for the deregulation of the airline and trucking industries, but in fact thses happened, or were begun, under the Carter Administration. All that extra money the Reagan Administration was spending went, in fact, to a larger and more intrusive government.

I have hewed pretty close to Rothbard's critique so as to avoid any charges of mere ideological bias, but in fact there are other grounds on which the "free market" bias of the Reagan administration can be cast into doubt, much less its deliterous social effects. Further, this critique, written in 1986, did not cover the end of his term and the presidency of the Bush I, where the situation only got worse. But if we cannot label Reaganomics as "free market," what should we call them? Clearly, this was not the ideas of Hayek at work, but those of Keynes. Further, it was not merely Keynesian, but hyper-Keynesian, with deficits that would have shocked Keynes himself, and without the moderating influeances of Keynes. In Keynes's theory, the government lowered taxes and borrowed in bad times to prop up demand, and raised taxes in good times to pay off the deficits. In Reagan's hyper-Keynesianism, the government borrowed
all the time to sustain ever-higher levels of demand; the debts just keep piling up, and no matter how low corporate taxes are, they are never low enough.

Why Keynes?

Clearly the Reaganites used Hayek's rhetoric to achieve Keynesian policies, and Hayek himself--to his everlasting shame--connived in this deception. But why the deception in the first place? The answer lies in the fact that America is not, and has not been for over 100 years, a "free market" capitalist country, but a "corporate capitalist" economy, and corporate capitalists require government power to defend their position. The reason is that corporate capitalism is--and has always been--highly unstable. The accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of a relatively small oligarchy has always made economic equilibrium impossible, and it has always been necessary for the government to intervene to prop up demand and insure order. This is the one constant in capitalist history: as corporate power has grown, the size and expense of government has grown; there are no exceptions to this rule. The real historical battle has not been, as The Commanding Heights would have us believe, between "free-market" and "socialist" economies, but between left-wing and right-wing Keynesianism; the left-wing would give greater weight to social concerns, and the right to corporate concerns, but both rely on govmint power.

By the second half of the 20th century, every industrialized nation had adopted some form of Keynesian economics, and they did so whatever the ideological stripe of the regime in power. They did so because they had no choice. Or rather, they had a choice between government intervention and social chaos; their economies had been captured by large corporations, and only a similar growth in government power could insure corporate control on the one hand and some modicum of social peace on the other.

Keynes himself would have been appalled by all of this; he did not guess that the mechanisms he outlined for stabilizing an economy could, in a democracy, so easily be captured by corporate power. Had he been a better student of history, he would have realized that this was an inevitable outcome. Great fortunes need high fences to protect them, fences made of laws and regulations in fortune's favor; and these high fences need big governments to build and defend them.



44 comments:

Dilapidus Friday, July 27, 2007 at 3:10:00 PM CDT  

Wow... and 2002 was prior to the major GOP push for "fairness"

Perhaps it's just as well, as I don't beleive in "trusted sources" of news. Not in any permanent or all encompassing way. Rather that there are places with good reputations and that means that they have a good chance of getting things right.

Then again, I was taught fallacies of logic, and few people younger than me seem to have been.

Dilapidus Friday, July 27, 2007 at 3:11:00 PM CDT  

That first line should have read:

Wow... and 2002 was prior to the major GOP push for "fairness" (wink wink) at PBS

Kevin Friday, July 27, 2007 at 4:12:00 PM CDT  

I'm no expert on the Reagan years (He was out of office by the time I learned my multiplication tables.)

Nevertheless your criticisms leave some questions. Like: What would these figures for government spending and deficit be if you leave out the defense spending? One of the great accomplishments Reagan is often credited with is "outspending the Soviets" on defense, which is supposed to have ended the cold war. Also, how much of the other government spending was items that Reagan wanted to cut out of the budget but couldn't? Remember that he never had a Republican congress to work with.

As for taxes, another praise I've heard of Reagan is that he demonstrated the Laffer Curve was valid. When he cut taxes, the economy grew so much that revenue increased rather than decreasing. Have you looked at the tax burden of say, the median income household as a percentage of their income? I don't know what you would find, I'm just speculating, but that may be a better metric than total revenues as a percent of GDP or whatever else.

knicksgrl0917 Friday, July 27, 2007 at 7:12:00 PM CDT  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Médaille Friday, July 27, 2007 at 7:42:00 PM CDT  

Dear Kevin, It is almost charming to meet someone who still believes in the laughable curve, almost like meeting a phrenologist. The laughing curve is the quaint idea that you could end the deficit by lowering taxes. Of course it didn't then, and it doesn't now. If one was inclined to defend the laugher curve, one would have to do so against Reagan; that is, one would say that Reaganomics wasn't a good test, since Reagan actually raised taxes, not lowered them.

As for giving excuses as for why Reagan didn't meet his goals, well, I suppose you could offer any number of them: The Russians, the Democrats, the Martians, sunspots, whatever; all of them true for all I know. But before one can offer such excuses, one first has to concede that the President did not, in fact, meet those goals, and hence the depiction of him as a bold free market reformer is, in fact, incorrect. He was a corporate Keynesian through and through, and The Commanding Heights is hence pure nonsense.

As for the taxes on the median or average family, you are quite right, that is the place to look. And Reagan doubled (you read that right: doubled> the payroll taxes, taxes that are confined to lower and middle income persons.

Kevin Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 9:36:00 AM CDT  

Can one be a bold free market reformer without succeeding at every task to which one sets their hand? It seems so.

Anyway, I don't think there is any dispute that the Laffer Curve exists. Its more a question of which side of the curve we are on. At a 0% income tax, the government wouldn't collect any money. At a 100% income tax, they similarly wouldn't collect much money, since there would be no benefit to accepting money in exchange for goods and services. Somewhere in between, there must be a point at which revenue is maximized. If it is a laughing curve, the funny part is that it is so obvious.

John Médaille Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 12:50:00 PM CDT  

Kevin,

In order to be considered a "bold free-market reformer," one ought to have instituted some bold free market reforms. If you can think of any such reforms accomplished in the Reagan administration, please feel free to share them with us. The "reforms" that Reagan did accomplish mainly strengthened the hand of govmint and the corporations against the small businessman and the individual citizen.

As for the laughable curve, you are correct that it starts with two theoretical (but impossible) data points, the revenue gathered at 100% and 0% tax rates, which is zero in both cases. But it does not follow, as Laffer claimed, that 1% and 99%, 2% and 98%, etc., will all produce the same revenue. This is without either theoretical or empirical foundation.

There are instances when lowering the tax rate will indeed increase revenues, mainly when the markets a limited by a shortage of capital. But this is not our situation, and hasn't been for a long time, if ever. Such times are characterized by high rates of interest, indicating a shortage of capital. In capital starved markets may increase the amount of capital available for investment.

Our problem is different. We have an excess of capital with little place for it to go. So instead of going for productive investment, most of it goes to usury (consumer credit) or to speculation (the stock market), neither of which provide funds for business expansion.

The Laugher curve remains laughable, an ideological construct to justify predatory practices, without empirical or theoretical justification.

John

Kevin Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 5:21:00 PM CDT  

My best recollection of my economics text does agree with wikipedia's presentation of the Laffer Curve. Neither makes any sort of claim resembling your simplistic presentation. Do you have a source for saying that Laffer claimed revenues would be equal at 1% and 99%, at 2% and 98%? It may be the case that illustrations of the curve are symetrical, but no one is drawing such absurd conclusions from the illustration.

As for Reagan, alas politicians often find reform more difficult than rhetoric. But it can't be denied that he boldly and confidently popularized the ideas of small-government conservativism. I'm not going to be maneuvered into debating the details of a topic I declared my ignorance of at the beginning, but it would be a surprise if all the free-market champions who look so fondly on Reagan's presidency failed to notice that he accomplished none of their ideas. I'll have to go and examine the facts myself sometime. Until then I'll be a strict agnostic on the topic Reagan's accomplishments.

John Médaille Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 5:35:00 PM CDT  

Kevin, you cite Wikipedia, but the at the very top of the entry for the Laffer curve is a chart with precisely what I described. The percentages are not included, and could be anywhere; but the process is the same, and the same nonsense. As your source makes clear, if you bother to actually read it.

As for "Reagan the Reformer," you admit your ignorance yet insist on your argument. I think that is a bad procedure, even if it is standard neoconservative practice. My advice is study first, argue afterwards.

John

Kevin Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 9:37:00 PM CDT  

Please read the clear disclaimer directly under that illustration.

You have stated that Laffer claimed "that 1% and 99%, 2% and 98%, etc., will all produce the same revenue." No professional economist would be so foolish as to claim this.

Its also curious to me that you you say I "insist" on my "argument" about Reagan. To which argument are you referring? Feel free to quote me. Try to do better explaining my view than you did with Mr. Laffer's.

Trevor Monday, July 30, 2007 at 10:33:00 AM CDT  

John,


Your criticism of the the Laffer curve is misplaced. The reason it is disregarded today is because it is impossible to discover where we are on the curve. But I know of no real economists who deny that the curve illustrates an economic truth.

John Médaille Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 3:53:00 PM CDT  

Trefor, I wonder how you can both take the Laugher curve seriously and then say, it is impossible to discover where we are on the curve. Isn't that equivalent to saying that the existence of the curve cannot be empirically verified?

John

Kevin Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 6:06:00 PM CDT  

John, do you disagree with any of the following?

1) For a given tax rate t, there is a non-negative amount of revenue collected r(t).

2) r(0) = 0, or with a 0% tax there is no revenue

3) r(100) = 0, if there is 100% tax on income, there will be no income (because money becomes worthless or goes underground).

4) Somewhere between 0 and 100% taxes, there is a nonzero amount of taxes collected.

5) At any tax rate, a very very small change in the tax rate results in a proportionally small change in revenue. ie r(t) is conitinuous.

If you allow for all five, it follows that there is a tax rate t* which maximizes r(t), from which point any increase in the tax rate will decrease the amount of revenue collected.

You've got to either explain which assumption you disagree with or you're essentially arguing against logic, the equivalent of saying 1 + 1 = 5.

Kevin Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 6:10:00 PM CDT  

Someone once said, "When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging."

John Médaille Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 9:32:00 PM CDT  

Kevin, proposition five is not the logical result of 1-4. There is no reason in your demonstration to conclude that r(t) is continuous. Nor is there anything that necessitates an "optimal" rate. Thus five is not a "conclusion," but an assumption. This is called circular logic, where one assumes what one ought to prove. It is one of the most elementary mistakes in logic.

Further, there is not the slightest empirical evidence for the curve, or for continuity. Thus, there is neither logic nor observation to support the theory, and even Trefor admits that we can't know where we are on the curve (then how can we know that we are on a curve at all?).

So what does the Laugher curve rest on, if not logic or data? One thing, and one thing alone: ideology.

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 8:54:00 AM CDT  

John you are correct, my presentation must have been unclear. 5) was meant to be taken as an assumption. The conclusion followed, without a number: "...it follows that there is a tax rate t* which maximizes r(t)..."

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 8:59:00 AM CDT  

You say, "there is not the slightest empirical evidence for the curve, or for continuity."

Do you mean to distinguish two things here? By saying their isn't a curve, as distinct from a continuous curve, are you disputing the idea of using a function r(t) to model the revenue due to taxation? What if we stipulate that r(t) models the revenue at a given time, all other things being equal, while the curve may move as the economy changes?

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 9:15:00 AM CDT  

You say, "Nor is there anything that necessitates an "optimal" rate."

Look perhaps continuity is the wrong way to start talking about the Laffer curve, because in reality the function is discreet: the tax rate will probably be defined as a rational number in at most hundreths of a percent (meaning a finite number of possible tax rates) and the revenue must be measured in a whole number of pennies.

But if you use the discrete model, there HAS to be an optimal tax rate. Sure it might change over time, but it always exists.

Here's the kicker. Since the actual real life data points have finite and discrete possibilities, you could just fill in the rest of the fuction to interpolate those points. What would you end up with if you just connect the dots with line segments?? A **continuous** bounded function r(t) that fits my 5-point description in a previous comment.

A ha!

John Médaille Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 9:38:00 AM CDT  

Kevin, your efforts to rescue this failed theory are heroic but unconvincing, as you seem to be all over the map. "The function is continuous!" "The function is discreet!" Your "logic" has completely fallen apart, and it has done so because it never really started. If, as you admit, #5 is an assumption, then your "syllogism" is circular; it reduces to If the Laffer curve is true, then it is true. This is true, but only trivially true. Hence, it really should be called the Laugher curve, since reasonable men ought to laugh at it. You have simply assumed your "truth" without bothering to demonstrate it.

This series began with dilapidus saying, I was taught the fallacies of logic, and few people younger than me seem to have been. You have illustrated his point better than anything I could have said.

It comes to this: you have neither logic nor data to back up this theory. And if we eliminate these two, the only things that are left are bias, prejudice, and ideology.

Trevor Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 12:51:00 PM CDT  

John,

Your argument is confused. I am no fan of the laffer curve NOT because it is untrue, in fact it is true in the obvious way, but because it is useless.

It's ridiculous to say that the laffer curve is false. You talk a lot about logic but it is clearly your logic that suffers. What your argument SHOULD be is that the laffer curve is true but useless. Only then would you have a defensible argument. To be honest, you're making a laughing stock of the intelligent distributist you represent and I think it is obvious to everyone but yourself.

John Médaille Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 1:28:00 PM CDT  

Trefor, you say the Laugher curve is true in the obvious way. What way is that? You have admitted we can't locate our place on the curve. How then can you be sure we are on a curve? Kevin has admitted to circular logic. Do you have anything better, other than the bald assertion that it is "obvious"? Finally, you end with an ad hominem, the surest sign of intellectual failure.

If you have logic, present your logic; if you have data, present your data. Otherwise, why lash out at those who disagree?

Finally, there is a question here of the standards to determine a "truth." You claim the curve is true in an "obvious" way, but this obvious way is obscure to anyone else. Can you not enlighten us? How do you determine truth from error, other than just a claim, "its obvious!"?

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 1:29:00 PM CDT  

John, I'm sorry if examining the Laffer curve in terms of both discrete and continuous variables has confused you. If I could do it over again, I'd present the ideas in a better order.

I'm sorry for not being able to put this is a more charitable light: You are in over your head. I get the impression that you only skim my comments. You continue to imply that I originally presented assumption #5 as a conclusion from the first 4, when in fact there's not a word I wrote to support such an interpretation. Have you gone back and reread the comment, ever?

You have not even the good form to give your opponent the benefit of the doubt, but instead accuse me of "bias, prejudice, [or] ideology." Meanwhile your own distributist allies are trying to warn you off of your confused and over-the-top rhetoric.

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 1:42:00 PM CDT  

"Kevin has admitted to circular logic."

Not true.

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 1:47:00 PM CDT  

John, let me start over from scratch and try to express myself more clearly. Here are the assumptions. There is no conclusion in this comment.

1) For a given tax rate t, there is an amount of revenue r(t) which is collected.

2) r(0%) = 0

3) r(100%) = 0

4) For some t between 0 and 100%, r(t) takes a positive value.

5) There are a limited number of possible values of t that can obtain in reality. One way to see that this is true is to ask what is the highest number of decimal places the government would bother expressing t in. Whatever you think that limit is, its safe to say it exists.

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 1:52:00 PM CDT  

Remark:

So far we have not strictly defined what values of the variable t the function is defined for. We can let the fuction r(t) be defined only for those values of t that can possibly obtain as a tax rate, or we can let it be defined for all values between 0 and 100% and interpolate between the possible tax rates with line segments.

Either of these two possible ways to consider the function allows for the same conclusion, which I will present in another comment.

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 1:57:00 PM CDT  

Conclusion:

From the assumptions it follows with mathematical rigor that the function r(t) obtains its maximum value for some t* between 0 and 100%.

I remark that t* is not necessarily unique. There could be other points, say a, b, and c, such that r(a) = r(b) = r(c) = r(t*). Nevertheless, as applies to government theory, it is certainly the case that at some tax rates, a rise in taxes will lower the revenue.

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 2:06:00 PM CDT  

Note that this presentation has allowed for the possibility that r(t) is either discrete or continuous as a model. Both models do not deviate from the fact that at a given tax rate t, the revenue generated is equal to r(t). The difference is that the continuous model contains values of r(t) for t's that would never occur in reality (by assumption 5).

I hope this overcomes your objections that by speaking of both the discrete and continuous models, I have somehow confused my logic or contradicted myself.

I also hope you will retract your claim that my logic is circular. You seemed to disagree with the idea that r(t) should be assumed continuous, so I replaced that assumption with something more obvious, to the same affect.

Trevor Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 2:35:00 PM CDT  

Jofn wrote:
"Trefor, you say the Laugher curve is true in the obvious way. What way is that?"

In the way Kevin demonstrated. Have you never had calculus?

Jofn wrote:
"You have admitted we can't locate our place on the curve. How then can you be sure we are on a curve?"

Uh, because if we weren’t on a curve, what else could we possibly be "on"?? The only other conceivable conclusion would be to deny the 5th assumption, which is to say that one would have to postulate that there is no direct relationship between the tax rate and revenue. Is this what you are saying? It would quite humorous if it was, but I will give you that we are not on a curve if by some craziness you could prove such a position (that the tax rate and tax revenue have no relationship).

John Médaille Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 5:02:00 PM CDT  

Well, after 29 posts, I don't think we've gotten any further that dilapius's first comment about the fallacies in logical reasoning.

Kevin offers us a revised version of his "proof," which he then keeps revising, without any better success. Propositions 1-4 are intuitively obvious, but unconnected to 5. Further revisions don't seem to help.

Trefor takes the position that it doesn't need proof, it got to be a curve. Well, maybe. It doesn't seem to be a neat curve, but that's not the point. Laffer predicts a very specific type of curve, a neat parabola.

Trefor does admit that it isn't useful for any policy discussion, while Kevin believes it has a significance he hasn't shared with us. Both have merely descended to the argumentem ad hominem. In any case, curves, Laffer or laugher, won't cure the Myth of Reaganomics and the disastrous road of increased covmint and corporate power and unending deficits that he began.

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 7:41:00 PM CDT  

"Laffer predicts a very specific type of curve, a neat parabola."

This is totally and completely false.

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 7:43:00 PM CDT  

"Propositions 1-4 are intuitively obvious, but unconnected to 5. Further revisions don't seem to help."

Why should they be connected to 5?

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 7:52:00 PM CDT  

"Kevin believes it has a significance he hasn't shared with us."

I will now share that significance. The existence of the Laffer curve, in light of your statements here, shows you to be conceited intellectual bully.

John Médaille Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 8:38:00 PM CDT  

In commenting on the heretofore hidden significance of the Laugher curve, Kevin says I will now share that significance. The existence of the Laffer curve, in light of your statements here, shows you to be conceited intellectual bully.

He may well be right, and that three reasons: One, I certainly lack humility; that I freely confess. Two, I can't think of any other reason for the Laffer curve than the one Kevin has just offered. And three, as to being an "intellectual bully," such bullies wrongly pick on the intellectually weak, and hence it was wrong of me to pick on Kevin; next time, I'll find someone by own size.

Kevin Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 9:11:00 PM CDT  

You are totally and completely immune to irony, aren't you?

Trevor Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 8:20:00 AM CDT  

John, are still trying to save face? Still trying to act like you are the intellectual superior?

Why?

We all make mistakes and say things we can't back up. So what? Just because you made an obvious error here, AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT, doesn't mean that the rest of your work is bunk. I still have a lot of respect for much of what you've said elsewhere.

John Médaille Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 1:15:00 PM CDT  

Trefor, You claim to know (in capital letters), "what everyone knows." Maybe, but I prefer to let people speak for themselves; conceited I may be, as Kevin points out, but I am not yet conceited enough to presume the right to speak for anybody but myself.

However, I am not convinced that your really know what "everyone knows" because you don't seem to know even what you "know." So far your posts have vacillated between bald assertion and personal venom. This may not be as persuasive as you seem to think it is. People confident in their believes usually do not have problems giving reasons for them, without resorting to personal attacks. Reason and courtesy may be methods you wish to explore in the future.

Or maybe not.

distributist123 Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 1:59:00 PM CDT  

I've never been a big fan of reagan myuself

distributist123 Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 2:08:00 PM CDT  

The only thing Reagan deserves any credit for is the collapse of the Soviet Union and even their he only deseerves partail credit. Aside from that, the rich just got richer while the poor got poorer. The man cut vegetables in school lunch programs by saying that Ketchup was a vegetable. Reagan and bush also sold arms to the Likes of Saddam Hussein. It is also common knowledge that his adminstration greatly increased the deficit and put arms into the hands of small children in south America. Her also made massive cuts to mecicaid leaving the poorest among us to dwns for themselves. Yet George Wiegel and other conservative types seem to want to cannonize the man. Its truly beyond me. Bill

Anonymous,  Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 2:08:00 PM CDT  

Epilogue:

Link

MR. GIBSON: ...you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28 percent."
It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling if you went to 28 percent. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.

SENATOR OBAMA: Right.

MR. GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.

SENATOR OBAMA: Right.

MR. GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

John Médaille Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 4:15:00 PM CDT  

Anonomous quotes C. Gibson: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased.

This simply isn't true, and the Bush Treasury dept. has admitted as much (see http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/tax-policy/library/ota81.pdf)
Reagan's tax policies were a fiscal disaster, and he had to spend the rest of his presidency fiddling with the tax code almost every year to increase revenues. This was before the rise of the Chinese communists as an economic power, one willing to lend us nearly unlimited amounts of money.

Reagan did raise revenues--by raising taxes. But the myth of Reaganomics has been repeated so often that nobody bothers to check the facts. And the facts are indisputable.

Anonymous,  Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 4:58:00 PM CDT  

Ok, for the one who created this blog, sorry to put you out of business but, the President does not spends a penny, Congress does............how many years have the Dems been in control vs the Reps? The solution: term limits for both houses and eliminate their insentive for staying there. Both parties are quilty, however Ronald Regan loved this country and was a true Patriot, I truely wish I could say the same about Carter, Clinton, and Obama, truely!!!!!

Anonymous,  Friday, November 20, 2009 at 10:57:00 PM CST  

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Anonymous,  Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 12:58:00 PM CST  

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