Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rush, Fantasizing Again

Like almost all conservatives, Rush Limbaugh has an acute case of amnesia regarding Saint Ronald Reagan. On January 12 he rambled on:

I've got Ronaldus Magnus taking over for Jimmy Carter, which is where Obama might end up in four years, with all this massive unemployment, high interest rates, thermostats turned down to 67 degrees in the wintertime, 78 degrees in the summertime, Reagan came in, cut taxes across the board for everybody, spurred economic growth, unemployment went down, interest rates went down, the experts said it couldn't happen, but it did.

Life would be so much simpler if President Reagan were as Repubs remember him. But as Joshua Green noted in the January/February 2003 issue of The Washington Monthly

At the outset of his first term, Reagan's revolution appeared to have unstoppable momentum. His administration passed an historic tax cut based on dramatic cuts in marginal tax rates and began a massive defense buildup.... (But) One year after his massive tax cut, Reagan agreed to a tax increase to reduce the deficit that restored fully one-third of the previous year's reduction....

Faced with looming deficits, Reagan raised taxes again in 1983 with a gasoline tax and once more in 1984, this time by $50 billion over three years, mainly through closing tax loopholes for business. Despite the fact that such increases were anathema to conservatives--and probably cost Reagan's successor, George H.W. Bush, reelection--Reagan raised taxes a grand total of four times just between 1982-84.

This is not merely ancient, or insignificant, history. Repubs are fond of quoting Ronald Reagan saying "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" And Republicans don't only hate and ridicule government, they have a vested interest in proving that it doesn't work. As Hank Paulson and his $350 billion dollars (wherever they are) have shown.

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