CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley was barely able to contain his laughter Wednesday night after playing a clip of President Obama invoking Ronald Reagan on behalf of his “Buffett Rule” tax hike quest. Nearly breaking into a laugh, a baffled Pelley wondered to CBS News political analyst John Dickerson: “So a vote for President Obama is a vote for Ronald Reagan?!”Dickerson snickered too. (Watch the video to see Pelley’s puzzled reaction.)
[The video is available at the above link].
Today’s Republicans might view Ronald Reagan as a “wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior,” and the late conservative icon’s views on taxes might have disqualified him from the party’s nomination in 2012, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
Obama, defending his “Buffett Rule” call for higher taxes on the very rich, said in a speech that he was “not the first president to call for this idea that everybody has got to do their fair share.” He went on to say:
Some years ago, one of my predecessors traveled across the country pushing for the same concept. He gave a speech where he talked about a letter he had received from a wealthy executive who paid lower tax rates than his secretary, and wanted to come to Washington and tell Congress why that was wrong. So this president gave another speech where he said it was “crazy”—that’s a quote—that certain tax loopholes make it possible for multimillionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary. That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan.
He thought that, in America, the wealthiest should pay their fair share, and he said so. I know that position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days, but what Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing that we’re calling for now: a return to basic fairness and responsibility; everybody doing their part. And if it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule.
Yet Reagan also championed the very same “trickle-down” economics that Obama has roundly denounced—the idea that tax cuts for the wealthy lead to investment that generates growth and thereby jobs. Obama on Tuesday described this economic policy in harsh terms, saying its supporters “don’t seem to understand how it is that America got built.”
“In this country, prosperity has never trickled down from the wealthy few,” he said. “Prosperity has always come from the bottom up, from a strong and growing middle class.”
Obama lumped trickle-down economics among “old broken-down theories” that he blamed for the 2008 global economic meltdown.
The Blaze further points out that Obama’s demagogic claiming of the Reagan mantle gets even more warped, pointing out:
The comparison is equally confounding when you consider President Reagan’s historic tax reform:
The video comes from Ronald Reagan speaking at the signing ceremony for his 1986 Tax Reform Act. What exactly did Reagan say that Obama can cling to?
Thank you all, please be seated. Well, thank you, and welcome to the White House. In a moment I’ll be sitting at that desk, taking up a pen, and signing the most sweeping overhaul of our tax code in our nation’s history. To all of you here today who’ve worked so long and hard to see this day come, my thanks and the thanks of a nation go out to you.
The journey’s been long, and many said we’d never make it to the end. But as usual the pessimists left one thing out of their calculations: the American people. They haven’t made this the freest country and the mightiest economic force on this planet by shrinking from challenges. They never gave up. And after almost 3 years of commitment and hard work, one headline in the Washington Post told the whole story: “The Impossible Became the Inevitable,” and the dream of America’s fair-share tax plan became a reality.
When I sign this bill into law, America will have the lowest marginal tax rates and the most modern tax code among major industrialized nations, one that encourages risk-taking, innovation, and that old American spirit of enterprise. We’ll be refueling the American growth economy with the kind of incentives that helped create record new businesses and nearly 11.7 million jobs in just 46 months. Fair and simpler for most Americans, this is a tax code designed to take us into a future of technological invention and economic achievement, one that will keep America competitive and growing into the 21st century.
But for all tax reform’s economic benefits, I believe that history will record this moment as something more: as the return to the first principles. This country was founded on faith in the individual, not groups or classes, but faith in the resources and bounty of each and every separate human soul. Our Founding Fathers designed a democratic form of government to enlist the individual’s energies and fashioned a Bill of Rights to protect its freedoms. And in so doing, they tapped a wellspring of hope and creativity that was to completely transform history.
The history of these United States of America is indeed a history of individual achievement. It was their hard work that built our cities and farmed our prairies; their genius that continually pushed us beyond the boundaries of existing knowledge, reshaping our world with the steam engine, polio vaccine, and the silicon chip. It was their faith in freedom and love of country that sustained us through trials and hardships and through wars, and it was their courage and selflessness that enabled us to always prevail.
But when our Founding Fathers designed this government-of, by, and for the people-they never imagined what we’ve come to know as the progressive income tax. When the income tax was first levied in 1913, the top rate was only 7 percent on people with incomes over $500,000. Now, that’s the equivalent of multi-millionaires today. But in our lifetime we’ve seen marginal tax rates skyrocket as high as 90 percent, and not even the poor have been spared. As tax rates escalated, the tax code grew ever more tangled and complex, a haven for special interests and tax manipulators, but an impossible frustration for everybody else. Blatantly unfair, our tax code became a source of bitterness and discouragement for the average taxpayer. It wasn’t too much to call it un-American.
Meanwhile, the steeply progressive nature of the tax struck at the heart of the economic life of the individual, punishing that special effort and extra hard work that has always been the driving force of our economy. As government’s hunger for ever more revenues expanded, families saw tax cuts-or taxes, I should say, cut deeper and deeper into their paychecks; and taxation fell most cruelly on the poor, making a difficult climb up from poverty even harder. Throughout history, the oppressive hand of government has fallen most heavily on the economic life of the individuals. And more often than not, it is inflation and taxes that have undermined livelihoods and constrained their freedoms. We should not forget that this nation of ours began in a revolt against oppressive taxation. Our Founding Fathers fought not only for our political rights but also to secure the economic freedoms without which these political freedoms are no more than a shadow.
In the last 20 years we’ve witnessed an expansion and strengthening of many of our civil liberties, but our economic liberties have too often been neglected and even abused. We protect the freedom of expression of the author, as we should, but what of the freedom of expression of the entrepreneur, whose pen and paper are capital and profits, whose book may be a new invention or small business? What of the creators of our economic life, whose contributions may not only delight the mind but improve the condition of man by feeding the poor with new grains, bringing hope to the sick with new cures, vanishing ignorance with wondrous new information technologies?
And what about fairness for families? It’s in our families that America’s most important work gets done: raising our next generation. But over the last 40 years, as inflation has shrunk the personal exemption, families with children have had to shoulder more and more of the tax burden. With inflation and bracket-creep also eroding incomes, many spouses who would rather stay home with their children have been forced to go looking for jobs. And what of America’s promise of hope and opportunity, that with hard work even the poorest among us can gain the security and happiness that is the due of all Americans? You can’t put a price tag on the American dream. That dream is the heart and soul of America; it’s the promise that keeps our nation forever good and generous, a model and hope to the world.
For all these reasons, this tax bill is less a freedom-or a reform, I should say, than a revolution. Millions of working poor will be dropped from the tax rolls altogether, and families will get a long-overdue break with lower rates and an almost doubled personal exemption. We’re going to make it economical to raise children again. Flatter rates will mean more reward for that extra effort, and vanishing loopholes and a minimum tax will mean that everybody and every corporation pay their fair share. And that’s why I’m certain that the bill I’m signing today is not only an historic overhaul of our tax code and a sweeping victory for fairness, it’s also the best antipoverty bill, the best profamily measure, and the best job-creation program ever to come out of the Congress of the United States.
And now that we’ve come this far, we cannot, and we will not, allow tax reform to be undone with tax rate hikes. We must restore certainty to our tax code and our economy. And I’ll oppose with all my might any attempt to raise tax rates on the American people and I hope that all here will join with me to make permanent the historic progress of tax reform. I think all of us here today know what a Herculean effort it took to get this landmark bill to my desk. That effort didn’t start here in Washington, but began with the many thinkers who have struggled to return economics to its classical roots-to an understanding that ultimately the economy is not made up of aggregates like government spending and consumer demand, but of individual men and women, each striving to provide for his family and better his or her lot in life.
But we must also salute those courageous leaders in the Congress who’ve made this day possible. To Bob Packwood, Dan Rostenkowski, Russell Long, John Duncan, and Majority Leader Bob Dole; to Jack Kemp, Bob Kasten, Bill Bradley, and Dick Gephardt, who pioneered with their own versions of tax reform-I salute all of you and all the other Members of the Senate and House whose efforts paid off and whose votes finally won the day. And last but not least, the many members of the administration who must often have felt that they were fighting a lonely battle against overwhelming odds-particularly my two incomparable Secretaries of the Treasury, Don Regan and Jim Baker-and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I feel like we just played the World Series of tax reform- [laughter] -and the American people won.
Barack Obama is the most conniving and dishonest weasel to ever occupy (or should I capitalize that word to denote the Occupy Movement that are serving as Obama’s brown shirts today?) the White House.
If Ronald Reagan were alive today he would walk up to Obama after his incredibly slanderous and dishonest words, slap him right in the face, and say, “How DARE you?” But genuine and profound coward that he is, Obama goes after the legacy of a dead man rather than all the men Reagan named who are still alive to defend the record.
For the factual record to correct Obama’s lies, everything that Reagan said was in perfect harmony with the principle I expressed in the title of one of my articles: “Tax Cuts INCREASE Revenues; They Have ALWAYS Increased Revenues.”
Reagan repeatedly referenced the menace of inflation in his speech. I had the following to say about Jimmy Carter versus Reagan and by extension Reagan versus Barack Obama:
The numbers told the sad story of the Jimmy Carter presidency: interest rates of 21%; inflation at 13.5%, and an unemployment rate of 7%. And a relatively new economic device called “the misery index” – the combination of the unemployment and inflation rates which Carter had himself used to great effect in his 1976 campaign to win election – was at a shocking 20.5%.
And those who went through those dark and difficult times may soon be looking back to that period as “the good old days.”
When Ronald Reagan took office from Jimmy Carter, inflation was at a meteoric 13.3% and the country was in the throes of a fierce recession. There was a real question as to whether workers’ wages would keep up with the costs of living, which made people afraid to either spend or save. And nobody knew how to control inflation – which had risen from 1.4% in 1960 to the aforementioned 13.3% in 1980 – causing a real erosion of confidence in the future. Jimmy Carter answered a reporter’s question as to what he would do about the problem of inflation by answering, “It would be misleading for me to tell any of you that there is a solution to it.”
But Ronald Reagan had a solution. And by the time he left office, he had solved the problem of creeping inflation increases and had actually reversed the trend: he left behind a healthy inflation rate of 4.1%.
Reagan’s policies set the trajectory for growth that would last for 20 years.
And the only thing that could truly destroy the fruit of Reagan’s policies was the coming of another Jimmy Carter.
That’s exactly what we’ve got in Barack Obama: a dishonest and Marxist version of Jimmy Carter. And everything that Reagan accomplished refutes Barack Obama, Barack Obama’s economic plan and pretty much everything about Barack Obama.
Jimmy Carter’s policies gave us shocking inflation and a catastrophic misery index; Ronald Reagan’s policies saved America from a monster that Jimmy Carter could not understand and acknowledged he had no solution for.
Obama loves the poor: that’s why he’s created so damn many of them.
In the God damn America of Barack Obama, the poor people that Obama promised his policies would save are (of course) unable to buy a house while watching their rents skyrocket.
They could live in their cars, but damn it’s too expensive for them to pay the regressive tax of Obama’s gas prices.
Of course, it used to be that you could always at least find a minimum wage job to help make ends meet – but Obama in his abundant compassion kept millions from that kind of drear and drudgery.
The thing is, Michelle Obama would never say, “Let them eat cake” and is frankly offended that cake is being wasted on the proletariat who clearly don’t deserve cake until November when it’s time to vote again.
As is often the case, there is a big difference between what the government statistics are reporting and what’s going on in the real world. According to the most recent inflation reading published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), consumer prices grew at an annual rate of just 1.1% in August.
The government has an incentive to distort CPI numbers, for reasons such as keeping the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security payments low. While there’s no question that you may be able to get a good deal on a new car or a flat-screen TV today, how often are you really buying these things? When you look at the real costs of everyday life, prices have risen sharply over the last year. For simplicity’s sake, consider the cash market prices on some basic commodities.
On average, our basic food costs have increased by an incredible 48% over the last year (measured by wheat, corn, oats, and canola prices). From the price at the pump to heating your stove, energy costs are up 23% on average (heating oil, gasoline, natural gas). A little protein at dinner is now 39% higher (beef and pork), and your morning cup of coffee with a little sugar has risen by 36% since last October.
And of course Reagan also talked about how his policies would ultimately benefit the poor. Did you notice that first link in the article above, which documented that Barack Obama has given America the highest poverty in 52 years???
The poor need Reagan; but they are cursed with Obama.
The same day I wrote the above article I had stuff to add in about other ways Obama has created inflation and hurt the poor.
I pointed out previously that “Everyone But Obama And Obama’s Fed Knows That Prices Are Rising Drastically.”
And I pointed out some facts after Obama’s state of the disaster speech about the “REAL State Of The Union: Under Obama, Price of Gas Has Jumped 83 Percent, Ground Beef 24 Percent, Bacon 22 Percent.”
Going back to the years that Carter waged war on the American economy, the misery index has been the HIGHEST EVER under Obama’s failed leadership.
Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner points out that at anything remotely beyond the most superficial level, Obama’s lie fails the laugh test:
Yes, it’s true that on June 28, 1985, Reagan gave a speech to Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois about problems with the tax code in which he told an anecdote about an executive who was paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. But if you read the whole speech, it’s clear that Reagan was telling the story as part of his pitch for tax reform.
In that same Reagan speech that Obama is demagoguing, Reagan explained precisely what he meant when he brought up the issue of tax rates and “fairness”:
It stands to reason that the more complex our tax code is, the more open it is to abuse. So, we’re making it simple to make it fair. America’s tax plan will do away with special breaks for a few so we can lower the tax rates for all. Our simpler, three-bracket design will assure that no American pays one penny more than his fair share.
Phillip Klein continues, pointing out:
So there are several key differences with Obama. To start, Reagan was talking about simplifying the tax code, whereas Obama’s Buffett Rule would add another layer of complexity. Reagan was arguing for allowing people to keep more of their own money and reduce the burden of government. By contrast, Obama is arguing for instituting the Buffett Rule so that more money is available to pay for government programs.
Reagan’s push for tax reform helped lead to landmark reform legislation the following year that broadened the tax base, consolidated the nation’s 14 brackets into just two and lowered the top marginal income tax rate from 50 percent to 28 percent. This is actually pretty close to the framework that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., outlined in the House GOP budget and couldn’t be more far off from Obama’s Buffett Rule gimmick.
And, yes, Ronald Reagan in the 1980s talked about simplifying the tax code, lowering rates across the board and eliminating myriad and byzantine deductions.
How DARE Barack Obama so thoroughly disrespect the legacy of Ronald Reagan and try to slanderously steal the credibility that Reagan EARNED by standing for everything that Obama has stood against???