Reagan as a Presidential candidate today
by Mike Kimel
A very interesting video from Think Progress juxtaposes a speech by Barack Obama with a speech by Reagan. In it, Reagan says:
We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. […] Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less?
Here’s the video.
Its been said that Reagan couldn’t win the Republican nomination for President today. Its probably true.
Reagan eliminated tax deductions on interest for most everything but mortgage interest.
What he said and what he did are not the same.
Big money paid no more and little money got the bill.
Reagan witha congress in tow raised taxes and cut loopholes but not on who he said.
The great con artist!
The obvious counter-point is that FDR probably could not have been nominated today in the Dem party. If for no other reason than his illness.
But its an interesting thought experiment. Which Presidents since FDR (including FDR) to Reagan could win their party’s nominnation today?
FDR – No, illness, smokes, probably questionable race issues.
Truman – No, no college education.
Eisenhower – Yes, War leader & hero, correct side of race relations, fiscally conservative, potential downside if his infidelities got out.
JFK – Yes, Young charismatic with photogenic family. War hero. Gave good speeches, from very rich family, on the correct side of race relations. Downsides, fiscally conservative and many, many infidelities.
LBJ – Maybe, Strong politicain, could pull in chits from everywhere. Able to raise money and was a good speaker. Downsides – would be accussed of wanting to invade Iran…
Nixon – No. Not fiscally conservative, not photogenic, (would have lost to RFK IMHO). On the other hand he was a consumate politician (like LBJ). To nice to China.
Ford – Maybe. He wasn’t in long enough to get a good feel.
Reagan – Yes, Fiscally conservative, charismatic, popular gov. from California so could take that state. Very likable.
But all of these men were a product of their times. What worked then would not work now. Part of winning the Presidency is being in the right place at the right time with the right winning message. Plus getting lucky on a lot of things not close to be able to control or predict. Some obvious ones: Nixon wins in 1968 as the Demacratic party literally implodes in Chicago. Reagan landslide in 1980 becuase of Crater’s incompetance at handling Iran. You can’t count on these things happening.
Islam will change
There are several differences between “FDR wouldn’t win the Dem nomination today” and “Reagan wouldn’t win the Republican nomination today” including:
1. Reagan wouldn’t win the nomination because Republicans moved further to the right than he was… and he was a right wing candidate. FDR wouldn’t wouldn’t win the nomination because Democrats moved further to the right than he was…. and he was a left wing candidate. Put another way… with Reagan the issue is that he was extreme at one end, and the party moved further to the extreme. With FDR one can argue there was regression to the mean.
2. FDR might have been able to win the Democrat’s nomination as late as 1992. Reagan can’t win less than 3 decades later.
3. Reagan is the face of the Republican party, the one who is supposedly the role model whose mantle every Republican wanna-be nominee wants to claim. If he couldn’t win the nomination himself, it means Republican beliefs are wrong even about the face the party puts forward. By contrast, Democrats might say positive things about FDR, but I don’t think any of them since Truman have tried to capitalize on being “the true in the FDR in the race”, say.
I agree with both comments, but the first is the most important–Reagan was the consumate con artist. He could slit your throat but because he had such a genuine smile when he did it, people thought he was being nice. His tax reform ravaged the middle class and did nothing to the wealthy. He kept the deficit somewhat in line by overfunding social security–did he anticipate todays GOP efforts to steal the money permanently?-but ultimately set in motion the idea that deficits do not matter except when a Democrat is pr3esident. Would his “southern strategy run into opposition today? I do not think so, Governor Perry’s hunting camp problem notwithstanding–people like Limbaugh have come to Perry’s defense and I have no doubt that Perry would carry the deep south if he was the GOP candidate. Everyone except blue collar whites knew that Reagan was a lying sack of sh*t at the time, but maybe the GOP has dumbed down since those days and would not recognize that his only goals were to protect the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, particularly people of color.
So the conclusion to reach is that Obama is a zombie i.e. an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means.
I like Ike.
Everyone liked Ike.
It is important to understand that Reagan’s tax tweaks were intended to encourage investors to buy up global market share instead of wasting money on leisure that was too deductable. And, considering that American investors now hold more than 50% of all global market share… the plan seems to have worked quite well.
Plus, deficits don’t matter due to dollar recycling and the advantages of dollar hegemony, without understanding this, one can not understand the world that we dominate.
Ummm. Mike, I didn’t. He played golf (a rich man’s game) and drove a Cadillac (a rich man’s car.) I was a died in the wool New Deal Democrat at the age of 9. Didn’t agree with the whole Cold War thing (“duck and cover?” Get real!) Still don’t. Compared to Reagan, however, he was head and shoulders above the Gipper.
Why? Eisenhower could think and was good at doing things. Reagan introduced religion into American politics for the first time since maybe the Civil War and started the whole Moral Majority/John Birch RightWing Nut thing going in the otherwise sensible Republican Party. In sum–Eisenhower, ok if that’s all you got. And, Reagan–Absolute disaster. Government is the problem, huh?
Do you know how many govt pensions Reagan received? Social Security, Governor of California, and President of the USA. Problem,huh? So how do I know? Please. I know my pensions. /snark/NancyO
The Republicans, Conservatives, and Tea Party do not disagree with this statement, “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.”
The Left and Obama keep pretending as if this is the true economic problem in the country. The point is that everybody agrees that the more you make the more you should pay, and the “loopholes” are unnecessary. The problem is closing these loopholes is a moral play and doesn’t accomplish anything economically.
We have a spending problem not a revenue problem. We have the situaiton where you could signifigantly increase taxes on everybody in the country and you still do not solve the porblem. This is why the Left and Obama are losing the debate. It will only be a matter of time before the general population understands this, which in turn exposes the left and Obama for what they are, and spells curtains for Obama in 2012.
I don’t think that the current conservatives would be so against removing some deductions provided they came with commensurate *cuts* in the federal balance sheet.
Right now “eliminating loopholes” is effectively an excuse for otherwise expansionary federal policy.
Funny thing is that this very blog has suggested that raising taxes would otherwise encourage internal business investment.
The reality is that there are plenty of ways the paternalist (such as Coberly) can encourage investment *without* raising taxes (and thereby excusing the unsustainably-expanding federal authority)
A quick note: I didn’t mean to make that last post sound like a jab at coberly. I don’t neccesarily disagree with *all* of his paternalistic ideas but I wanted to highlight that such “steering” with fiscal policy is, in fact, paternalism and relevant to his own admitted preferences for federal activity… just using opposite fiscal policy.
It’s all a False Choice arguement. Who in the Republican Party is advocating keeping “loopholes.” The democrats will not tackle tax reform, so republicans are forced to wait until they have power. If Obama and the Democrats wanted to solve that issue, it could be handled immediately, but instead they tack it on to other pieces of legislation, that they know Republicans will not vote for, so that they can use the issue for political reasons.
I feel sorry for Democrat supporters. I would be extremely embarrassed to call myself a Democrat in today’s society. I wonder what they will think about all this when Democrats have lost all their power, become the “point your finger and laugh” party, and have to sit and be quiet while the Republicans actually make change and get the economy back in motion? Will they look back to Obama and say man, “didn’t he do a great job”, or will they finally figure out what being a Democrat really means?
You don’t think the anti-vaccine crowd would praise him for his independent thought and refusal to submit to “The Man’s” forced medication?
Mike-Can you tell me where FDR stood on THE litmus test for any post-industrial Democrat, abortion?
“…introduced religion into American politics for the first time since maybe the Civil War…” Really? Ever heard of the the Anti-Saloon League or the 18th Amendment? Any idea of who started prayer at the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies?
little john–I regret that I didn’t clear my remarks with you in advance. Yes, that is a snark. I also omitteded other aspects of religion in politics such as those affecting the dissolution of the Mass. Bay Colony, the separation of the Southern Baptists from the whole Baptist convention, the great religious revival of the 1830’s and 40’s, and the like. I should have specified that I was thinking of Reagan’s positions on abortion and AIDS as a disease limited to homosexual men. These two novel additions to mainstream American politics have had an extrememly detrimental effect on our political discourse. NancyO
In addition to closing some federal tax loopholes, Reagan reduced the top tax rate from 70% to 28%. This removed incentives for the wealthy to take advantage of other tax code loopholes. Contrast that to Obama, who wants to eliminate loopholes while placing an additional burden on the wealthiest Americans. This is a key difference and unless we believe that all gaps and shortcomings in the tax code are eliminated, we’ll probably see the wealthy pay even less in the coming years.
I am a father. I take care of my kids. I used to be a business owner. I took care of my employees.
I hope you are not a father. Your kids would have to get paper routes at 3 and pay for their supper. And bid against each other for dessert.
A fact of life is that not more than one in a hundred people is capable of solving “new” problems. MOst people just follow the red line on the floor to the right concourse. That is they follow directions and go to school and write their resumes and get a job applying the algorithms they learned with such pride. Your idea is that if you think you are one of those one in a hundred you don’t owe the 99 anything. This is a new idea in the history of man. And it is not a good idea. It will fail, and perhaps end us with it.
You won’t get much done if those 99 don’t help you… and they can… but they won’t help you if you don’t help them.
Get an education beyond the greatest works of Ayn Rand and you may begin to see that this is the way the world is.
It is one thing to be wary of government power. It is another to pretend you can live without it.
I am reasonably sure that the country could be governed without excessive taxes or government intrusion. But I think we need to raise the taxes until the deficit is “no longer a factor.”
You, like most people, tend to read what I say and jump to your own conclusions about what I mean. Entirely unaided by the printed word.
It wasn’t my intention to imply that you were genuine, dedicated or that you didn’t take care of anything/anybody. If that’s how it sounded I really do apologize.
What’s more, if you think I’m completely against government paternalism then I haven’t adequately articulated my position.
My point here was that government paternalism can work without the current “occupy this” “blame the rich” mentality.
As to your point about most people being followers: fine… but the paternal state should act in a way to encourage adaptability rather than entrenchment. This is nothing more than the old “give a fish/teach to fish” cliche.
Rand?… “Who will fix the road?”
I fully acknowledge the benefits obtained through working together and the maintenance of *limited* government. We’re all in this together… anything less is just the Prisoner’s Dilemma.
My premise is that we have structured our government programs NOT to encouarge self-reliance but to encourage dependence (as it promotes entrenchment and persists bureacratic power).
You love and help others best by teaching them life lessons and encouraging independent thought and individual growth, not wantonly giving them things, throwing money at them and pretending to solve the problem.
I’m certain this is how you parent; indeed it’s just good paternalism! … why should our paternalist state be structured that much differently?
A significant tax hike would not close our budget problems. We need to be responsible with our borrowing (note that I’m not advocating BBA)….But we have demonstrated the inability to be responsible with our finances so I don’t think this game of “the rich just don’t pay enough!” is productive.
We have a systematic *spending* problem which is currently being masked by jargon of “revenues” as if the two were inherently linked.
Gah… typo…. first line should read “weren’t” not “were”!
“It wasn’t my intention to imply that you weren’t genuine, dedicated or that you didn’t take care of anything/anybody. If that’s how it sounded I really do apologize. “
actually, i agree with that. i only mentioned being a father to give some meaning to “paternalism.”
the tax cut that was going to pay for itself but didn’t “benefitted” mostly the rich. i think paying for what we bought is a good idea. i am tired of waiting for the miracle of tax cuts.
as it happens only “the rich” have enough money to tax. but i count rich as much more that 50k.
and i’m fine with taxing the poor… especially for their own SS and Medicare. If they can’t afford that, i’m fine with welfare until we figure out a way to get them better jobs, or teach them how to live on less. you will note this is more of the teach them to fish than the give them a fish…. but it’s no good if they starve while we are trying to teach them to fish… and there are no fish for them to catch.
sorry you haven’t noticed how much i have railed against “tax the rich” as a reflex thought-substitute.
start with the tax hike and let the rich figure out how to manage the budget… but not by starving the poor… or what is really stupid, preventing the poor from paying for their own retirement because “that is paternalism.”
telling the poor to grow character and work for less is not an answer. it has been tried.