So Ronald Reagan was a thief. Who knew?
And so, it’s now clear, was every president beginning with Abraham Lincoln. Until George W. Bush, that is. Teddy Roosevelt? Yup. Calvin Coolidge? Uh-huh. Harry Truman? I guess that’s what they meant by “hell” that he was giving ’em. They each stole from the American people via income taxes to fund the federal government.
But since FDR was the one who initiated the stealing to pay for such specifics as Social Security, the Tennessee Valley Authority and other New Deal programs, we’ll start with him. He also stole–a lot–from American people to pay for WWII.
Dwight Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter perpetuated this theft. Big time. Of course, Nixon, who assured the country that he was not a crook, did turn out to be one after all, so in retrospect, his theft from the American people was just in character. And we knew all along that Dwight Eisenhower was the perpetrator of the theft from Americans that established a Soviet-style interstate highway system–or so Florida Rep. John Mica, the last Congress’s chairman of the House Transportation Committee, would describe the socialist ownership of the interstate highways. (That is the way he described Amtrak. And he wasn’t talking about its slowness and disrepair.)*
That controversial statue of Eisenhower that’s planned for D.C. should be scratched, not because of its design, which his ancestors dislike, but because of his criminality.
LBJ, of course, stole a lot of money from American people in order to fund the Vietnam War, a theft that this country did pay a very high price for, although not in a lengthy prison sentence after indictment and conviction for grand larceny. But if that weren’t bad enough–from a criminal-law standpoint, that is–he also stole lots of money to fund the student-loan program that helped so many baby boomers go to college and graduate school. Some of them–the ones who became hedge fund managers, anyway–would now be in imminent danger of becoming crime victims themselves, rather than the beneficiaries of thefts past, but John Boehner has infiltrated the den of thieves and had has called the FBI, which, luckily, still has some agents working full-time schedules, despite the sequester.
And we won’t even get into George H.W. Bush, who, as we all know, lost his reelection bid to Bill Clinton partly because he had firmly and repeatedly promised during his first campaign to not steal more from the American people than was already being stolen, only to turn around and rob the American people blind. Luckily, he son was available eight years later to provide restitution, although his Department of Justice never did indict his father.
And, speaking of Bill Clinton–well, they didn’t call him Slick Willie for nothing, did they?
But Reagan? Reagan? Et tu? Yup. I keep forgetting that tax rates were much higher during Reagan’s time as president then they are now, and that after lowering tax rates, he raised some. He’s dead now, so he can’t be indicted. And anyway, I think the statute of limitations has run. Which is too bad.
But Bill Clinton is very much alive, and active. And since Obama seems unwilling to rebut Boehner’s and other Republicans’ intended inferential misrepresentation that Obama’s and the congressional Democrats’ tax-increase proposals, now and the ones enacted as part of the “fiscal cliff” resolution in early January, would tax Americans other than Americans who are quite wealthy, or who have income from capital gains or dividends and who still pay taxes for that income at lower rates than during the Reagan or the Clinton era, or who are corporate Americans.
The Republicans expect that they will get a majority of Americans to believe falsely that the Dems are proposing to raise their taxes. If Obama remains mute instead of correcting this misrepresentation, Clinton should step in and do that. He should hang the taxes-as-stealing statement around John Boehner’s neck, and then tighten the noose by answering the question Boehner posed: How much more money do we want to steal from the American people to fund more government? He then should answer the questions, from which American people, and for what? And he should be specific.
But he also should ask this: Since when is it theft of Americans to institute tax increases that a majority of Americans who voted in the recent election actually specifically voted for? And he should point out that what Boehner really thinks the crime is is that public prefers that the federal government continue to fund Medicare and other social safety-net programs, as well as myriad other services, agencies and perks of being an American; the National Institutes of Health, the National Parks Service, FEMA, and the EPA come quickly to mind, but of course there are many others.
As criminality goes, the aggressive attempts to undermine the very nature of democratic government, through an unremitting series of stunts and use of bizarre language and concerted campaigns of disinformation, strike me as more serious ones than the theft of wealthy Americans through tax increases that would remain substantially lower than they were during most of the 20th Century.
But, by all means, Speaker Boehner, bring on the theft language, again and again. Keep it up, all the way through the 2014 midterm elections. Please. But if you don’t feel like it, hopefully the Dem congressional candidates will pick up the slack and help you out with that, in their TV and Internet commercials.
It should help them steal some elections.
*Parenthetical added after initial posting.