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When President Obama released his plan for “the Buffett rule,” which involves closing tax loopholes and ensuring that millionaires pay their fair share in taxes, he explained that “middle-class families shouldn’t be paying higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires.” “Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett,” he said. Ever since, many Republicans have been attacking Obama for inciting “class warfare.” “It looks like the President wants to move down the class warfare path,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). “I don’t think I would describe class warfare as leadership,” agreed Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).
However, if calling for an end to millionaires having lower tax rates than their secretaries is class warfare, Obama is only the latest class warrior to occupy the Oval Office.
In a June 6, 1985 speech at Northside High School in Atlanta, Georgia, then President Ronald Reagan explained that tax loopholes allowing a millionaire to pay lower taxes that a bus driver were “crazy,” because they allowed the “truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share”:
"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?"
A recent Daily Kos/SEIU “State of the Nation” poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 73 percent of Americans, including 66 percent of Republicans, favor the Buffett rule. Remember, it was Reagan who completely equalized the tax treatment of investment income and wage income, which is currently one of the key tax disparities that allows the wealthy to dramatically lower their tax rates.
As the Center for American Progress’ Seth Hanlon and Michael Linden put it, “in calling for the ‘Buffett Rule,’ Obama is merely calling for a return to basic fairness. He is echoing the very same call that Ronald Reagan made 25 years ago. Given the history, maybe we should be calling it the ‘Reagan Rule.’”
Of course, I'm not alone in my nostalgia. I'm joined by the entire Republican leadership in this, but I think our reasons may be quite a bit different. In the spirit of unity, I'd like to suggest to Republicans in Congress that they look closely at the record of their favorite 20th century hero and adopt yet another policy named after the Gipper. I'm no fan of much of President Reagan's legacy, but in a new spirit of bipartisanship, and historical accuracy, I'd like to present Republicans in Congress with an idea: the Ronald Reagan Tax Reform Act of 2011.
A key element of the Reagan lore believed by today's GOP is that Reagan's embrace of "trickle-down economics" is what caused any and all economic growth since the 1980s. In fact, after Reagan implemented his initial tax-slashing plan in 1981, the federal budget deficit started to rapidly balloon. Reagan and his economic advisers were forced to scramble and raised corporate taxes to calm the deficit expansion and stop the economy from spiraling downward. Between 1982 and 1984, Reagan implemented four tax hikes. In 1986, his Tax Reform Act imposed the largest corporate tax increase in U.S. history. The GDP growth and higher tax revenues enjoyed in the later years of the Reagan presidency were in part because of his willingness to compromise on his early supply-side idolatry. The corporate tax increases that Reagan implemented -- under the more palatable guise of "tax reform" -- bear another lesson for Republicans.
The vast majority of the current Republican Congress has signed on to a pledge peddled by anti-tax purist Grover Norquist, which beholds them to not raise any income taxes by any amount under any circumstances, or to bring in new revenue by closing loopholes. This pledge, which Rep. Ryan's budget loyally adheres to, in effect freezes tax policy in time -- preserving not only Bush's massive and supposedly temporary tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, but also a vast mishmash of tax breaks and loopholes for specific industries won by well-funded lobbyists. The problem has become so great that many giant American corporations have become so adept at exploiting loopholes in the tax code that they paid no federal income taxes at all last year -- if Republicans in Congress follow their pledge to Norquist, they won't be able to close a single one of the loopholes that are allowing corporations to avoid paying their fair share.
Even Reagan recognized the difference between just plain raising taxes and simplifying the tax code to cut out loopholes that subsidize corporations. In 1984, he arranged to bring in $50 billion over three years, mainly by closing these loopholes. His 1986 reform act not only included $120 billion in tax hikes for corporations over five years, it also closed $300 billion worth of corporate loopholes.
the difference is reagan was full of sh-t and the republican elite knew it was all talk to get votes and popularity. obama on the other hand, and he has shown throughout his presidency, that he will try to get things done, even if he fails.
Originally posted by randomname
the difference is reagan was full of sh-t and the republican elite knew it was all talk to get votes and popularity.
obama on the other hand, and he has shown throughout his presidency, that he will try to get things done, even if he fails.