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  Reagan: The Great American Socialist
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ContributorCraverguy 
Last EditedCraverguy  Mar 22, 2009 01:45am
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CategoryOpinion
News DateFriday, March 20, 2009 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
Description"Socialism" is a pejorative term in American politics and needs to be carefully examined. It usually refers to increased government control over the economy, or policies that promote the redistribution of wealth. There is no doubt that President Obama's economic measures, passed and proposed, will raise tax rates on the richest Americans to pay for increased government funding of health care, green energy and education. So the new president is indeed a redistributionist, but so was Ronald Reagan, except that Obama's plans will transfer wealth from the rich to the poor, whereas Reagan's bills transferred wealth from the poor and the middle class to the opulent. In fact, Obama's measures are puny, whereas Reagan's were massive. If the Democrat is a "small" socialist, Reagan was the Great American Socialist.

Let's go back to the early 1980's. In 1981, Reagan signed a law that sharply reduced the income tax for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. The president asserted his program would create jobs, purge inflation and, get this, trim the budget deficit. However, following the tax cut, the deficit soared from 2.5 percent of GDP to over 6 percent, alarming financial markets, sending interest rates sky high, and culminating in the worst recession since the 1930's.

Soon the president realized he needed new revenues to trim the deficit, bring down interest rates and improve his chances for reelection. He would not rescind the income tax cut, but other taxes were acceptable. In 1982, taxes were raised on gasoline and cigarettes, but the deficit hardly budged. In 1983, the president signed the biggest tax rise on payrolls, promising to create a surplus in the Social Security system, while knowing all along that the new revenue would be used to finance the deficit.
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