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June 09, 2004

Failures of Reagan- From the Right

This essay, The Myths of Reaganomics, comes from the Mises Institute, a fundamentalist pro-capitalism organization.

It highlights the lies of Reaganism, which even honest conservatives recognized, and the distance between rhetoric and reality:

In 1986, the last recorded year of the Reagan administration, the federal government spent $990 billion, an increase of 68%. Whatever this is, it is emphatically not reducing government expenditures.
...We get federal spending as percent of GNP in 1980 as 21.6%, and after six years of Reagan, 24.3%.

The next, and admittedly the most embarrassing, failure of Reaganomic goals is the deficit...One of the most curious, and least edifying, sights in the Reagan era was to see the Reaganites completely change their tune of a lifetime.

[T]he fa­mous "tax cut" of 1981 did not cut taxes at all. It's true that tax rates for higher-income brackets were cut; but for the average person, taxes rose, rather than declined. The reason is that, on the whole, the cut in income tax rates was more than offset by two forms of tax increase. One was "bracket creep," a term for inflation quietly but effectively raising one into higher tax brackets, so that you pay more and proportionately higher taxes even though the tax rate schedule has officially remained the same. The second source of higher taxes was Social Security taxation, which kept increasing, and which helped taxes go up overall.

So here is the bottom-line consensus on Reaganism:
* Increases in spending, with shifts in spending from the needs of the poor to the military-industrial complex
* Massive increases in the deficit
* Tax increases for working people, where only the very wealthy benefited

What is there to honor in this record?

Posted by Nathan at June 9, 2004 09:19 AM