Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
CBS’s “60 Minutes” ran a profile on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Sunday night, and there was one portion of the interview that has generated controversy. When asked by Leslie Stahl whether President Reagan compromised, Cantor dodged the question. Stahl then stated matter-of-factly that Reagan raised taxes. This is when Cantor's press aide off camera interrupted the interview stating "that's not true. I can't let that stand." As a matter of fact, it is true.
Here is the clip of that portion of the interview and a discussion with Ezra Klein about Reagan having raised taxes a dozen times during his presidency on The Ed Show. Klein points out that the head of the Reagan Legacy Project is Grover Norquist, who has a vested interest in promoting the myth of "Saint Ronnie the Tax Slayer" to justify his "no new taxes ever" ideology.
Steve Benen has more on this at the Political Animal - Cantor can’t handle the truth about Reagan:
Cantor’s press secretary, off camera, interrupted the interview, yelling that Stahl was lying when she said Reagan raised taxes. As Stahl told “60 Minutes” viewers, “There seemed to be some difficulty accepting the fact that even though Ronald Reagan cut taxes, he also pushed through several tax increases, including one in 1982 during a recession.”
Let’s call “some difficulty” a dramatic understatement.
Unfortunately for Cantor and his press secretary, reality is stubborn. The facts are indisputable: in Ronald Reagan’s first term, he signed off on a series of tax increases — even when unemployment was nearing 11% — and proceeded to raise taxes seven out of the eight years he was in office. The truth is, “no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people” as Reagan.
Of particular interest is the “Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982,” the largest of Reagan’s tax increases, and generally considered the largest tax increase — as a percentage of the economy — in modern American history. In fact, between 1982 and 1984, Reagan raised taxes four times, and as Bruce Bartlett has explained more than once, Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his eight years in office.
Why do Cantor, his press secretary, and Republicans everywhere deny what is plainly true? Because reality is terribly inconvenient: the GOP demi-god rejected the right-wing line on always opposing tax increases; he willingly compromised with Democrats on revenue; and the economy soared after Reagan raised taxes, disproving the Republican assumption that tax increases always push the nation towards recessions.
In other words, Reagan’s legacy makes the contemporary Republican Party look ridiculous. No wonder Cantor’s press secretary started yelling: Stahl was bringing up facts that are never supposed to be repeated out loud.
The question here is straightforward. Stahl said Reagan raised taxes; Cantor’s press secretary said "that's not true." One side is right; one side is wrong. Benen continues at the Political Animal - Let’s not parse the meaning of ‘tax increase’:
Either Reagan signed tax increases into law or he didn’t. Even conservatives should be able to accept these basic terms.
And in this case, reality is crystal clear and the facts are indisputable: in Ronald Reagan’s first term, he signed off on a series of tax increases — even when unemployment was nearing 11% — and proceeded to raise taxes seven out of the eight years he was in office. The truth is, “no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people” as Reagan.
It’s true that Reagan cut taxes in 1981, but a year later, he also approved what is generally considered the largest tax increase — as a percentage of the economy — in modern American history.
And unfortunately for the right, the economy boomed shortly thereafter.
There’s nothing to debate here. Between 1982 and 1984, Reagan raised taxes four times, and as Bruce Bartlett — who worked for Reagan — has explained more than once, Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his eight years in office.
When we can deny indisputable facts and deny reality, we are headed down the rabbit hole into a dangerous world of make believe. We have had enough of that lunacy over the past 30 years.