The Fraud-O-Meter weighed in today on comments made yesterday by his fraudulency, President Barack Obama, regarding Ronald Reagan. Obama’s statement that Ronald Reagan “understood repeatedly that when the deficit started to get out of control, that for him to make a deal he would have to propose both spending cuts and tax increases.”
Politifraud rates this statement “mostly true.”
It should be “mostly false.”
Read their history yourself, I don’t have much to disagree with on first glance at it. Though I would note that while the deals they refer to that contained both spending cuts and tax increases—the spending cuts never materialized. Never.
What I want to highlight aside from Politifraud’s generous grading when it comes to President Obama (this one should’ve been “Pants on Fire”) are two things.
To measure the overall impact of tax changes, economists prefer to look at tax revenues as a percentage of the overall economy, which is Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. Under Reagan, overall tax revenues were 19.6 percent of GDP in 1981. That number dropped during Reagan’s first term but increased slightly during his second. In 1988, his last year in office, tax revenues were 18.2 percent of GDP, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
Well that’s interesting. If this is the best way to measure tax changes and the way tax policy is set…and Obama is attempting to claim Reagan’s mantle for this…maybe we should look at these same numbers for Obama. From the White House’s OMB [XLS format]:
|FY||Outlays as % GDP|
For as far as the OMB projects, every single Obama budget will represent a bigger share of the economy than any year under Reagan. Not very Reagan-like at all.
Second, their analysis:
Obama said Reagan "understood repeatedly that when the deficit started to get out of control, that for him to make a deal he would have to propose both spending cuts and tax increases." Reagan typically did not make tax increases part of his own proposals. But he did approve and even advocate for budget deals that included increases to tax revenues, and he spoke of tax fairness in ways that contrast sharply with today’s Republicans in Congress. We rate Obama’s statement Mostly True. [emphasis added]
Really? He really spoke of tax fairness differently from the way Republicans in Congress do today? Who is suggesting means-testing Medicare and reducing the level of benefits the wealthy receive? Democrats? Under whose tax regime did the wealthiest Americans end up paying the largest share of the taxes? (Hint: Not Obama. Not Clinton.) I’ve spent the last week listening to Paul Ryan appear on just about every news program, radio show and blogcast selling his budget plan that simplifies the tax rates and removes special-interest loopholes while raising the same amount of money. Like Reagan did with his tax simplification initiative.
Reagan would be cheering congressional Republicans.
To suggest otherwise would earn you a “Pants on Fire.”