Before Barack Obama another president stood up on a June day in Atlanta, and supported the socialist Buffett Rule. That president was Ronald Reagan.
Here’s the video:
Reagan said, “Just a moment ago, a few moments ago I told some people inside the building here of a letter that I just received day before yesterday. It’s a letter from a man out here in the country, an executive who’s earning in six figures, well beyond $100,000 a year. He wrote me in support of the tax plan because he said I am legally able to take advantage of the present tax code, nothing dishonest doing what the law prescribes and paying a smaller salary than my secretary gets. I mean, I’m sorry. Paying a smaller tax than my secretary pays and he wrote me the letter to tell me he’d like to come to Washington and testify before Congress as to how that’s possible for him to do, and why it’s wrong.”
Just in case you think that quote was taken out of context, in the exact same speech, President Reagan also said, “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed 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 10 percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. It’s time we stopped it.”
Reagan wasn’t done. He added, “What we’re trying to move against is institutionalized unfairness. We want to see that everyone pays their fair share, and no one gets a free ride. Our reasons? It’s good for society when we all know that no one is manipulating the system to their advantage because they’re rich and powerful. But it’s also good for society when everyone pays something, that everyone makes a contribution.”
According to Republicans when Ronald Reagan argued for the Buffett Rule it was a high point in the history of capitalism, but when Barack Obama makes the exact same argument, it is socialism. Why wasn’t it socialism in 1985 when St. Ronnie of Jellybean was advocating for it?
It appears that Republicans have forgotten half of Ronald Reagan’s message. The then president did sell the fulfillment of the American dream through tax cuts, but he didn’t want to cut taxes for everyone. Reagan was also a wealth redistributor. He championed the virtues of lowering taxes for everyone but the super-rich. Ronald Reagan raised taxes eleven times, and in seven of the eight years that he was in office. In contrast, President Obama is the biggest tax cutter in American history.
As Republicans get set to vote on the Buffett Rule, they would be wise to revisit their roots and win one for the Socialist.