I bet Ezra Klein's graphs weren't created while talking on the phone in his jammies.
Wow the battle over the debt ceiling sure has sparked some interesting and revealing reports in the media and blogosphere. For example, did you know that the Reagan Revolution proved that prosperity always increases in direct proportion to the amount of wealth the populace is forced to hand over to their benevolent bureaucratic overlords for safekeeping?
And then this week Ezra Klein jumped in with a colorful graph that appears to prove that Reagan was a tax-hiking tornado. Never mind that the numbers tend to be a tad, shall we say, selective. If he and his lefty friends can convince you and me that Ronald Reagan pulled the country out of one of its worst economic quagmires with massive tax hikes — not cuts — we might fall for the con and pressure the Republicans in congress to cave on the debt ceiling negotiations going on right now.
Of course, Klein would like that because it would lurch the Land of the Free a lot closer to his very own Lefty Nirvana, where there is no “veneration for the Founders,” the “Constitution has no binding power on anything,” and prosperity flourishes when government desk jockeys are finally allowed to swipe whatever they please from us and run our lives.
This is what the lefty bloggers would have you believe, and Klein even has the chart to prove it. And in Lefty Nirvana, Klein is always right. Which of course means that the Republicans are clearly insane for insisting that the private sector be allowed to keep their wealth, so they can do things like… I don’t know… buy equipment and pay workers.
Because, they say, Reagan’s record proves that the road to prosperity involves thwarting the job-creators by shoving big chunks of wealth out of their factories and stores and toward Harry Reid and Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi and President Obama, so they can buy things like swine odor research and turtle bridges and your neighbor’s 1993 Cutlass for $24,000 and… um… what else… Oh yeah. Re-election.
Sure, sure. Reagan was such an ardent believer in high taxes and government interference, that if he was alive today, he would storm Capitol Hill and smack Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor for opposing President Obama’s valiant efforts to keep alive the Reagan legacy of bloated, busybody, wealth-confiscating pork-barrel government.
Steve Benen in the Washington Monthly actually declared last week that Reagan was “slightly” to the “left” of Obama on taxes, and then taunted the austerity-minded congressional Republicans with this remark: “doesn’t it bother Republicans, just a little, that Barack Obama is more in line with the Reagan legacy than they are?”
Slightly to the left of Obama? On taxes? Reagan? Really? I must not have been paying attention when Obama enacted historic watershed cuts, chopping back income tax rates across the board by a quarter, and eventually slashing the top rate from 70% to 28%.
I can’t figure out why else Benin would say that. Unless he thinks no one will notice if he bases that outrageous statement solely on the Reagan-era increases and ignore the cuts. Which, incidentally were diluted by the subsequent hikes by about a third – which reduced them, I suppose, from gargantuan to merely gigantic.
So in light of that, maybe we should re-evaluate whether it was Reagan’s tax cuts or tax hikes that goosed the economy and rescued us all from his predecessor’s madcap lurch toward Zimbabwe-style economics. But then that might require a truth hike for a change, instead of tired lies about tax hikes. Because these guys are not honest opinion journalists. Benen's has written other pieces riddled with misleading statements about the Clinton and Bush economic records, as well as Reagan's.
And in the meantime, here we are back on the fast train to Zimbabwe (That’s right… in case you haven’t noticed, we’re stuck in a garish remake of the Carter years — a low-budget horror flick entitled “The Revenge of the Peanut Farmer.”) and Klein and Benin and their buddies are buzzing about, busily cherry-picking historical facts to hoax their readers into believing that the train is really heading to Palm Beach — but we’ll only make it if we can pressure the Republicans into exchanging our economic liberty for a cardboard Margaritaville.
This latest tactic of assigning Reagan’s economic success to tax hikes and forgetting to mention his massive cuts, could be compared to losing weight on a one-thousand-calorie diet and then still losing weight after increasing the intake to 1500 calories. Never mind that you used to eat 3000 calories. If gluttony somehow advanced the cause of socialism, you can bet that Klein and Benen would be waving nifty graphs and hollering for everyone to slim down by porking out. But of course they would only tell you about the 500 calorie increase and leave the rest of the story out.
Well, as I said before, Reagan warned us when he left office that the “other party” would “do everything in their power to rewrite history.”
And, yes, he was right about that, too.