When you have one of the best known conservative writers on economics go after the standard GOP talking points that we need more tax cuts for the rich, you know that the right is in trouble.
On Bill O’Reilly, Ben Stein did just that:
Dave Edwards offers this awesome outtake from this confrontation:
O’Reilly went on to argue that raising taxes on the rich would make the recession worse.
“That isn’t true,” Stein said. “There is no correlation, Mr. O’Reilly, between taxes rates on millionaires and people above that level, billionaires, and the growth of the economy… Higher taxes have historically correlated with more growth.”
“Mr. O’Reilly, sir, there is no correlation of raising taxes and unemployment,” he added later. “If you can show it to me, I’ll eat your shoe.”
And Ben Stein is right in this argument. Let’s go back to 1982. Ronald Reagan was in the White House, his historic tax cuts only on the books for a couple of years and a recession hitting the country. What did Reagan do? Let’s ask David Stockman:
That put the lie to the current arguments of Republicans that the economy is too weak to bear a tax increase” because “the next year 3.5 million jobs were created,” said Stockman, who says tax increases are now needed to help reduce the deficit. “When the Republicans rhetorically say now, ‘Who would raise taxes in a recession?’ the answer is Ronald Reagan.”
That is not some left-wing spin or made up story. That is historic fact, as being told by Reagan’s budget director. It’s also a fact that Republicans seem to ignore.
So how big were the Reagan tax increases? Well according to the OMB, they raised about $300 billion a year. The act reduced corporate tax breaks, raised taxes on things such as cigarettes and increase unemployment-insurance levies.
The next year Reagan pushed through an act to raise social security taxes on the wealthies Americans.
In 1984, Reagan once again raised taxes. This time he raised the estate tax, eliminated more corporate tax breaks and raised taxes on other commodities, such as alcohol.
What did all this do? It pulled us out of a recession and got rid of a 10% unemployment rate. it was proper tax increases that did this, not tax decreases like Bill O’Reilly supports.
And it really pisses me off to hear Republicans praise Reagan, but totally ignore what he did in the early 80’s. Reagan brought the economy back from the brink and he did it by raising taxes, yet if you try to tell that to someone on the right, they quickly call you a liar or crazy. Even when Reagan’s wife or children try to set the record straight they quickly dismiss them.
This shows an absolute disrespect for the late President. The fact that you refuse to admit what he did and instead create an alternate reality shows you never had any respect for the man, just for the name.
We often hear that history repeats itself. Well if the old adage holds any truth then we need to attempt to do the same thing Reagan did in the early 80’s – raise taxes on those who can afford it. That is the one thing we haven’t tried yet in this current economic state, so why not try it now? It’s worked before and I got a feeling, as well as Ben Stein, that it will work again!