Moral Low Ground

US Government

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Refuses to Admit Ronald Reagan Raised Taxes (12 Times!)

Ronald Reagan is a sacred figure to millions of conservative Americans. He’s got schools, roads, parks and even an international airport named after him, and he’s been lionized as the greatest American who ever lived in a Discovery Channel poll, beating out George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, to name but a few.

A legacy of 12– count 'em, 12– tax hikes.

Even so-called liberals like President Barack Obama go out of their way to pay homage to The Gipper, but no group adores and idolizes Reagan quite like conservatives. Whenever today’s Republicans rail against the excesses of big-spending Big Government; whenever they excoriate “tax-and-spend liberals,” the name that inevitably comes up as the example to which we ought to strive is Ronald Reagan.

Never mind that his was one of the most scandal-plagued administrations in modern history, replete with every sort of wrongdoing from the Iran-Contra affair to the S&L scandal to U.S.-armed, funded and trained death squads in Central America.

Never mind that Reagan “restored American pride” by invading tiny Grenada on highly dubious grounds.

Never mind that under Reaganomics, the staggering deficits and glaring income inequality that loom large over us today got their beginnings.

Never mind that it was Reagan who supported Saddam Hussein and the Islamic holy warriors who would later become the Taliban and al-Qaeda, providing the materials the former used to make chemical weapons he used against his own people and providing the latter with the cash and weapons they would one day used to kill Americans.

Never mind all of this; Reagan is a true hero of the right. Mostly because, as today’s Republicans are all to quick to point out, he drastically slashed taxes in order to stimulate the economic boom of the 1980s.

But wait– while it is true that Reagan cut taxes in 1981, after that he raised taxes no less than 12 times. Reagan raised taxes on more Americans than any other U.S. president during peacetime.

That fact is a bitter pill that many Republicans refuse to swallow.

Among them is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The Virginia Republican appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday night. During the course of Lesley Stahl’s interview with Rep. Cantor, she mentioned how Cantor’s idol Reagan compromised his principles by raising taxes.

“He never compromised his principles,” Cantor falsely asserted.

“Well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes,” Stahl pushed back.

“Well, he– he also cut taxes,” Cantor argued.

“But he did compromise,” Stahl insisted.

“That’s not true, and I don’t want to let that stand,” Brad Dayspring, Cantor’s press secretary, suddenly exploded off-camera.

Ah, but it is very much true.

Re-writing history is a favorite conservative tactic. Kudos to Lesley Stahl for accurately sticking to her point about Reagan and not being intimidated by either Cantor or his blowhard press secretary. Reagan, Moral Low Ground believes, was among the worst U.S. presidents of the last 30 years, ranking right up there (or should I say down there) with the likes of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The mythical adoration of the vile B-movie actor-turned- President by millions of Americans defies historical realities and dumbfounds the world. Those who revere Reagan as some sort of sacred figure would do well to crack open a history book.

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