Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Most Revered Conservative Would Flunk Today’s Purity Tests

Hard to know where the group comes from that has hijacked the Republican Party.  But there are signs it has to do more with undermining social justice than conservatism.

By today’s test, they would not only exclude Ronald Reagan but every Republican presidents since the ‘70’s according to this Newsweek overview by Andrew Romano and several blogs out there.presidentronaldreagan

They seem to have not only purged the party from any moderate Republicans but the conservative label as well.  It would appear they are really more libertarian than conservative.

What some including Romano terms a Reaganite purity test, 1) cut taxes at all costs,  2) limit government spending except defense (read, gut social programs) and 3) let the Bible (must be the Old Testament then.)

President Reagan was great, the article, argues because he “got stuff done.”  And to do that he better informed conservative dogma with “debate, self examination and facts.”

While Reagan cut the marginal tax rate from 70% to under 39% (where it was under Bill Clinton as well.)  He also closed $50 billion in loopholes, instituted the largest tax increase in US history, hit businesses with $450 billion in new fees and instituted a payroll-tax hike to fund Medicare and Social Security.

Last year, by the way, Romano points out that taxes fell to their lowest level as a percentage of personal income since 1950.

President Reagan also ran up huge deficits (national debt soared from $700 billion to $3 trillion,) and expanded federal employment by 60,000 in contrast to Bill Clinton’s presidency which shrank federal payrolls by 373,000.

It wasn’t that cutting deficits wasn’t important to President Reagan, he was just pragmatic and put cutting taxes and confronting the Soviets first.  They were eliminated under Clinton but came back again under the most recent President Bush.

President Obama inherited the deficit and had no choice but to increase it to fight off an economic catastrophe.  It is clear that if he were President now Reagan would have done the same as well as increased taxes.

Maybe true Republican conservatives and moderates need to unite to take their party back from people schooled only in the dogma of Beck U and U of L.

I think if he were alive today, President Reagan would lead that charge.


Barry said...

Of course, Reagan's greatest legacy was supporting the conservative, Islamic proxy groups in Afghanistan that would later become the Taliban.

So, by setting the US on course for what has become the Permanent War on Terror, most of the American right-wing would forgive him his other transgressions.

Reyn said...

Good point Barry, thus putting the fingerprints of conservatives on most of today's deficit as well. At the very least, the purity tests are hypocritical.