Your Opinion: A look at Reagan’s record

Mr. Brown’s response to Smith and Bachant showed some promise in that he actually introduced evidentiary citations, notwithstanding the incomplete presentation of the facts supporting his thesis.

However, he still insists that I am a liar. Did he check out the study done at University of California at Santa Clara on income and wealth distribution? Has he done any substantive research on where the money has gone for the last 30 years? If so, he wouldn’t be as sure of his premise or the assertion that I am a liar.

Let’s look at the specifics of the complete tax record of Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s 1981 cuts were the largest since World War II. In 1981, he made business deductions more generous. In 1986 he lowered individual income rates for the top incomes from 70 to 28 percent. Yes, in 1985 the marginal rate was 70 percent and we’re debating the wisdom and justification to raise it to 39 percent.

In 1982 and 1984, Reagan signed two bills that combined are credited as being the largest tax increase enacted in peacetime. However, the method he used is the very same one that Democrats are proposing now, expanding enforcement and closing loopholes. However, Reagan also raised the gas tax. More transactions became taxable and tax-advantaged benefits were reduced. In 1983, as noted by Mr. Smith, to protect Social Security, Reagan increased the payroll tax rate, required “means testing” for higher income beneficiaries as to individual tax liability and effectively doubled the payroll tax for the self-employed. In 1986, he again reduced tax breaks and shelters for high-income individuals.

After all was said and done, Reagan’s increases largely countered the reductions. While tripling the debt, revenue during his terms was marginally above the 40-year average. To assert that Reagan created an economic miracle by his tax cuts alone is to completely ignore the other half of what Reagan actually did. Yes, Mr. Brown, trickle-down did not and has not worked as a singularly effective policy.

Any non-ideological research into income, wage, wealth and tax distribution will clarify how badly all of us in the bottom 90 percent are doing in this equation.

And note the 70 percent rate that the upper income brackets paid prior to Reagan. That rate had been largely the same or higher as far back as the 40s. Our interstate system was born with that rate. America got a good deal!

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