Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When Democrats Renege

An article about the 1982 budget deal, “When Reagan Raised Taxes” recently appeared on The author, Princeton History Professor Julian E. Zelizer, argued that Congress ought to pass a deficit reduction package that includes both spending cuts and tax increases. To conservative Republicans who support the former but oppose the latter, Professor Zelizer points out that even their patron saint, Ronald Reagan, once made a deal of this nature.

It is interesting to read what Reagan himself had to say about this deal. In his memoir he wrote, “To win congressional approval of additional spending cuts and show the financial community we were serious about reducing the deficit, I made a deal with the Congressional Democrats in 1982, agreeing to support a limited loophole-closing tax increase to raise more than $98.3 billion over three years in return for their agreement to cut spending by $280 billion during the same period; later the Democrats reneged on their pledge and we never got those cuts.”

IMHO, if Professor Zelizer wants the GOP to agree to a tax increase, it would be better if he did not bring up the events of 1982. Reminding Republicans that Democrats cannot be trusted is not an effective way to bring them to the negotiating table.

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