As part of their never-ending campaign to canonize President Ronald Reagan, conservatives three years ago proposed replacing Ulysses S. Grant on the 50 dollar bill with the likeness of the Gipper. But while his hagiographers mercifully failed in that quest, a new and altogether fitting denomination has emerged to memorialize Reagan. The much-discussed one trillion dollar platinum coin, the unfortunate gimmick that may be needed to circumvent the Republicans' dangerously real gimmick on the debt ceiling, would be a perfect home for Reagan's image. After all, President Reagan didn't merely triple the national debt in his eight years in the White House and establish budget-busting tax cuts as a permanent fixture in Republican politics. As it turns out, Reagan excoriated those in Congress who would jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States by refusing to increase the nation's debt limit.
Reagan came to the Oval Office in 1981 promising to slash taxes by 30 percent, boost Pentagon funding and balance the budget. But as most analysts predicted, Reagan's massive $749 billion supply-side tax cuts in 1981 quickly produced even more massive annual budget deficits. Combined with his rapid increase in defense spending, Reagan delivered not the balanced budgets he promised, but record-setting debt. Even his OMB alchemist David Stockman could not obscure the disaster with his famous "rosy scenarios."
Forced to raise taxes eleven times to avert financial catastrophe, the Gipper nonetheless presided over a tripling of the American national debt to nearly $3 trillion. Federal spending grew several times faster than under President Obama, while the public sector employment expanded much more quickly than any time since. By the time he left office in 1989, Ronald Reagan more than equaled the entire debt burden produced by the previous 200 years of American history. It's no wonder that, almost 30 years after he concluded "the supply-siders have gone too far," former Arthur Laffer acolyte and Reagan budget chief David Stockmanlamented:
"[The] debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party's embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don't matter if they result from tax cuts."Perrspectives
Introducing the $1 Trillion Ronald Reagan Platinum Coin
While you are at Perrspectives, also check out Jon Perr's Polls Show GOP Duping Americans on Debt Ceiling Hike Again
Now, thanks in large part to Republicans grandstanding and misinformation, a dangerous new veil of confusion is once again enveloping the American people. (It should be noted that Americans' confusion is even more profound than the recent CBS numbers show; other polls show that the public rejects cuts to entitlements and wants federal spending increased in most areas of the budget.) Once again, almost 70 percent believe the debt ceiling, the borrowing authority which must be raised, should not be increased. Or to put the Party of Lincoln's strategy another way, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and that's their target market.Austerity is "working" — politically for the GOP.