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Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in Economy, Politics | 16 comments

Republican Suckers (Guest Voice)

Republican Suckers
by Michael Reagan

Republicans had better learn from history — and from Ronald Reagan’s mistake.

President Obama and his fellow big-spenders in Congress are promising if they get higher tax rates today they’ll make even higher spending cuts tomorrow.

It’s an old sucker’s game. Republicans — and the rest of the country — should know it by now, because for three decades we’ve all been suckers.

If history is our guide, and Republicans in Congress don’t grow a spine, by this time next year we’ll have higher taxes, higher spending, more debt and a bigger government.

Twice before, Republicans have been fooled into playing the Democrats’ con game.

It happened to my father early in his first term when he sought to close a growing federal deficit caused by the deep economic recession. He believed Democrats in Congress would keep their pledge to make $3 in future spending cuts for every $1 in immediate tax increases.

In 1982 he signed a compromise tax bill with the horrible name of TEFRA — the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act. And, when those promised spending cuts never materialized in Congress, TEFRA became one of the biggest regrets of my father’s presidency.

My father was duped by the duplicity of Democrats. And so was George H.W. Bush less than a decade later, when he foolishly allowed himself to be taken for the same ride.

In 1990’s budget wrangling, which was aimed at reducing the federal budget deficit by $500 billion over five years, Bush 41 was seduced by the Democrats’ promise of making $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes.

The first Bush fell for it completely, reneging on his “Read my lips, no new taxes” pledge, opening the door for “tax-cutter” Ross Perot and losing in 1992 to Bill Clinton.

Even before he was de-elected, Bush 41 regretted the “bargain” he had made with Democrats. In March of 1992, the sucker in chief said, “I thought this one compromise — and it was a compromise — would result in no more tax increases.

“I thought it would result in total control of domestic discretionary spending. And now we see Congress talking about raising taxes again. So, I’m disappointed, and given all of that, yes, (it was) a mistake.”

Fast-forward to “Nightmare on Obama Street, Part II.” We have trillion-dollar federal deficits as far as our children’s eyes can see. We have an economy that’s looking at four more years of low growth and higher taxes.

And now some Republicans in Congress — who apparently don’t have a piece of conservative cartilage left in their bodies — are getting ready to be duped again.

What’s that old saying? “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Well, Republicans look like they are about to be fooled for the third time, which is so stupid there’s no adage to describe it.

While my father was bargaining with Democrats in 1982 over spending and tax cuts, he spoke over the heads of Congress to the American people.

“In a few days the Congress will stand at the fork of two roads,” he said. “One road is all too familiar to us. It leads ultimately to higher taxes. It merely brings us full circle back to the source of our economic problems, where the government decides that it knows better than you what should be done with your earnings and, in fact, how you should conduct your life. The other road promises to renew the American spirit. It’s a road of hope and opportunity. It places the direction of your life back in your hands where it belongs.”

America is at that same fork in the road today. Twice in 30 years Republicans have let Democrat promises lead them and the country down a one-way road to bigger and bigger government.

Double shame on us. And if the GOP allows itself to be suckered again, it won’t be just another disaster for conservatism, it’ll be a tragedy for the whole country.

Copyright ©2012 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at and Send comments to [email protected] Follow @reaganworld on Twitter. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

  • As usual Michael Reagan is taking advantage of his fathers name to be a well paid political hack.

  • SteveK

    I think paycheck to paycheck would be more on the mark.

    By the way EVERYBODY, did I ever tell you about MY father…

  • ShannonLeee

    wtf is de-elected?

  • zusa1

    ShannonLee, I took it as a short cut way of saying he lost his bid for re-election. Overlooking his liberty with language, he does make a good point that in political negotiations, the give and take need to occur together otherwise it is too often lip service.

  • cjjack

    Another day, another column by Michael Reagan about how his dad did everything right…but wait! Something is different here! Ronald Reagan made a *gasp* mistake?!

    No need to worry, though. St. Reagan’s legacy is intact. It was the Democrats’ fault after all. Yes friends, Ronald Reagan (did I mention his son Michael?) would have never signed a tax increase without a promise to cut spending, and we know this because he was such a fiscal hawk, he demanded that the steep tax cuts he made at the beginning of his term be accompanied by even steeper spending cuts.*

    (*citation needed)

    President Reagan – who had a son named Michael – was so adamant about fiscal restraint that his plan to literally spend the Soviet Union into oblivion, deficits be damned, was eventually shelved. This did not stop the Democrats, though, and all the money that was to be spent on submarines, aircraft carriers, and missile defense systems instead went to things like expanding welfare, paying exorbitant salaries to air traffic controllers, and fighting AIDS. (Isn’t that the way it went down? I’ll have to check)

    What must have really pained Ronald Reagan (father of Michael) was to watch – after his successor had been de-elected – as Bill Clinton taxed and spent the American economy into a tailspin. Given control of the government, the Democrats who had so sneakily suckered him and George H.W. Bush into raising taxes went into high gear, raising taxes higher than they’d ever been in US history, and spending so much more than even these new taxes could bear that they left office in 2000 with deficits that would take years to undo.*

    (*It must have happened this way, because Democrats are fiscally irresponsible, right?)

    In a way, it makes me sad to think that in the waning years of his life, Ronald Reagan – who sired a fine young man named Michael – probably was not aware that his successor’s son finally proved that which he most assuredly believed:

    That with Republicans in control of both the White House and Congress, the government could lower taxes and spending at the same time, living within their means, and making deficit spending and debt a thing of the past. Tragically, Michael Reagan’s father who was President Ronald Reagan died before the 8 years of the George W. Bush administration demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that low taxes, relaxed regulations on businesses, and fiscal restraint by a Republican Congress would finally once and for all show the world that Trickle Down Economics really works.

  • zusa1

    Despite what you think about either Reagan, history does indeed seem to be repeating itself.

    “On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented a proposal that calls for $1.6 trillion in increased revenue, some of it the result of higher tax rates for families making more than $250,000 a year. Obama also wants to close loopholes, limit deductions, raise the estate tax rate to 2009 levels and increase taxes on capital gains and dividend taxes.

    The proposal further calls for additional spending, including a new $50 billion stimulus package, a home mortgage refinancing plan and an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

    In return, multiple sources told CNN, Obama is offering $400 billion in new cuts to Medicare and other entitlement programs. Specifics on cuts would be decided next year, the sources said.

    BTW, how much can we keep saying the savings are coming from Medicare? Already the premise that Obamacare won’t raise the deficit is the unreasonable presumption that the growth rate of Medicare spending (per beneficiary, adjusted for overall inflation) will drop from about 4 percent per year, which it has averaged for the past two decades, to about 2 percent per year on average for the next two decades.

  • The_Ohioan

    “Ultimately, however, Cole said he would stand by his party no matter what decision was reached. ” (History repeating itself).

    (Obama’s) proposal further calls for additional spending, including a new $50 billion stimulus package, a home mortgage refinancing plan and an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. ((Reagan) History not repeating itself).

    The premise is not that the deicit won’t rise, but that it will rise at a slower rate because of ACA. The deficit will keep rising until the baby boomers pass through the system, then the baby bump, then the deficit will decline. That’s the math, no matter what congress does – unless they cut everything to the bone and the baby boomers live much shortened lives; then the deficit will decline faster.

  • zusa1

    I was wrong when I said the Dem’s premise was that Obamacare won’t raise the deficit. The actual premise (fantasy?) is that Obamacare will REDUCE the deficit.

    “The Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit considerably,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters today.

    ““Ultimately, however, Cole said he would stand by his party no matter what decision was reached. ” (History repeating itself).”

    This isn’t history repeating itself. This is SOP for both parties (that’s what whips are for).

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Cute, cjjack.

    However, Ronald Reagan did not “sire” Michael Reagan. Michael was adopted. Reagan did sire a bright young man, whom I enjoy watching speak rationally on some TV programs without mentioning ad nauseam that he is Reagan’s son: Ron Reagan,

  • ShannonLeee

    Z, MR is a hack. I rarely bother to read anything he writes.

    The people have spoken. Taxes are going to go up on the 1%, probably the 10%, and rightfully so. Trickle down is so dead that not even social conservatives believe it anymore…and those people think the earth is 6,000 years old 🙂

  • zusa1

    SL, Quantitative easing isn’t trickling down.

  • The_Ohioan


    Herding Democrats is like herding cats. Herding Republicans is an exercise in futility; they just naturally herd.

    question “Who owns the Washington Examiner and why?”
    answer (Philip Anschutz).

    When Anschutz started the Examiner in its current format, he envisioned creating a conservative competitor to The Washington Post. According to Politico, “When it came to the editorial page, Anschutz’s instructions were explicit — he ‘wanted nothing but conservative columns and conservative op-ed writers,’ said one former employee.”

    But back to the CBO and the effect of PPACA on the deficit: See Table 2 – Page 19

  • cjjack

    However, Ronald Reagan did not “sire” Michael Reagan. Michael was adopted. Reagan did sire a bright young man, whom I enjoy watching speak rationally on some TV programs without mentioning ad nauseam that he is Reagan’s son: Ron Reagan

    Ah yes, the apostate Reagan! We have a Republican state representative here named Michelle Reagan. I met her a couple years back, and someone asked her “any relation?” to which she replied something like “I wish…but not to Ron! The man is a disgrace to his father’s legacy!”

    I didn’t say anything.

  • zusa1

    O, This is from the transcript of the press breifing:

    “MR. CARNEY: Well, let me just say that congressional leaders of both parties, including the Speaker, have said that Obamacare is the law of the land. The Supreme Court has rule and upheld the Affordable Care Act. Implementation continues, as we speak, and will continue.

    And then as a third point I would note that as we have in the past, although it’s often overlooked by those who have advocated for repeal, the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit considerably. And when we’re talking about deficit reduction and taking a balanced approach to deficit reduction, it’s important to remember that fact.”

  • The_Ohioan


    At the risk of becoming tedious, I repeat – deficits will climb until the baby boom and bump have passed through the system. The deficits will climb higher without PPACA than they will with it; i.e. the PPACA will reduce the coming deficits – repealing PPACA will increase the coming deficits – which is what Table 2 of the link above states.

    If you think Mr. Carney doesn’t understand these facts and is deliberately trying to mislead rather than making an incomplete statement, I can better understand your position on Ms. Rice’s statements. Not agree, but understand.

    I don’t for a minute think that Messers Boehner and McConnell don’t understand these facts as well, though their statements would lead one to believe otherwise. I’m sure you are too canny to follow their lead.

  • zusa1

    O, You threw me with your side comment on the Examiner. I understand with the report says. We’ll have to see what really happens.

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