Channeling ReaganJuly 23rd, 2011 by Lee Eldridge
“Congress consistently brings the Government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility – two things that set us apart from much of the world.” — Ronald Reagan warned Congress of the possible repercussions for failing to raise the debt limit in a 1987 radio address.
It has been interesting to watch the media and liberals find a common brethren in their warnings about the consequences or not raising the debt ceiling in Ronald Reagan. Here are just a few examples (there are many available):
Rep. John Larson, chairman of the Democratic Caucus: “It could not be put more bluntly or more articulately than [how] Ronald Reagan laid it out.” Larson added that the debt ceiling was raised in the Reagan administration 17 times “without the taking of any hostages.”
Thomas Roberts from MSNBC: “Alright, so there we have it. President Reagan tying this up in a nutshell. For current day Republicans that evoke President Reagan’s name so much, why don’t Republicans listen to that message from the icon that they have in Ronald Reagan and move off of some of the far-right rhetoric that we’ve been hearing over the last weeks and months?”
Lawrence O’Donnell from MSNBC: “Somewhat to my surprise, that lesson that Ronald Reagan was trying to teach about the debt ceiling, what it actually means, what happens if you wouldn’t raise it. He said that in the context of having to sign a debt ceiling increase that included pieces that he did not like, that he was absolutely opposed to, but he said I got to sign it because if I don’t, look what happens.”
Peter Fenn from US News: “The point is that Republicans should shelve using the debt ceiling vote as a means of negotiation. This is not a negotiable item. Should they take this right up until the 11th hour and refuse to fund the government not only will Reagan’s admonitions come true but the Republicans will seal their fate as an irresponsible, minority party–a pariah for years to come.”
Chris Matthews on MSNBC: “There [Reagan] is saying this brinksmanship, this trickery, around the time of a deadline just to get your way is sort of economic terrorism.”
The media and liberals have one goal here — to paint fiscal conservatives as extremists. I’ve seen repeated use of phrases including “economic terrorism”, “hostage takers” and that they’re “holding a gun to the head of the economy”. And the left is now attempting to use the words of President Reagan against fiscal conservatives to paint them as extremists.
But if you listen to the rest of the radio address from Reagan, you end up with a different picture all together.
“You don’t need more taxes to balance the budget. Congress needs the discipline to stop spending more, and that can be done with the passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget,” explained Reagan.
That sounds more like Paul Ryan than President Obama to me.
A Final Point
I think ultimately we will need to increase tax revenues to solve our long-term problems, but this needs to be accomplished in a complete overhaul of our tax code. Not by cherry picking a few political points such as the depreciation of corporate jets and oil subsidies. And I despise the tactics of painting fiscal conservatives as extremists. From the recent CNN poll, 74% favor a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget, and 34% favor tackling our deficits without raising any new tax revenues. And Gallup, who typically polls a bit to the left, found that 50% favor tackling our deficits either “only with spending cuts” or “mostly with spending cuts”.
I guess there are a lot of extremists out there.