"Obama would be the first president since Hoover to raise taxes during a recession!" Charlie Sykes bellows endlessly to his herd.
No one's accused Sykes of intellectual honesty before. But this lie is particularly sweet since none other than Ronald Reagan actually raised taxes during a recession. In 1982 in fact. Faced with spiraling deficits, the Reagan administration rolled back many of the cuts it pushed through a year earlier.
Indeed, the increase was greater than that which Clinton pushed through in 1993 -- an increase that Sykes et al have hailed as the biggst tax increase in history (another lie).
As Nobel laureate Paul Krugman noted in June 2004:
The first Reagan tax increase came in 1982. By then it was clear that the budget projections used to justify the 1981 tax cut were wildly optimistic. In response, Mr. Reagan agreed to a sharp rollback of corporate tax cuts, and a smaller rollback of individual income tax cuts. Over all, the 1982 tax increase undid about a third of the 1981 cut; as a share of G.D.P., the increase was substantially larger than Mr. Clinton’s 1993 tax increase.
Reagan, for good measure, stuck it to the middle class the next year with the Social Security Reform Act of 1983.
One of the more amusing aspects of the right, in Milwaukee and beyond, is how their veneration of Reagan seems whollydetached from what he actually, you know, did. Some don't know any better. Others do. But the fact is that if Obama should raise taxes to fix the damage wrought by more than a decade of Republican damage, he'll be following in the footsteps of St. Ronnie.