Opinion by Patricia L Johnson
There are some politicians you just plain like whether or not you agree with their politics. President Ronald Reagan was one of those people. He had a winning personality and even if you disagreed with him, you were willing to give him a chance just because he was so charming.
He was a great actor and savvy politician, but he was not a great leader that brought wealth and prosperity to the United States, quite the opposite.
Ronald Reagan signed The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (PL 97-34) into law on August 13, 1981. PL97-34 contained 300 tax provisions and took three years to implement. PL97-34 did cut the personal income tax rate which was hovering at 70% when Reagan took office [twice the amount of our current high personal income tax rate].
Revenues did increase by $474.1 billion dollars during the Reagan 8-year term of office, but each and every year resulted in a budget deficit and by the end of his 8-year term Ronald Reagan had increased the federal debt by almost $1.7 trillion dollars – 3.5 times the amount the revenues increased.
Therefore, during his second term in office the personal income tax rate was raised again with the Tax Reform Act of 1986, TRA86, (PL 99-514).
The problem with the Reagan deficit was the fact there was no reason for it, other than reducing the income tax rate. Historically the national debt has risen in periods of war when the costs of war have generally been financed by borrowing rather than raising taxes. The entire Reagan presidency was during peacetime so there were not any war costs involved.
The debt ballooned from 26.1 percent of GDP when Reagan took office, to a whopping 40.6 percent of GDP when he left.
As his son Ron stated during a recent interview with AOL News http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/02/son-ron-says-ronald-reagan-would-see-todays-gop-as-mean-spirit/
After all, as governor of California, he signed a liberal abortion law six years before Roe v. Wade. As president, he granted amnesty for illegal immigrants and, after slashing taxes, he raised them when "that old trickle-down thing wasn’t working," his son said.