offers a fascinating response to a 60 Minutes profile of Eric Cantor, who -- on camera -- absolutely refused to believe that Ronald Reagan raised taxes to combat a recession. Even though Reagan did just that; his tax raise was massive
. I recall it well; people like Richard Viguerie thought Reagan had turned commie. (Incidentally, Jimmy Carter
lowered taxes, a move which did much to create that recession.)
Why do Cantor, his press secretary, and Republicans everywhere deny what is plainly true? Because reality is terribly inconvenient: the GOP demi-god rejected the right-wing line on always opposing tax increases; he willingly compromised with Democrats on revenue; and the economy soared after Reagan raised taxes, disproving the Republican assumption that tax increases always push the nation towards recessions.
It gets worse than that. The top tax rate was lowered as Reagan left office, which led to the recession that assailed Bush the elder. Clinton raised the top tax rate; not only did that move get our government out of the red (remember when the big issue was how to spend the surplus?), it initiated the longest period of prosperity we've known during the past five decades.
Here's another reality check: When you ask conservatives to defend the ludicrous notion that Obama is a socialist, they invariably will point to the stimulus package. But by far the largest item in that package was tax cuts.
If you say that the stim package did not work, you're saying that tax cuts don't work.
To make that admission is libertarian thoughtcrime. Many people prefer to rewrite history, to rewrite their own memories.
Libertarian theology is the constant triumph of hallucination over experience. Libertarians are stage magicians who keep thrusting their hands into an empty hat because their beloved theory -- which they can never allow themselves to question -- demands that a rabbit must be in there somewhere.
To be fair, though, this old-school libertarian
was willing, back in 1987, to tell a few important truths about Reagan -- truths which modern conservatives like Cantor prefer to wish away.
Benen's article evinced a comment worth repeating, and even savoring.
I'm seeing the denial of reality in recent history, too. In response to the news that GM and Chrysler are planning to invest nearly $1BN in new plants and equipment in Ohio as the US auto industry rebounds, people are still trying to claim the bailout was a bad thing.
In particular, I'm hearing "if GM was such a good gamble, why didn't the private market loan them the money?" Which made me livid - these jack@sses have already forgotten that their precious markets were horribly, frighteningly broken lo those three years ago.
In all the "Obama is a Wall Street hating soshulist" garbage is one of the biggest real-time rewritings of history: the Kenyan communist saved capitalism's sorry butt. Big time.
But that cannot be the national narrative. Democrats must always be the party of government and Republicans the party of markets, even if the facts utterly support the opposite.