In this video, former U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson (R) of Wyoming gives a history lesson to America about the great, President Ronald Reagan’s record on raising taxes. Sen. Simpson mentions 4 major taxes implemented under Pres. Reagan.
- ’82 – Tax Equity & Fiscal Responsibility Act
- ’82 – Gas Tax Increase
- ’83 – Green Span Commission: Social Security Reform Act (Increased Payroll Tax)
- ’84 – Deficit Reduction Tax
- And there are several more…
Reagan’s behavior might not pass muster with those voters today who insist their Congressmen treat every proposed tax increase as poisonous to the republic.
“By today’s standards, the Gipper would easily qualify for status as a back-stabbing, treacherous RINO [Republican in Name Only],” wrote Tax Analysts contributing editor Martin Sullivan, in an article for Tax Notes in May.
Thanks in part to the increases in defense spending during his administration, Reagan also didn’t really reduce the size of government. Annual spending averaged 22.4% of GDP on his watch, which is above today’s 40-year average of 20.7%, and above the 20.8% average under Carter.
Indeed, in one very symbolic respect he enlarged it. While in the early years of his presidency Reagan tried to shrink the IRS, by the end, the number of IRS employees hit an all-time high, according to Steuerle in his book Contemporary U.S. Tax Policy.
The reason was two-fold, Steuerle said. The first was a desire to crack down on the proliferation of tax shelters. But the point of cracking down was to boost tax revenue. That, in turn, could reduce the need to impose other tax increases to combat budget deficits.