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Reagan looms over debt debate inspiring both sides


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  • ksampow Farr West, Utah
    July 28, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    Citing the percentage of income that was paid in taxes is misleading. Because low-income levels are not taxed, prosperity means that people's incomes are farther above that "floor." By cutting tax rates, Reagan helped fuel prosperity. Prosperity raises people's taxable income.

    Low tax rates encourage investment and growth.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    July 24, 2011 9:40 p.m.

    @ I'll call it | 2:25 p.m. July 24, 2011

    Well said. While I believe he was a great communicator and excelled at foreign policy, why anyone would cite Reagan as a positive economic influence I cannot understand. Trickle On economics does not work. Replacing tax and spend with borrow and spend does not work. Spending trillions on Star Wars programs that would never materialize was irresponsible, if not reprehensible.

    Now, I think we should hold taxes in check, and hold spending in check. If I were President, the first thing I would do would be to propose the elimination of the cap on Social Security taxes. THe rich should pay Social Security taxes on every cent they earn. But then we could cut their income taxes some, not touch the general fund to fund SS, and start looking at programs we should not be financing at the federal level anyway.

    An interesting article in the Dallas Morning News this morning illustrated the problem in Washington. It listed all the federal funding slated for August, proposing entire programs to fund or not fund per different scenarios. What congress should be doing is cutting all programs across the board.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2011 9:02 p.m.

    Gr8dane, boy golly gee, you sure have all the talking points down, dontcha, dude? Good work. But do you ever take a sec to think about what you are saying?

    For instance, you claim:

    Obama's debt (defined as debt accrued since he's been President) has skyrocketed and is more than all other President's combined since the founding of the Republic).


    The debt when Obama took office was 10.7 trillion. Today it stands at 14.3 trillion.

    Let's make the numbers easier for you. Let's say it was an even 10 when he took office, and lets say its 15 today. So obviously, through simple subtraction 15-10=5, we find a difference of 5. Now 5 is less then 10. So if we are saying Obama has added 5 trillion to the debt (yeah, yeah, I know it really is a lot less then this that he has added, but like I said, we are making the numbers easy for you) obviously that is not more then all previous presidents (since the founding) have added combined, as you claim.

    And good heavens, we didn't even add the debt from WWII .

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2011 5:46 p.m.


    "Reagan's unpardonable sin the that Democrats will never forgive him for? He won the Cold War and brought down the Iron Curtain. "

    Maybe you should let Democrats answer the question of what democrats think because for me and many other Democrats and liberals his unpardonable sin was trickle-down economics that over 3 decades of belief in that fraud has led us from having the top 10% control 30% of the wealth in 1980 to controlling 47% of the wealth by 2007.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 24, 2011 4:09 p.m.

    Reagan's unpardonable sin the that Democrats will never forgive him for? He won the Cold War and brought down the Iron Curtain.

  • Led Zeppelin II Bountiful, UT
    July 24, 2011 3:18 p.m.

    Ronald Reagan was the best President of the 20th century and the last true American President.
    Both parties complained about what Ronald Reagan did when he was in office.
    And later both parties have destroyed this country in the name of Ronald Reagan.
    And both parties continue to make fase statements about Ronald Reagan to make themselves look good while they continue to destroy our freedoms and nation because both sides only want power.
    RIP Ronald Reagan.
    And I hope the 2 parties destroy each other first before they destroy the United States of America.

  • Gr8Dane Tremonton, UT
    July 24, 2011 3:11 p.m.

    Obama's debt (defined as debt accrued since he's been President) has skyrocketed and is more than all other President's combined since the founding of the Republic).

    He spent a trillion dollars alone on "stimulus," and we're still at almost 10% unemployment. So much for stimulating the economy, or having the effect of reducing unemployment that he promised!

    He appears to me to not be alarmed at being on the precipice of economic disaster. Everything is still a teleprompter-induced talking point to him. He's campaigner-in=chief, still focused on political base and favoring his friends in the labor unions and community organizers (rabble rousers) like SEIU, ACORN... Opening the federal coffers to them through Obama Care, bail outs, stimulus.

    Amazing to me how Obama seems to get "a pass" every time from lame-brain media who are in the tank for him. Pray for our country....

  • I'll call it Ogden, UT
    July 24, 2011 2:25 p.m.

    Reagan has alway received too much credit. Granted, he did the best he could. Even great for the ones that choose not to live within their means. That accounts for the majority.

    He very seldom took a stance against the democratic congress his first four years. As a result, the national debt increased three fold under his watch (2 terms). He was one of the first truly BIG SPENDERS. Go look at the data, he still holds the record. I feel sorry for the current and future generations. We have mortgaged their futures in the form of debt and taxes.

    As for our relatively low federal tax burden... states and local governments have made up the difference. Check out which states are hurting the most right now... the biggest spenders.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 24, 2011 11:19 a.m.

    Rock..... just stop. Please. To say one side was saintly, and the other the devils advocate is just representing the facts. Stop already, we've had enough.

    Reagan had some very strong points, and as a communicator, he was one of the best is helping the nation understand what it was he was trying to achieve. But even the patron saint of the Republican party knew when to bend and try to balance ideology with the pragmatic need to get things done.

    I am sure no one in the Reagan administration liked the covert funding of the Sandinestas. Nor the drugs for arms. Nor arming and supporting an Iraqi government, that just a short time later we would have to return to take out of power. Nor the fact that the US government funded much of the Taliban activities when we were trying to unseat the Soviet control in that part of the world Reagan dealt with many groups I am sure he would have preferred not deal with.

    But he understood sometimes you bend for the greater good. What we have now is an unwillingness to bend, just to say you did "compromise"

    Reagan knew how to compromise.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2011 11:06 a.m.

    Well the "Judge", (where do you guys come up with these names) first I would like to know where the CBO said that.

    And second I'm going to pont out that (although it is so absolutely obvious) the only ways to increase the percentage of taxes to GDP is to either increase taxes, or drastically shrink the size of the GDP.

    So what is it you are saying that the CBO is claiming is going to happen? That we are going to significantly raise taxes, or that we are going to have a massive contraction of the economy?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2011 10:56 a.m.

    "According to the CBO, tax revenues will increase from 14.4 percent of GDP in 2011 to 18 percent in 2013 and a whopping 20 percent by 2015. Funny how the AP guy left that part out. "

    Do you know why it is that way? Remember last December when they extended the bush tax cuts? That was a 2 year extension. CBO estimates have to assume that the 2 yr extension is only 2 years since that's what was passed. That means that the CBO projections for 2013 and 2015 are based on the assumption that all the bush tax cuts that were extended only temporarily... end.

  • B Logan, UT
    July 24, 2011 10:51 a.m.


    Your whole post is one giant cliche. Raising taxes on my boss isn't going to save social security or medicare. Think about it. You want to raise taxes on people who already pay the majority taxes so you can keep funding badly managed programs and delay the inevitable. Not exactly 'outside the box' thinking there.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    July 24, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    When Reagan took office the national debt was pushing a trillion dollars. When he left, it was up around three. He replaced "tax and spend" with "borrow and spend," and now the system he created is crushing us. We are still paying for "the Reagan recovery."

    I am sick of hearing about "job creators" (who aren't creating jobs, despite huge financial incentives) whining about "spending money we don't have." We have it more correctly THEY have it. Remember the tax cuts (for the rich)? Remember the bailout (of the rich)? So why the crisis, and where are the jobs? Can't ask the rich that question Orin will jump on you for that.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    July 24, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    I am confused. Sean Hannity swears Reagan never compromised and never raised taxes. Must be the liberal biased news media that is distorting the truth. Especially that bastion of liberalism the D-News.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    July 24, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    Thanks for a great article. Funny how even the posters can't see how their postings represent the stubbornness of one side or another.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    July 24, 2011 9:16 a.m.

    @ Mormon Dem

    Clinton did NOT balance the budget. Newt Gingrich and the Republican congress balanced the budget. Clinton even shut down the government in order to prevent a balanced budget, then he blamed it on the Republicans.

    We all saw how much the Democrats will spend when they control everything in the government. After the 2008 elections the Democrats all acted like kids in a candy store with "Daddy" paying the bill.

    You are correct, there is a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. Republicans will vote for balanced budget amendments and the Democrats will not.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2011 9:15 a.m.

    So what is the difference to day than when Reagan was President. The article seems to direct the thought towards his willingness when necessary to raise taxes. This is true, but that was based on working with the opposite party in an in control in the US House of Representatives. This group as now refuse to cut spending. So, the real difference is the person in the Office of the President, who refuse to compromise with the opposite party that is in control of the US House of Representatives. Reagan would have led the country to a consensus and a solution. This President prefers to lead it to division and the failure to find a solution. The comparison is reflective between leadership and pandering to a political base mired in 1930's solutions.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    July 24, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    I do not understand the mindset of my great, great grandfather as he left his family of 13 children to march off to war, barefooted and with his own gun, to fight to preserve the life style of the plantation owner and his slave enabled cotton industry. Nor do I think I want to. Fortunately, his sons, including my great grandfather saw life differently and became Union soldiers. I see the same philosophy manifested today as so many want to entrust earths resources and our nations wealth to the hands of the noble, aristocratic few. We call them the job producers. We march off barefooted to preserve their wealth and way of life. Taxing them would destroy our freedoms and liberties- or so they tell us.

  • Albemar West Jordan, UT
    July 24, 2011 8:45 a.m.

    The GOP is just using this opportunity to fulfill their agenda. They want to do away with most social support programs and nearly all the proposed cuts attack social security, medicaid and medicare. Plus reduce corporate tax rates, again! If you can't kill the beast you hate, you then try to starve it to death. Tax rates are the lowest they have been in over 50 years. We are drowning in debt because no one wants to pay their fair share of taxes anymore. So we will cut taxes for millionaires & billionaires by cutting social security from grandma and grandpa to balance our budget. What a sad and selfish society we have become!

  • The Judge Kaysville, UT
    July 24, 2011 8:35 a.m.

    Another Kool-Aid drinking AP reporter.

    "Bartlett noted that Reagan's tax increases took back about half of his signature 1981 tax cut." So, after Reagan's tax increases, he'd still cut taxes by 50 percent from when he took office.

    "By contrast, tax revenues are forecast to be just 14.4 per cent of GDP in 2011."

    According to the CBO, tax revenues will increase from 14.4 percent of GDP in 2011 to 18 percent in 2013 and a whopping 20 percent by 2015. Funny how the AP guy left that part out. What a joke 21st century journalism is.

  • Itsjstmeagain Merritt Island, Fl
    July 24, 2011 8:33 a.m.

    The republicans refuse to discuss eliminating tax breaks and corperate welfare. Why does the oil companies need $4 Billion in subsidies, and they will not pay Royalities for oil extracted from public lands. The last straw was writing off the cost of the Gulf oil spill.
    Next is subsidies to farming interests. I watched King Corn the other day, amazing we pay farmers above market price for commodities that should be market priced.
    Wall Street brokers pay a special low rate on their business taxes, much lower than other businesses. Why? They only sell paper and contribute nothing to creating jobs. Middle class people with money in their pockets buying goods and services create jobs, not the people who trade bubble gum cards called stocks, commodities and other junk investments.

  • silas brill Heber, UT
    July 24, 2011 7:37 a.m.

    Great article.

    Just in case the wingnuts missed this:

    [ Yet during Reagan's two terms, he presided over 18 increases in the debt ceiling. He even publicly scolded Congress for playing hardball politics with the debt limit and bringing the nation "to the edge of default before facing its responsibility." That's a passage the White House and congressional Democrats are now fond of recycling to their advantage. ]

  • Vince the boonies, mexico
    July 24, 2011 6:59 a.m.

    Just read this article commentors and then think a little before you comment! Please also note that we are down 4% in GDP tax revenue. That means we are collecting 4% less in taxes now than then, which is huge considering the inflation of the past 30 years. Our problem is the "instant gratification" generation wants theirs now! When did this country last build any infrastucture things like past generations did 40 or so years ago? Where is our electrical grid today, our bridges & highways, our green energy projects(wind, solar, water ect)? C'mon people unlock whatever brain power you have and think about not just now but the future and demand the same from your elected reps!

  • IdahoStranger NEWDALE, ID
    July 24, 2011 5:51 a.m.

    "no simple way of balancing the budget without raising taxes"?

    If your "budget" is too large, then a simple way to balance it would be to "cut spending".

    What a novel idea! I wonder how come the "experts" didn't think of this?

  • ER in EUR Belgrade, Serbia
    July 24, 2011 5:20 a.m.

    "There was a consistency to Reagan on taxes, which was basically that he cut them when he could, but raised them when he had to. He was not dogmatic on this issue, as his current-day followers seem to think"

    Take that Tea Partiers.

    When he left office in 1989, federal taxes accounted for 18.4 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, compared with the 18 percent average for the two decades before he took office. By contrast, tax revenues are forecast to be just 14.4 per cent of GDP in 2011.

    Pretty straightforward. We need more federal income (TAXES).

    The Republicans are going to end up with egg on their faces and it will be because they let the TPers dictate to them. The Ignorant Party of Me, My, Mine (TPers) will set them back for decades. Long after the TP party is gone. I am a man without a party now. I am certainly not a dem, but it is increasingly hard to ID myself as a Rep.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 24, 2011 4:53 a.m.

    Amazing how Reagan would be siding with the Democrats.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2011 2:01 a.m.

    I was too young to know anything of Reagan- but I have since learned a great deal. I have studied debate, law, politics, philosophy, and many other things since his office- and there is one thing that stands out to me about the man.

    He appointed William Rehnquist to the Supreme Court of the United States - Whatever people think of Reagan, good or bad, is irrelevant to me. Rehnquist was and, with how society is heading, will most likely always be the greatest justice to ever have served this country.

    His appointment alone is worthy of the highest recognition. In doing so- Reagan, though an imperfect man, left a lasting influence that had a great impact on our society today.

  • MormonDem Provo, UT
    July 24, 2011 12:09 a.m.

    Rock, there's a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. Only one president in the last thirty years has managed to balance the budget: Bill Clinton.

    It's the Republicans who are gumming up this process. They refuse to consider any plan that includes tax revenue as a variable, even though there's simply no way of balancing the budget without increased tax revenue. Obama proposed a plan that was twice as ambitious as the GOP's in terms of its ability to balance the budget and lower the debt. But the Republicans would not accept it because it included rollbacks of tax cuts and tax breaks for the wealthy. This made their position clear, as does this article: tax breaks for the wealthy are a bigger GOP priority than fiscal responsibility.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    July 23, 2011 11:34 p.m.

    One can negotiate when there is room to negotiate. At present the Democrats want to maintain spending levels that will certainly push the government into bankruptcy.

    We have a choice: The Republicans put forth a plan to put us on a path to balance the budget and pay off the debt. It was called Cut, Cap and Balance.

    The only plan the Democrats have put forth is national bankruptcy (at least that will be the result).

    Both parties have spent far too much money. Both share the blame for the current debt. There is a difference:

    1. Republicans have sponsored and pushed several different balanced budget amendments over the years. They came within one vote of sending one to the states in the late 1990s.
    2. Every time a balanced budget amendment has been voted on in congress, almost 100% of the Republicans vote for it (if not 100%). Every time it has gone down to defeat because of the Democrats.
    3. Democrats chastise and ridicule Republicans for not spending enough. They do this in the press at every opportunity. They they attempt to blame the Republicans for the debt.

    Obams and the Democrats own this impending bankruptcy.