No serious person denies that Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts and military increases threw the country into a pattern of borrowing and borrowing that we have not escaped. When Reagan took office the national debt was $995 billion. When Reagan left office it was $2.87 trillion and climbing fast.
No serious person denies that Bush’s 2001 tax cuts and continued military increases dramatically worsened the problem. Bush’s last budget year ended with a record deficit of $1.4 trillion.
As the country discusses what to do about the borrowing the elephant in the room is that everyone understands that restoring top tax rates to pre-Reagan levels and cutting the military budget in half would solve the problem completely. But we can’t do that. We can’t even discuss it.
And we all know why. And we all know why. It is because the Reagan Revolution transformed the country from a democracy to a plutocracy — a country run by and for the wealthy.
Such sensible and simple ideas are considered off-limits. To even bring up the idea of restoring tax rates to pre-Reagan levels and cutting military spending invites terrible consequences. The speaker risks becoming the target of the money’s noise machine: Limbaugh, Hannity, Drudge, Fox. Smears. Humiliation. Banishment.
We all know this is the way it is. So don’t tell me that “we don’t have the money” to keep 300,000 teachers from being laid off, or to help the long-term, mostly older unemployed workers get something to live on and keep their health care. The money is right there in front of us, but the Congress is bought and paid for.