Both Romney and Gingrich want voters to believe they are more Reagan-ish than the other. They spout their records and ideas as perfectly in line with the ideals of the great President Reagan. They seem to have their history seriously confused though. In recent years President Reagan has been put on a pedestal as what it means to be a conservative. The party has lost its way and it is something entirely different from Reagan conservatism. The party today believes cutting taxes solves all problems, they believe high unemployment is the fault of the unemployed person, they see healthcare as a privilege instead of a right and they have lost touch with the common American.
There is not one GOP candidate most like Ronald Reagan. If he were alive today he would be regarded as a liberal. In 1982 when Mr. Reagan lowered income taxes he also removed tax deductions for businesses. I know what you’re thinking – raising taxes on job creators, Socialism!!
President Reagan was also pro-immigrant. The Immigration Reform and Control Act legalized seasonal agricultural illegal aliens. It also legalized all aliens who had been living in the United States unlawfully since 1982. Surprisingly nothing about self-deportation in that bill.
Now, Reagan might have pro immigrant policies and reduced tax loopholes for businesses but there is no way the glory of the GOP would ever hinder investment and the workings of the free market? Well the Tax Reform Act of 1986 actually increased the capital gains rate to equal the rate of the top marginal income bracket (I guess Newt’s plan of making the capital gains rate zero varies a little from Reaganomics). Also, conservatives like to point out 50 percent of the population pays no income tax and the major reason for that is because those below the poverty line are not required to pay any federal income tax. The President who signed that bill into law was Ronald Reagan.
Yes, Ronald Reagan did lower taxes for the wealthy. However, he understood the less fortunate should be given advantages and opportunities as well. He understood capital gains and carried interest are not big boosts to the economy but rather just boosts to the already wealthy. He also understood the value of immigrants in our society. And above all he had a grip on reality. I may disagree with him on what the best economic theory is but he understood there is more to fiscal conservatism than just cutting taxes for the rich.