Liberals who once reviled President Ronald Reagan have shifted their strategy and have been forced to recognize Reagan's many contributions to modern America. But, as NRO's Ramesh Ponuru points out today, while politicians in bothparties offer The Gipper praise, they also "ransack his record" for present-day politics:
President Barack Obama hasn’t had much luck in getting living Republicans to endorse his proposed “Buffett rule,” which would ensure that the highest earners pay a minimum federal tax rate of 30 percent.
To find a Republican supporter he has had to raid Ronald Reagan’s tomb. In a speech on April 11, Obama noted that Reagan, as president, had sought to prevent multimillionaires from paying lower tax rates than bus drivers.
Obama continued: “He thought that, in America, the wealthiest should pay their fair share, and he said so. I know that position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days but what Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing that we’re calling for now.”
Not so fast, said Republicans. The Buffett rule would impose a new minimum tax on affluent people who receive a large share of their income in capital gains and dividends, which are taxed below the regular rates on income. The effect would be to raise their taxes. Reagan, on the other hand, favored cutting tax rates for everyone, including the wealthiest. His initial tax-reform proposal cut the very capital-gains tax rates that the Buffett rule would effectively raise. Reagan wanted to simplify taxes, whereas the Buffett rule would add an additional layer of complexity.