President Obama invoked the memory of Ronald Reagan on the campaign trail recently, recounting that Reagan had also pushed for something similar to the Buffett rule and used very similar arguments to those that Obama is using to argue for the same thing.
Some years ago, one of my predecessors traveled across the country pushing for the same concept. He gave a speech where he talked about a letter he had received from a wealthy executive who paid lower tax rates than his secretary, and wanted to come to Washington and tell Congress why that was wrong. So this president gave another speech where he said it was “crazy”—that’s a quote—that certain tax loopholes make it possible for multimillionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary. That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan.
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: a return to basic fairness and responsibility; everybody doing their part. And if it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule.
FARK had a great headline for this: “Obama blasphemes Holy St. Reagan, says the modern GOP would denounce him as a ‘wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior.’ Which is ridiculous because Reagan wasn’t black.”