Seven-Eleven

No this is not a post about that corner variety store that sells Slurpies and cigarettes. No this blog is about Republican presidents, economic policy and conservative hypocrisy.

Seven is the number of times George W. Bush raised the debt ceiling, largely in order to fund an unnecessary war and because he really wasn’t a cost cutter or budget balancer. Needless to say, The W faced little opposition from within his own political party when he pushed the debt ceiling upwards.

Eleven is the number of times the iconic Ronald Reagan increased taxes while president. Yes, that champion of the free market and less government signed on the dotted line eleven times to raise taxes. After the tax cut of 1981 it became clear to Reagan that he was not able to get the revenue he needed, especially for the military and mounting entitlement programs. Despite all the conservative posturing, Reagan was averse to huge budget cuts as politically unwise. So he did what any sane politician would do, he raised taxes in order to get more revenue.

The legacy of Reagan and Bush is thus crystal clear – huge deficits, mounting debt, little reluctance to raise the ceiling and an affinity for tax increases to grab more revenue. The lesson here is obvious( except to current Republicans and extreme Tea Partiers) –  when adult GOP leaders were faced with debt and tax issues, they embraced the word RAISE.

Since this entire debt ceiling crisis is a manufactured exercise in order to please the extreme right-wing of the GOP, memories are short and the decisions of past leaders are conveniently placed in limbo. Compromise with a Democratic president is considered an act of treason.

Fortunately for the Republicans, most Americans have a limited understanding of history, especially economic history; they are quite rightly focused on the here and now and their dismal financial circumstances. But it is important to remember what George W. and Ronald Reagan did when they were faced with economic challenges. All that Americans have to remember are two numbers 7 and 11.

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