The Real Gov. Reagan

Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner are tripping over themselves trying to insist they’re clones of Ronald Reagan:

Both candidates have labeled themselves “Reagan conservatives” in their ads — ironic, perhaps, because both have contributed to Democratic candidates.

Of course, they’re identifying with President Reagan, whose tax cuts yanked America out of the 1970s malaise and into almost 30 years of economic growth, lasting to 2008, with only two minor recesssions. But neither Poizner nor Whitman is running for president (yet).

As governor, Reagan broke his campaign promise against taxes, and imposed $1 billion in tax hikes — the equivalent, factoring inflation and population growth, to $20 billion today, more than Arnold’s $13 billion in tax hikes last year.

Campaigning for governor in 1966, Reagan promised that his feet were “in concrete” against imposing the onerous withholding scheme on Californians, in which their state taxes were paid with each paycheck, instead of once a year. Once elected, he broke that pledge, quipping, “The sound you hear is the concrete cracking around my feet.”

He was terrible on spending, too. His first budget, fiscal 1966-67, rose an incredible 17%, then was followed by increases of 8%, 19% (!) and 14%.

So in Reagan’s first term as governor, spending rose an incredible 73%. Even Govs. Davis and Schwarzenegger, spendthrifts that they have been, never got that high, only making it to 15% twice for Davis and once for Arnold.

Reagan’s broken promises and spendthrift ways were detailed in “Here’s the Rest of Him,” an old book from 1968 by Kent Steffgen.

— John Seiler

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  1. stevefromsacto
    stevefromsacto 3 March, 2010, 19:31

    Of course the Rabid Right is beginning to turn on Reagan. Reagan, you see, was willing to talk to and work with people from the other side of the aisle. He considered Tip O’Neill a drinking buddy, not a traitor and an arch enemy who deserved to have his “head on a stick.” His good fortune was to serve before the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity helped destroy bipartisanship and cooperation between people of good will.

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  2. PRI
    PRI Author 3 March, 2010, 22:49

    It’s revealing that stevefromsacto thinks it’s just great that Reagan boosted spending 73% in four years. Hey, it’s just the taxpayers’ money! They have endless amounts! Grab it!

    I wonder what our California Man of Mystery was saying about RR back around 1981-86, when Reagan was cutting taxes.

    And as stevefromsacto might have noticed, I’m not part of the “Rabid Right,” and oppose Limbaugh, Hannity, Bush, Cheney, et al. I always have opposed their wars, their deficits, their debt, their inflation, their wild spending, their Bush Depression. Bush was worse than any Democrat going back at least to Lyndon “Bombs Away” Johnson, whose undeclared war killed 58,000 Americans and 3 million Vietnamese and bankrupted America. See: “Vain Hopes, Grim Realities: The Economic Consequences of the Vietnam War,” by Robert Warren Stevens, for the economic details.

    Actually, as a good Democrat, stevefromsacto has to support Obama’s wars, which are just continuations of Bush’s wars; wars still supported by stevefromsacto’s fellow Rabid Righters, Limbaugh and Hannity.

    — John Seiler

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  3. stevefromsacto
    stevefromsacto 6 March, 2010, 17:49

    Had to admit that I did not particularly notice your dislike of Limbaugh, Hannity, Bush, Cheney, etc.. Congratulations. It must have been difficult labeled a traitor or worse because of your opposition to the misadventure in Iraq and other excesses of Bush/Cheney.

    You are right, of course, that G.W. Bush was the worst president of our lifetimes–maybe of all time. And I honestly believe that Limbaugh, Hannity, etc., have done serious harm to this nation by destroying any possibility of bipartisanship, tolerance and cooperation.

    You are taking for granted, of course, that I blindly support the war in Afghanistan. Like you, I have deep concerns about it. I am not a hypocrite. But I also don’t think that everything is in black and white. At least Afghanistan is, in some way, trying to confront the people who attacked us on 9/11. I shudder when I think of the thousands of lives–American and Iraqui–and billions of dollars spent on an unnecessary and inept war.

    Domestically, I understand that not all tax cuts are bad. But I also know that not all tax increases are bad and that cuts can’t be the only way to deal with deficits. They hurt too many people.

    What we need in this state is an honest debate about what services we need for our citizens. When we decide what we need, we have to find the revenue to pay for it. Those things we decide we don’t need, we should eliminate.
    But we cannot have this debate as long as the Rabid Right refuses to allow any discussion of raising revenue. To say we can’t close tax loopholes in a budget crisis, to say we can’t tax oil production (like every other state does) when we are closing schools and cutting back on health care and fire and police protection is absurd.

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  4. John Seiler
    John Seiler 10 April, 2010, 20:28

    Thanks for your comments, StevefromSacto. I was sick for a while and didn’t check these comments as I usually do. Now here we are more than a month later.

    If you want to know my national policy views, they’re pretty much identical to those of Ron Paul.

    — John Seiler

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