“If you look at my father […] today, the argument against him would come from the Right; not from the Left. He would have trouble getting his own nomination, but yet he ended up being the greatest president in our lifetimes.”
Think Progress has put together a video montage (below) comparing footage of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama agreeing, nearly word-for-word, on taxing the rich and closing tax loopholes.
President Reagan made the remarks below in a June 6, 1985 speech at Atlanta’s Northside High School, while campaigning for a broad tax-reform proposal that ended up passing in 1986.
We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. […] Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver, or less?
A few weeks later, in Chicago Heights, Illinois, Reagan expounded on his belief that tax reform was needed because it was wrong to let millionaires and corporations pay taxes at lower rates than working people. He also tells a story about a letter from a business executive that may sound familiar:
The result is that workers sometimes find themselves paying higher taxes than the giant corporations they work for, and hardworking families have to struggle under a growing tax burden while the special interests get a free ride. Now, we’re not against big corporations—they provide many of the jobs, goods, and services that keep America strong. It’s the system that’s unfair, and that’s what we’re going to change.
Just a few moments ago, I told some people inside the building here of a letter that I just received the day before yesterday. It’s a letter from a man out here in the country, an executive who’s earning in six figures—well above $100,000 a year. He wrote me in support of the tax plan because he said, “I am legally able to take advantage of the present tax code—nothing dishonest, doing what the law prescribes—and wind up paying a smaller salary than my secretary gets — or I mean, paying a smaller – I’m sorry, paying a smaller tax than my secretary pays.” And he wrote me the letter to tell me he’d like to come to Washington and testify before Congress as to how that’s possible for him to do and why it is wrong. So, this is the kind of spirit that is going on throughout the country.
FEATURED IMAGE: “Ronald Reagan televised address from the Oval Office, outlining plan for Tax Reduction Legislation July 1981” by White House Photo Office; http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/photographs/large/c3241-20.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.