Ronald Reagan and dodgy quotes


Each day a variety of Quotes of the Day arrive in my emailbox.

Am not so sure that much thought is given to some of these quotes. Or perhaps what seemed like a great quote once upon a time has now become tarnished with written history.

Today’s Quote of the Day:

To those who say we can’t cut spending, lower taxes and, yes, rebuild the defenses we need in this dangerous world, I have a six-word answer: “Yes we can, and yes we must.”

– Ronald Reagan, June 25th, 1981

No, no he didn’t and no we didn’t.

Yes, we did rebuild our defenses. Yes, ‘lower taxes’ happened. However it is most unfortunate that the ‘cut spending’  part never came about.

Yes, we cut social spending. And it was the Reagan Administration that proposed declaring ketchup a vegetable in school lunches long before the Obama Administration tried to declare pizza a vegetable — personally I think pizza as a vegetable is my kind of vegetable.

Defense spending of the 1980s knew no limits. And we did nothing to pay for it. By 1984 and early 1985 so many Republicans were alarmed that they tried to box Reagan in on the 1985 and 1986 budgets. Instead they bought the promise of trust me, it will all work out. (Reagan later said that he regretted all the red ink in his authorized biography by Lou Cannon).

The theory was that if we cut taxes and the economy grew then magic would happen: so much money would come in via taxes on the new economic growth that balance would be achieved. George H. Bush called this voodoo economics back in 1980 when campaigning against Reagan.  Yet, Bush, when faced with his own balancing act, chose to raise taxes — and paid for it because in a moment of insanity had declared ‘Read my lips: no new taxes’ which he was punished for.

Anway, the grand Reagan/Laffer curve didn’t work out as predicted and Reagan gave us the basis for our national debt today, leaving office with $2.7 trillion in red ink — even though he blasted Carter for leaving us barely $300 billion in debt, which Reagan claimed he will pay off completely by 1983. Oh, well.

It was not my intent to get off on a tangent about Reagan. I like Reagan. I was a 1980 Reagan campaign staffer and he will always be Saint Ronnie to me. I love the Gipper. It is just that Reagan was human and whomever is editor of these Quotes of the Day should either read them before posting or … anyway, oh, well. Whatever.


BTW – Many conservatives hate Reagan’s biography. Seems that having warts and being human is not what we want to know about Reagan. Reagan himself, and his wife Nancy Reagan, however seem to have had no problem with the biography. One of Reagan’s strengths was pragmatism and being a realist about most things.

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2 Comments

Filed under Economics

2 responses to “Ronald Reagan and dodgy quotes

  1. Better not confuse Reagan with truth and accuracy! Only that later- convicted felon David Stockman still defends those tax cuts. And those GOP senators and congressmen hoping to make it into 1% ranks…

  2. ck

    My favorite quote is “I know you heard what you thought I said, but what I said isn’t what I meant……”
    -Nixon

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