Nick Paleologos: The Gipper vs. The Doofus

Between 1979 and 2008 (basically the Reagan-Bush years), 36% of all gains in household income went to America’s richest 1%. As we moved through those three decades, this obscene disparity actually got worse. By the time George W. Bush was halfway through his second term, the richest 1% of Americans were sucking up a staggering 53% of all income gains in our country. Today, the richest one out of every 10,000 households in America grabs a larger share of our national income than at any other time since we started keeping records–in 1913!

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a self-promoting doofus named Grover Norquist has actually convinced enough craven politicians that the wealthiest one percent are also entitled to pay a much lower tax rate on their much higher income than the rest of America’s working stiffs. And the guy he keeps pointing to in order to justify this absolute insanity is Ronald Reagan.

OK, I didn’t vote for The Gipper. And it is true that Reagan believed in lower tax rates for everybody. But he also believed that taxes should be fair. And that whatever the top tax rate (in his time, 28%)–millionaires should pay it.

Since the end of the Reagan years, the top tax rate for bus drivers climbed to 35% while the top rate for millionaires dropped to 15%.

Reagan thought that was ridiculous—and said so at the time.

Last week–by a 3 million vote margin–America agreed with Reagan (and incidently, Obama). It’s time to get this deficit under control. And the first step is to tax wealth at the same rate as work. We will never start growing the middle class again in this country until the rich (and their political apologists) stop insisting that the highest earners should have the lowest tax rates.

Memo to what’s left of the Tea Party: Even Ronald Reagan thought that was stupid.


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