What Would Reagan do in Debt Battle?

Friday, 29 Jul 2011 06:18 AM

By T.M. Golub

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In the current debt-ceiling talks, one notion keeps popping up on websites and news programs: What would Reagan do?
Invoking the former president’s name is irresistible for both Democrats and Republicans alike, and from his administration both sides may note the foundation of his success in the realm of politics, the Weekly Standard reports.
During his campaign for president in 1980, candidate Ronald Reagan promoted a 30 percent tax cut on individual income, phasing that in over three years. Considering the sizeable margin of Democrats that controlled the House at the time, Reagan was able to extract a compromised 25 percent tax cut phased in over three years beginning in 1983. Congress passed this in 1981.
The compromise that took place acted like a down payment on a further tax overhaul in 1986 that cut top rates from 50 percent to 28 percent, leading to a soaring economy and coining the term “Reaganomics.”
Compromise was the basis of Reagan’s playbook, who was wise enough to know that negotiated deals often come in phases and by grabbing what he could at the time, the president was able to ensure that a finer, more complete deal would come down the pike at a later time.
Now, in light of the current debate surrounding the debt-ceiling increase, House Speaker John Boehner has tried to emulate the former president’s gift of negotiation as well the knowledge that a highway with which to travel comprises landmarks and mile-marker posts. Applying your principles over the entire journey is something all politicians must consider.

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