Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 15

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President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

Nancy Reagan pauses, then kisses her husband’s casket, just before it was taken from the Capitol Rotunda to Washington National Cathedral for a state funeral.

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President Reagan addressing the crowd during Ford Theatre’s Gala, “The Stars Salute the President,” with Nancy Reagan, Tony Bennett, Lynda Carter, Rodney Dangerfield, Luciano Pavarotti, Jack Klugman, Victoria Principal, and George Benson. 3/21/81.

In a world of political correctness and Christmas culture wars, Reagan’s national address is almost unbelievable! It is a breath of fresh Christmas air! What happened to the politicians like him who are not afraid to hold fast to the Christian faith despite what others think or say about their Christmas beliefs? (12-23-81 Christmas address by Reagan)

President Reagan posing with Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne Buydens at a private dinner at Eldorado Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. 12/30/87.

I have a story to tell about Kirk Douglas. A good friend of mine was the pastor at a small church in Fillmore, California several years ago.  He said back in 1995 Fillmore’s Towne Theater was restored with the help of Kirk Douglas.  It is the only movie house in the town and it only has one screen. Several of my friend”s church members told him that they would notice at times that after a movie would start they would notice Kirk Douglas sneaking in about 5 minutes after the movie would start.

I  really got a lot out the article “The Real Reagan Economic Record: Responsible and Successful Fiscal Policy” by Peter Sperry. In the next few days I will be sharing portions of this article.

The Real Reagan Economic Record: Responsible and Successful Fiscal Policy

Published on March 1, 2001 by Peter Sperry

HOW DID REAGAN’S POLICIES AFFECT ECONOMIC GROWTH?

Despite the steep recession in 1982–brought on by tight money policies that were instituted to squeeze out the historic inflation level of the late 1970s–by 1983, the Reagan policies of reducing taxes, spending, regulation, and inflation were in place. The result was unprecedented economic growth:

  • This economic boom lasted 92 months without a recession, from November 1982 to July 1990, the longest period of sustained growth during peacetime and the second-longest period of sustained growth in U.S. history. The growth in the economy lasted more than twice as long as the average period of expansions since World War II.10
  • The American economy grew by about one-third in real inflation-adjusted terms. This was the equivalent of adding the entire economy of East and West Germany or two-thirds of Japan’s economy to the U.S. economy.11
  • From 1950 to 1973, real economic growth in the U.S. economy averaged 3.6 percent per year. From 1973 to 1982, it averaged only 1.6 percent. The Reagan economic boom restored the more usual growth rate as the economy averaged 3.5 percent in real growth from the beginning of 1983 to the end of 1990.12

HOW DID REAGAN’S POLICIES AFFECT THE FEDERAL TAX BURDEN?

Perhaps the greatest myth concerning the 1980s is that Ronald Reagan slashed taxes so dramatically for the rich that they no longer have paid their fair share. The flaw in this myth is that it mixes tax rateswith taxes actually paid and ignores the real trend of taxation:

  • In 1991, after the Reagan rate cuts were well in place, the top 1 percent of taxpayers in income paid 25 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent paid 43 percent; and the bottom 50 percent paid only 5 percent.13 To suggest that this distribution is unfair because it is too easy on upper-income groups is nothing less than absurd.
  • The proportion of total income taxes paid by the top 1 percent rose sharply under President Reagan, from 18 percent in 1981 to 28 percent in 1988.14
  • Average effective income tax rates were cut even more for lower-income groups than for higher-income groups. While the average effective tax rate for the top 1 percent fell by 30 percent between 1980 and 1992, and by 35 percent for the top 20 percent of income earners, it fell by 44 percent for the second-highest quintile, 46 percent for the middle quintile, 64 percent for the second-lowest quintile, and 263 percent for the bottom quintile.15
  • These reductions for the lowest-income groups were so large because President Reagan doubled the personal exemption, increased the standard deduction, and tripled the earned income tax credit (EITC), which provides net cash for single-parent families with children at the lowest income levels. These changes eliminated income tax liability altogether for over 4 million lower-income families.16

Critics often add in the Social Security payroll tax and argue that the total federal tax burden shifted more to lower-income groups and away from upper-income groups; but President Reagan’s changes were in the income tax, not in the Social Security payroll tax. The payroll tax was imposed by proponents of big government over the past 50 years, and it is they, not Ronald Reagan, who should be held accountable for its distributional effects.

Nevertheless, even if one counts the Social Security payroll tax, the share of total federal taxes increased between 1980 and 1989 for the following groups:

  • For the top 1 percent of taxpayers, from 12.9 percent in 1980 to 15.4 percent in 1989;
  • For the top 5 percent of taxpayers, from 27.3 percent in 1980 to 30.4 percent in 1989; and
  • For the top 20 percent of taxpayers, from 56.1 percent in 1980 to 58.6 percent in 1989.

On the other hand, the share of total federal taxes, if one includes the Social Security payroll tax, declined for four groups:

  • For the second-highest 20 percent of taxpayers, from 22.2 percent in 1980 to 20.8 percent in 1989;
  • For the middle 20 percent of taxpayers, from 13.2 percent in 1980 to 12.5 percent in 1989;
  • For the second-lowest 20 percent of taxpayers, from 6.9 percent in 1980 to 6.4 percent in 1989; and
  • For the lowest 20 percent of taxpayers, from 1.6 percent in 1980 to 1.5 percent in 1989.17

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Nancy Reagan with Prince Charles before a private dinner for the Prince of Wales at the White House. 5/2/81.

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  1. (Little known facts about our presidents) An anarchist and lawyer named Charles Guiteau shot James Garfield in the back with a five-barrel, .44-caliber pistol called a British Bulldog in 1881. He said he chose the gun because it would look good on a display in a museum someday. No one currently knows where the gun is.b
  2. The first attempt to assassinate a president was on Andrew Jackson by Richard Lawrence, a house painter. Both of his guns misfired, however—an event that statisticians say could occur only once in 125,000 times. Andrew Jackson then chased Lawrence with his walking stick.j
  3. James Garfield didn’t die from the gunshot wounds from his assassin’s gun; he died of blood poisoning after doctors and experts (including Alexander Graham Bell) tried to remove the bullet from his back with their dirty fingers and instruments, causing him to linger in pain for 80 days before dying. His assassin, Charles Guiteau, later claimed that he didn’t kill the president, the doctors had.i
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