Monday, February 6, 2012
Happy 101st, 'Mr. President'!
Another year rolls by, and we're here once again. Today marks the 101st birthday of the greatest President of our generation: Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Ed Morrissey of HotAir shares Americans For Prosperity's video tribute to our 40th President, contrasting two distinct visions for America:
One vision sees America as a place of dependence, of static class divisions, where economic mobility is a thing of the past. The other sees America as a land of opportunity, where government’s role is only to ensure fair markets and fair access to them, and where success and economic mobility is available to anyone willing to work to achieve them.
Put another way, the question for 2012 is this: Will we have morning in America once again, or mourning for America? That choice is ours.
Heritage also shared a similar clip put together for the Reagan centennial last year, and reminds us of Reagan's words in his First Inaugural Address:
"From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.
We hear much of special interest groups. Our concern must be for a special interest group that has been too long neglected. It knows no sectional boundaries or ethnic and racial divisions, and it crosses political party lines. It is made up of men and women who raise our food, patrol our streets, man our mines and our factories, teach our children, keep our homes, and heal us when we are sick—professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies, and truckdrivers. They are, in short, “We the people,” this breed called Americans."
Ed Meese, Attorney General under Reagan, says in his Washington Times column that The Gipper’s principles for governing can still apply today:
At the core of Reagan’s successful governance was a commitment to strong national security, traditional values, genuine federalism and domestic policies designed to restore America as an entrepreneurial powerhouse. The major pieces of his economic plan are these:
1. Reducing tax rates — to instill incentives for economic growth. In 1981, the top income-tax rate was brought from 70 percent down to 50 percent, with a 25 percent across-the-board cut in income-tax rates for everyone in all the other tax brackets. The 1986 tax reform reduced rates even further, leaving just two rates, 15 percent and 28 percent.
2. Reducing federal spending — to contain the size of government, including an almost 5 percent spending cut the first year, in fiscal 1981 (equivalent to a $175 billion cut in one year today). Even throwing in the Reagan defense buildup — which won the Cold War without our firing a shot — total federal spending declined from a high of 23.5 percent of gross domestic product in 1983 to 21.2 percent in 1989. This reduction constituted a 10 percent real decrease in the size of government relative to the size of the economy.
3. Deregulation — to reduce government intrusion in people’s lives and the cost of red tape on the private sector. Reagan’s first executive order after taking office eliminated price controls on oil and natural gas. Production soared, and the price of oil declined by more than 50 percent.
4. Stable monetary policy — to restrain money-supply growth compared to demand to control inflation and thus maintain a stable value for the dollar. This would cement the economic gains achieved by cutting tax rates and federal spending and deregulating the economy.
The four-point plan resulted in the most successful economic experiment in world history — setting a new record for the longest peacetime expansion ever.
Can we do this again? Absolutely, if we ourselves resolve to follow Mr. Reagan’s principles. The alternative is an unthinkable acceleration down “The Road to Serfdom,” a socialistic morass described very well in that book, by one of Mr. Reagan’s favorite economists, F.A. Hayek.
“The Reagan Resolve” is a reminder of America’s animating principles and a road map to steer us off that other road on which we’ve been speeding recklessly.
Posted by an ebb and flow at 2:13 PM