Ken Blackwell
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Barack Obama allegedly intends to be a transformational president like Ronald Reagan. But now President Obama is raising taxes on businesses and retirees, socializing the largest sectors of America’s economy, and decimating state sovereignty and creativity. This is the polar opposite of what President Reagan did in the 1980s, and reveals Barack Obama as the Anti-Reagan.

There are parallels between 1981 and 2009. When Ronald Reagan was elected, the country was fatigued and weary. The outgoing president was unpopular and the economy was declining. People voted for change in 1980 by electing Ronald Reagan.

But that’s where the similarities end. While there are stark contrasts on everything from their beliefs on national security and social issues to their experience and preparation for the presidency, the controversy around the trillion-dollar spending bill and pork-laden appropriations omnibus show their opposing views on economic policy and the size of government. On taxes, expanding government at the expense of private businesses and individuals, and growing the national government to the detriment of the states, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama could not be more different.

People argue about the top marginal tax rate, which Bill Clinton raised to 40% and George W. Bush cut to 35%. When Ronald Reagan came to power the highest marginal rate was 70%, and he cut it to 28%.

This cut in the top marginal rates spurred capital formation, where people and businesses could accumulate resources to start or expand businesses and create new jobs. It’s how a business goes from five workers to twenty-five. This fueled our surging economy in the 1980s and laid the foundation for the 1990s.

In contrast, President Obama refuses to keep the 35% rate, causing taxes to increase after next year back to 40%. He also insists on increasing capital gains tax (which most people have to pay when cashing in retirement investments or college savings, which means that seniors and middle-class parents will get hit especially hard) by a third, from 15% to 20%. And he also demands new taxes on generating energy (the cap-and-tax program) that will raise the prices on gasoline, coal workers, and people trying to heat their homes.

President Reagan’s administration was the first in half a century where the government share of the economy decreased, as he slashed the growth rate of government while the economy swelled. Mr. Reagan used executive orders and administrative changes to abolish onerous regulations and obstacles to private business, such as abolishing the government censorship regime falsely labeled the “Fairness Doctrine.”

And Ronald Reagan tried to do more. He sought to privatize the Energy Department and the FAA, and to tackle federal spending and entitlements. But the U.S. House was controlled by a liberal Democrat majority, and the Senate never had a conservative majority, thanks to alternating years of Democrat control or moderate Republican control.

Again in contrast, President Obama is doing the opposite. He proposes almost a trillion dollars over the next two years to begin a government takeover the healthcare industry, which would doom us to the same substandard care that other nations have as government bureaucrats start making medical research and treatment decisions that they are utterly incompetent to make. He is also moving to restructure the energy industry, takeover the financial industry, have political hacks run the housing market, and pump countless billions more into the auto industry to pay back the big union bosses.

The final economic contrast is federalism. President Reagan strived to empower our fifty sovereign states. He understood that issues such as military matters, national security and diplomacy must be run by the federal government, but most matters are best left to the states. The best example of this is educating our children, where President Reagan tried to decimate the Department of Education and return control of schools to states and local school boards.

President Obama, by contrast, is using this falsely-named “stimulus” bill to create vast new government bureaucracies in the states, mandated by the federal government and overriding the states’ discretion in many areas.

So the Obama cheerleading squad (the mainstream media) can compare him to Ronald Reagan all day long, but the truth is the President Obama is the anti-Reagan, and his policies will bring us the same unemployment and stagnant economies that exist in the European countries that try these failed socialist policies, rather than the prosperity the real Ronald Reagan brought to America.

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Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
 
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