Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Ronald Reagan We Forget

From Joe Klein's exciting new book, Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid (pp. 64-65):

He defined his presidency by enacting the largest tax cuts in American history in 1981, then turned around and imposed two of the largest tax increases in history, in 1982 and 1983, after his tax cuts sent the federal budget deficit into the ionosphere. He said that "government was the problem, not the solution," and yet he spent little political capital cutting or reforming the federal morass (that would be left to Bill Clinton, who cut more than 250,000 federal jobs and balanced the budget). Reagan styled himself as the ultimate hawk, and yet he violated one of the core principles of U.S. national security policy: he negotiated with terrorists during the Iran-Contra debacle, trading arms for the releases of hostages.

Semantic quibbles: why does the book's subtitle use passive voice, and why does Klein repeat the phrase "tax cuts" in the first sentence above?