Reagan to Fix Economy?

In a recent survey, people were asked who among recent presidents they would most trust to fix the American economy. The two leading answers were Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. FDR makes sense as he was the president who brought the country out of the Depression, but perhaps he was not “recent” enough, because most of the respondents opted for Reagan.

Reagan inherited a relatively small deficit (compared to more recent deficits) when he took over from Jimmy Carter. In fact, in his campaign he hammered Carter over it. Instead of fixing the deficit, however, the Reagan administration blew it out, and it stayed out of control until it was reigned in under the Clinton administration. Then under George W. Bush it blew out again, and it is now no longer economically viable to bring it under control until the economy improves considerably.

Be that as it may, this does not negate the idea that Reagan might be the one to do something here. But today, despite the reverence the conservatives hold for him, Reagan would not even win his party’s nomination. This is why: Towards the end of his administration, there was a realization that a fix was needed, and Reagan took the hard choice and began raising taxes. These days, the GOP is so blindly obsessed about taxes that anyone suggesting taxes is automatically out, not matter how reasonable and economically sensible such a move might be. And that must include Ronald Reagan.