In a July 25 Washington Times editorial titled, "Hijacking Reagan: Obama misappropriates the Gipper to justify tax hikes," various progressives and Democrats including President Obama were criticized for invoking former President Ronald Reagan's comments on tax increases and raising the debt ceiling. The editorial claimed that Obama's July 25 speech about the default crisis "misappropriate[d] the Gipper to justify tax hikes."
In fact, Reagan repeatedly warned of the harm that would come to the economy if Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling, and he repeatedly raised taxes during his presidency.
From The Washington Times:
For the past few years, liberals have tried various ways to appropriate Ronald Reagan's legacy. The latest sad attempt has been to enlist the Gipper to defend the notion that the only way to deal with the debt-ceiling crisis is to impose a trillion dollars of new taxes. "I find myself these days quoting Ronald Reagan," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat. " 'The full consequences of a default,' she said, 'or even the serious prospect of a default by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. ... The nation can ill afford to allow such a result.' "
Even President Obama got into the act in his Monday night speech. No doubt the 40th president is in heaven smiling sadly and shaking his head. There they go again.
Reagan would never be a willing co-conspirator in a plan to impose the largest tax increase in American history. The big-tax proponents are willfully misrepresenting his views, something easily demonstrated by looking at Reagan's record. When the debt ceiling was being debated during the 1980 campaign season, Republicans in Congress introduced a plan by then-candidate Reagan that would have tied an across-the-board 10 percent tax cut to any expansion of the government's ability to borrow. Democrats dismissed this as a campaign stunt, but it accurately reflected Reagan's policy priorities.