Tax Revenue Doubled in 80’s?

Angry Bear is writing about Kevin Drum writing about Republicans writing that Reagan’s tax cuts “doubled revenue.” (Spotting a trend, I’m going to write about it, too.)
Kevin knocks it down, which you should read. His knockdown refers back to something he wrote a while ago,

The answer, of course, is that Reagan didn’t grow his way out of the deficits caused by his 1981 tax cut. As the chart on the right shows (adapted from this Treasury report), he raised taxes twice in 1982, and then raised them again in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987.

Angry Bear points out that the Republicans know these things, too, yet they continue to claim that tax revenue “doubled after Reagan’s tax cuts.” (Limbaugh must say it once or twce a week.) What’s it called when you know something is not true, but you say it anyway, over and over?

I want to add a point to this. In July 2002, I wrote that,

…In 1981 the on-budget (not from Social Security) tax receipts were $469 billion which was a 16% increase over the prior year. Then the Reagan tax cuts started. 1982 tax receipts were $474.3 billion, 1.1% over 1981, and the on-budget deficit shot up to $120 billion, an increase of 62% in a single year!. 1983 receipts were $453.2 billion, a DROP of 4.4% …
… the 1984 Deficit Reduction Act, the largest tax increase in our history. Tax receipts climbed to $500.3 billion, a 10.4% increase, and the deficit shrank almost 11% to $185.6 billion.
In 1985 Congress passed the Gramm-Rudmann-Hollings Anti-Deficit Act. In 1985 tax receipts were $548 billion, a 9.5% increase. But now the huge military spending increases AND the debt interest were kicking in and the deficit rose to $221 billion, an increase of 19%.
[. . .] Also during this time Congress passed the huge Social Security tax increase, dramatically increasing a tax ONLY paid by poor and middle class working people. This is the largest tax item in most people’s paychecks and is not counted when we’re told that the rich pay a large share of taxes. In 1984 and 1985 Social Security tax receipts jumped 12%!, and continued to increase through the 80’s, generating huge surpluses which were used to make the huge deficits look lower. This money collected from the poor and middle class workers went out to pay for Reagans’s tax cuts for the rich. (And now it is being used to pay for Bush’s huge tax cuts for the rich.) [emphasisadded today]

The increase in the Social Security tax went back out to the rich. And now they say the government doesn’t have the money to pay back what was borrowed from Social Security!
I say we should get the money FROM where the money WENT!
(See also GOP Senators May Make 69 Retirement Age)

5 thoughts on “Tax Revenue Doubled in 80’s?

  1. What’s it called when you know something is not true, but you say it anyway, over and over? Smart politics?
    Also, you typoed your punchline. Jeez.

  2. Reagan increased taxes seven times!?!?!
    That reminds me, does anybody understand the reason why retired and disabled people pay SS taxes on every penny they earn, but nobody pays SS taxes on money over $90,000.00?

  3. Excellent post, Dave. It clarifies some blank spots in my 80’s knowledge. I’m under 30, so this is especially helpful. I’d be happy to soak up some non-right-wing history posts about Reagan (Reagan won the Cold War! He saved America! He restored America’s Pride! Reagan was The Man! Reagan cared!) If you have the time, that is. Thanks!

  4. Glad to see your wise comments on top of the always excellent Kevin Drum and my little contribution. I briefly mentioned Jack Kemp’s latest yesterday and spent a whole post today on his very odd argument (see Angrybear).

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