Rand Paul was correct on his Carter-Reagan comments
The buzz online and on the talking head shows today was an article by Mother Jones writer, David Corn, who dug up a half-dozen videos showing a pre-Senate Rand Paul critiquing the spending of conservative myth, Ronald Reagan, while promoting the fiscal restraint of his predecessor, Jimmy Carter.
Corn points out several quotes from the various event by the now junior Kentucky Senator where Dr Paul noted the lack of fiscal constraint by Reagan comparing it to the fiscal restraint by Carter, Clearly this is heresy to many Republicans who have put the myth of Reagan on a pedestal.
Here is a couple:
“The deficit went through the roof under Reagan. So how long did it take Ron Paul to figure out that the guy he had liked, endorsed, campaigned for, campaigned for him? The very first [Reagan] budget. Ron Paul voted “no” against the very first Reagan budget… Everybody loved this “great” budget. It was a $100 billion in debt. This was three times greater than Jimmy Carter’s worst deficit.”
“As Republicans, it’s been very easy for us to say we’re fiscally conservative and we’re for balanced budgets. It’s never happened. We were in charge in the Reagan term, the next Bush’s term, this last Bush. The deficits were horrendous under the Republicans…During Reagan’s two terms, domestic spending went up faster than Jimmy Carter.”
So the question is, was Paul incorrect with his facts in these multiple statements from the videos?
Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute and author of the book, Recarving Rushmore, Dr. Ivan Eland writes in the book that Carter was a “budget hawk”:
“Carter enraged Congress by trying to terminate many pork-barrel water projects from the federal budget. He was also proposed reducing agricultural price supports and reforming welfare without increasing the budget for it.
“He limited efforts to increase minimum wage and create new public work jobs.
“Carter, alienating the constituency that got him elected, bravely planned no additional federal funding for cities–relying on the private sector, state and local governments and neighborhood and voluntary groups”.
Carter also refused to support an expensive proposal by Sen. Ted Kennedy to provide federally funded national health insurance for all Americans.”
Carter also deregulated several important industries and showed fiscal restraint in defense spending.
Despite his “small government” mantra, Ronald Reagan let federal spending rise–a massive peacetime military build up and a great expansion of domestic spending.
Eland says Reagan’s deregulation of the economy was overblown, he presided over the largest tax increase up to that point in 1982.
He details many other areas of Ronald Reagan and separates the truth from myth in the book.
Corn notes at the end of his article that Paul sent the following statement:
“I have always been and continue to be a great supporter of Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and the millions of jobs they created. Clearly spending during his tenure did not lessen, but he also had to contend with Democrat majorities in Congress.”
It’s unfortunate that Sen. Paul backpeddled on this issue.