Happy Reagan Day

40 state governors have proclaimed Feb. 6 “Ronald Reagan Day,” in honor of his birthday.  (The supporters are a bipartisan group, but all of the governors who refused to join in the proclamation are Democrats.)  

Grover Norquist has a grim comparison between Obama malaise and Reagan prosperity that begins and ends with Reagan-style optimism, suggesting today is a good time to “look forward and realize how bright our future could be.”  But then he wraps it up with this, and I don’t think he meant it sarcastically:

Feb. 6, 2013 would have been Reagan’s 102nd birthday. His leadership turned our country around in a dark time. He didn’t whine or blame the president before him. He followed sound economic policies that worked for John F. Kennedy and Calvin Coolidge before him. He learned from the past and avoided the policies of Hoover and FDR that took a recession and turned it into the Great Depression.  On Reagan’s birthday, let us hope that President Barack Obama takes a few moments off from blaming his failed economy on others and instead looks to recent history to see what success looks like.

On the contrary, Obama views his mission in office as reversing the Reagan Legacy.  He’s done a marvelous job of restoring Jimmy Carter’s America.  He gives speeches in which he pretends the Eighties never happened; one of his stock lines is that “we can’t cut our way to prosperity.”  He’s counting on a poorly educated generation of young voters who won’t remember how tax receipts went up after Reagan cut rates, or how the economy boomed when the overall size of government – which must be considered as the sum of taxes, spending, and regulation – was reduced.  Obama thinks his re-election put him one step closer to erasing Ronald Reagan from history.

I wonder if Reagan might be asking the American people to focus on the notion I expressed above, contrary to the core Obama mythology that taxes and spending somehow offset each other, rather than combining to define the true size of government.  (Of course, Obama doesn’t want you to think about the cost of regulation at all.)  Taxes make the private sector smaller, even if every penny of a tax increase actually went to deficit reduction – something that has never happened and will never happen.  

Government spending, beyond the level necessary to enforce clear laws and protect the nation, does not enhance the private sector; it diminishes it.  When the government uses big spending to manipulate the marketplace, relieving both giant corporations and individuals from the consequences of their actions, it is reducing the sphere of choice and experimentation available to the people.  Our freedom is not enhanced when the cycle of creative destruction is arrested, at staggering expense… especially when there is also a heavy stink of corruption.

It would be literally impossible to explain all that to Obama; he would view it as apostasy against his faith in titanic, interventionist, activist government.  To Reagan, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you” was the ominous punchline to a joke; to Obama, it is a benediction.

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