Reagan raised taxes

We're approaching Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday, and the conservative movement -- after three years of mocking liberals who supposedly worship “The Obamessiah” -- are readying to prostrate themselves before the altar of the Gipper and offer up rosy, revisionist hosannas to the Alpha and Omega and Republicanism. We have tribute videos from the Heritage Foundation, tribute videos from Fox News, a book from Newt Gingrich, and, of course, fundraising appeals from the Republican National Committee.

Eager to protect the heavily redacted memory of Reagan, conservatives are spitting mad that anyone would dare put Barack Obama on the same plane as the 40th president. There's no comparison, they argue, given that Reagan brought freedom to the world and saved the American economy and Obama is a socialist Marxist communist who everyone hates.

But for all their complaining about Obama's tax-and-spend “big government” policies, the right is ever reluctant to acknowledge a shameful little secret about Reagan -- he raised taxes. Payroll taxes and energy taxes, to be precise. And Reagan's payroll tax increase was enacted to save Social Security, which he also expanded to cover new federal workers.

So as we sit back and enjoy the right's heartfelt paeans to Ronald Reagan, a tax-cutting conservative champion for the ages, don't forget that Reagan raised taxes to preserve and strengthen the keystone program of New Deal liberalism. Facts like that are apt to be overlooked in times like these.