Reagan Vs. The Republicans . . . Again

Posted by | February 10, 2012 17:13 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Congress is currently considering a transportation bill, a subject that is typically an area of bipartisan agreement and compromise.  But House Republicans are nothing if not atypical.  And while they invoke President Reagan at every opportunity, they are trying to undo his program of using money from the Highway Trust Fund (funded by taxes on gasoline) for public transit and road repair.  And before anyone tells you that Reagan was forced into this:

Reagan explained why he’d made an exception for the gas tax. “It was a year ago that Secretary Drew Lewis presented the plan and the necessity for rebuilding our roads and our highways and our bridges, because we’re faced with the possibility of tragedy in some instances,” Reagan said. “And the proposal was, as we called it, a ‘user fee’ to differentiate this as not a tax for general revenues. This is a tax to do this particular task.” . . . Reagan fought hard for the gas tax increase. Senator Jesse Helms and a handful of other Republican Senators tried to filibuster the bill until the end of the lame duck session, but Reagan flew more supportive Senators in air force planes in the days before Christmas to get it passed.

See, Reagan was a conservative but knew both the meaning of compromise and the importance of investment in infrastructure.  If he was around today, that would make him a RINO.

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Copyright 2012 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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