GOP Never Accused Reagan of ‘Class Warfare’ for Tax Plan, Obama Says

President Obama today suggested that Ronald Reagan would have supported his proposed “Buffett Rule” and criticized Republicans for having a double standard, saying they never accused Reagan of being a “socialist” for wanting millionaires to pay the same tax rate as middle-class workers. 

Speaking at a fundraiser in Dallas, Obama quoted Reagan’s advocating to close tax loopholes that allowed the wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. “Some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. It’s time we stopped it,” Reagan said in 1985. 

“So was that class warfare?” Obama said today, noting that “taxes are much lower now than they ever were when Ronald Reagan was president.” 

“I know a lot of folks have short memories, but I don’t remember Republicans accusing Ronald Reagan of being a socialist or engaging in class warfare because he thought everybody should do their fair share. Things have just gotten out of whack,” Obama said. 

Republicans have claimed that Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule” and his plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion through new taxes for high-end earners amounts to “class warfare.” Named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the rule would require those making more than $1 million a year to pay the same tax rate as middle-class families. 

Speaking to roughly 500 supporters who paid upwards of $500 to hear the president speak, Obama touted his accomplishments, including bailing out the auto industry, passing financial legislation and repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and chastised Republicans for running against his health care law. 

“I don’t know how the other side goes around running against helping 30 million people have health insurance that didn’t have it. … That’s your main agenda? That’s your plank? Is making sure 30 million people don’t have health insurance?” he said. 

“The Affordable Care Act is working. So when folks go around saying, ‘Obamacare,’ that’s right, I care. I don’t know about you, but I care. It was the right things to do,” Obama said to cheers from the crowd.