Who would side with Democrats in the ongoing debate about the debt ceiling? Well, the No. 1 Republican icon himself, Ronald Reagan.
Democrats have unearthed audio from a Reagan radio address on September 26, 1987, in which he addresses a possible default on the government's financial obligations. Here is a key segment:
Congress consistently brings the Government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility – two things that set us apart from much of the world.
The Web site politicususa.com provides insight on Reagan and what has become of the party that frequently invokes his name:
It is not a surprise that Ronald Reagan held a similar position as today’s Democrats on the debt ceiling issue. After all, this is a president that raised taxes 11 times during his time in the White House. Trickle down economics depended on deficit spending in order to both be able to cut taxes and increase spending. If Ronald Reagan was alive today, he would be hated by the tea party.
Michele Bachmann and her tea party caucus love to invoke Reagan, but they would have despised him for his willingness to raise the debt ceiling.
Reagan's statement on the debt ceiling was not a one-time event. Here are the contents of a letter he wrote in 1983 to Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker:
This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default--or even the serious prospect of default--by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The nation can ill afford to allow such a result.
What are we facing in 2011? We have a Republican Party that has become so dysfunctional that it is way to the right of Ronald Reagan. In fact, the modern-day GOP is so far out there that Reagan probably would not recognize his own party. Writes politicususa:
Once again the right wing myth of Ronald Reagan does not match up with his actual record. Besides raising taxes, Reagan tripled the deficit and granted amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants and their families.
Ronald Reagan’s position on the debt ceiling illustrates how far right the Republican Party has drifted. In his day, Reagan was considered a far right conservative. Today, Ronald Reagan would be viewed as a moderate Republican or a very conservative Democrat.
Here is audio from the Reagan radio address: