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Myth, Memory and the Reagan Legacy: Taxes and the GOP

Michael Espinoza (University College London)

Reagan's presidency has left behind a legacy that has challenged the liberal notion that the state could and should do more with the conservative view that the state should do less. However, this legacy is used to pursue a myth that is perpetuated by falsifying Reagan's presidential record on taxation. The Reagan myth allows the Grand Old Party (GOP) to manipulate the memory of his legacy to fit within the parameters of the conservative led desire to declare war against government itself in much the same way Reagan did against the "Evil Empire" – a battle for the heart and soul of America and all it stands for, especially the credo of freedom. The actual Reagan myth, however, is built on a false premise – the GOP avowal that he never raised taxes. Conservative Republicans have reworked a memory of Reagan to suit their own agenda, depending upon it to further emphasise the overall party position, especially in the GOP controlled House. They have constructed a myth under the guise of an imagined Reagan legacy in order to pursue their ideological war against big government.

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ISSN 1753-5794