I came across a speech by Ronald Reagan during the fall 2008 presidential campaign where he talked about how he freed people from the grip of welfare when he was governor of California by running the state the way families have to mind their economic affairs, that is, keep their expenses within their means. He also talked about the number of taxes that went into a loaf of bread, all of which are passed on to the consumer, to illustrate that there’s really no such thing as lifting the tax burden from individuals by taxing businesses. I can’t find that speech today, but I did find this:
The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us. Business doesn’t pay taxes, and who better than business to make this message known? Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business.
This is from Reagan’s speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan on Nov. 10, 1977. The transcription and audio are here.
I am amazed by how much more intelligent Reagan’s views on the economy have gotten over the years.