Some may recall the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, implemented early in President Reagan's first team as a measure to reduce individual tax rates and stimulate growth. What most don't recall is that subsequent to this tax cut Congress passed and the President signed into law tax increases of some nature in every year from 1981 to 1987.
Two of the tax increases passed by President Reagan were the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, at the time the largest peacetime tax increase in US history, and the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.
President Reagan's performance on unemployment was even more troublesome during his first term of office. As the graph shows Reagan inherited a 7.2% unemployment rate from the Carter administration and in 3 years it rose to its highest level post WWII, 10.8%.
The standard defense of President Reagan's economic performance in his first term is to blame his predecessor for the state of the economy that was passed on. However, those that would offer this defense seem reluctant to extend that same benefit of the doubt to President Obama.
Given Grover Norquist's influence over conservative politics today, is there a chance that a President who raised taxes every year starting in 1981 would have survived the primary season to see a second term?