Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom, died on Monday, leaving behind her a legacy of conservative values that American politicians still cite to this day. Upon learning of her death, Republican House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said she was the “greatest peacetime prime minister in British history.”
But while Thatcher stands as a role model for modern conservativism here in the United States, her policies likely wouldn’t hold up under the scrutiny of a modern-day GOP:
She supported socialized medicine. The modern-day GOP is so obsessed with trying to repeal Obamacare that they’ve held nearly 40 votes to do so. But Obamacare is actually a much more conservative health care policy than the socialized National Health Service, which Thatcher lauded as an accomplishment of the United Kingdom. “I believed that the NHS was a service of which we could genuinely be proud,” she wrote in her book, “It delivered a high quality of care — especially when it came to acute illnesses — and at a reasonably modest unit cost, at least compared with some insurance-based systems.”
She increased taxes. Spending actually rose during Thatcher’s first seven years in office, as the New York Times reports, and taxes took up a larger percentage as share of gross domestic product. Indeed, even by the end of her time in office taxes were still a higher percentage of GDP than they were when she arrived. What’s more, Thatcher knew that the lost revenue from tax cuts needed to be replaced, so while she did make huge cuts to the top tax rates in the United Kingdom (the top rate went from 83 to 23 under her watch) she replaced the lost revenue with gains from an increased Value Added Tax (VAT). During the 2012 election cycle, Newt Gingrich called a VAT “European socialism.”
She believed in climate change. Thatcher was an early adherent to climate science, and once warned, “The danger of global warming is as yet unseen but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices so that we do not live at the expense of future generations.”
Read more on ThinkProgress.com.