Friday, September 05, 2008

Ronald Reagan's Legacy

It's amazing how quickly people forget, or maybe they never knew to begin with, or maybe they just want to rewrite history - but Ronald Reagan was not the golden president that some would like to believe.

Reagan's policies dramatically increased homelessness, created record deficits, reduced taxes for the very wealthy, and weakened organized labor. His economic policies resulted in the 1980's having the slowest growth of any post World War II decade with no increase in the median real wage.

Do a Google search for "Reagan homelessness", "Reagan deficit", "Trickle Down Economics", "Reagan and organized labor" and read some of the articles (pro and con) and make up your own mind.

One of the wonderful things about the internet is that no one can say it's a creation of a media elite, and if you do a little bit of analytical thinking you can synthesize a pretty fair point of view from what you find.

One of the most famous quotes about Ronald Reagon's economic redistribution policy of making the wealthiest individuals more wealthy and hoping it trickles down to the poor, came from his Director of the Office of Management and Budget David Stockman in a candid interview years after the fact,

"Do you realize the greed that came to the forefront? The hogs were really feeding. The greed level, the level of opportunism, just got out of control. [The Administration's] basic strategy was to match or exceed the Democrats, and we did."

When he was in office, Ronald Reagan was called the "teflon president" by some people because no matter how misguided and destructive his policies may have been his acting background and grandfatherly personality made people feel all warm and fuzzy. Twenty years later recollections are even a little fuzzier, but the next time someone tells us that a return to Reagan era policies would be good for America - I'd recommend doing a little research.

It's a good idea to keep informed and not be a victim of "groupthink" if we can help it. On the other hand - we want to be fooled sometimes and yelling out "drill baby drill" or "USA USA USA" at the RNC is a probably a lot more fun than getting your eyes and brain all tired out by reading and thinking.

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