Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan: The Conservative Hero

Hail the conquering hero of tax cuts, small government, balanced budgets, and lower deficits.  They gather this weekend to sing his praises.  He is the patron saint of conservatives. Envoke his name and America is better.  Republicans and Conservative perpetuate the myth everyday.  Boehner will cry and Palin will sing his tax cut song.  Their view is that is if you raise taxes you lack the competence and the will to govern.    It is a myth.  They are in denial.

1.  Reagan raised taxes:  He raised them 11 times.  In fact, he raised taxes 7 of his 8 years in office. Including 4 times in two years.  Priest of tax cuts is a false mythology.  According to Conservatives that makes him incompetent.

2. The Federal Budget deficit tripled. It increased by $3 billion . Just about three times as much as the first 80 years of the century His first year, he enacted a massive tax cut, government revenue dropped like a rock, and the government went deeper and deeper into debt.

3.  In 1983 he agreed to a $165 billion bailout of Social Security after trying to privatize it.  This is after pushing to cut Social Security benefits.  He also increased and expanded the Pentagon budget.  Bailout imagine that. 

4.  unemployment soared after the Reagan tax cuts of 1981. It rose to 10.8 percent after his great tax cut.  It was a myth that Reagan presided over an era of unmatched economic growth for all Americans, Reagan disproportionately taxed the poor and the middle class. Since 1980 the median household income has risen only 30 percent, adjusted for inflation, while average incomes at the top have tripled. 

5.  Reagan grew the size of the federal government.  He promised to move fast, boldly and decisively to control the out of control growth of the federal government. But federal spending went out of the universe under Reagan. He promised to cut government agencies such as the Department of Energy and Education but in the end he added one of the biggest – the Department of Veterans Affairs, which as of today has a budget of $90 billion and nearly 300,000 employees.   So much for small government. 

6. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented [illegal] immigrants. He signed into law a bill that made any immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty. It was billed a crackdown, but the tough sanctions on employers who hired illegal immigrants were removed before final passage. It helped 3 million people and millions more family members gain American residency.  It is a major embarrassment for conservatives.

7. Reagan sold arms to Iran. It was the Iran-Contral scandal, a huge political scandal and officials resigned. 

8.  Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.  Regan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, equipping, arming and funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan He sent billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistan intel service. The Taliban and Osama Bin Laden – a prominent mujahidin commander – emerged from these mujahidin groups Reagan helped create. US. policy towards Pakistan continues to remain strained because of the intelligence services’ close ties to these fighters. Reagan’s decision to go on with the proxy was after the Russians were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden’s ascendency.

These facts are for the most part lost as the right has enshrined Reagan as its patron saint. Conservatives seem to be in denial about the unflattering parts and policies of Reagan. They really don’t know the truth of his legacy. 

This myth has led us to the political situation we have now.  They are in denial and continue to tell the same lies. Will a Republican or Conservative have the courage to stand up and begin to govern? Will they hold that party line or will they continue down the path of good intentions.  As we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Have they sold their souls to the teabaggers? Will they remember who they work for, or is the party more important than the people. 

The image of Ronald Reagan as savior is myth. It was created to untie the many parts of the right behind one leader. It was a fractured party then. It is even more so now. 

There is hope if the people begin to hold Republicans and Democrats feet to the fire.  Hope is a good thing.  In this case hope will only work if the conservatives and republicans leave the myth behind and admit the truth.  Something thus far they are unable and unwilling to do.