Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Republicans - All Wrong, All the Time, Pt 11 Ronald Reagan: Flaming Liberal

Was Ronald Reagan a flaming liberal.   Well . . . No.

But whatever you think about the Reagan presidency, after all these years, is probably wrong.  You see, on some important issues, he was to the LEFT of B. Hoover Obama.

I, on the other hand, thought he was an absolutely awful president.  See - I got it right.

Mostly, anyway.

And the good things about Reagan's presidency - lets be fair, there are some - are things the modern right would reject, without a second thought.  Or even a first one, since they are knee-jerk reactionaries, not thinkers.

Notable quote:

In the short term, Reagan’s profligate ways led to higher interest rates that slowed productively and eventually plunged the nation into a recession around 1990, leaving George H.W. Bush to deal with the mess. Policy makers had little room to maneuver in that 1990-91 recession because of the large deficits. Ultimately, both Bush 41 and Bill Clinton mounted a major effort to undo Reaganomics, including the breach of the “no new taxes” pledge that helped turn the senior Bush into a one-term president. Contrary to what Cheney said, deficits did matter, which is why the mythmaking and its influence in Bush 43’s reckless ways is so disturbing.

Click here for a short, to the point video.

The distortion of the Reagan legacy (thank you, Grover Norquist) into the the Reagan MYTH is one of the real tragedies of the late 2oth century, and also one of the reasons why we are SO screwed today.



BadTux said...

Reagan's rewrite of the tax code to favor big business and the rich over ordinary people (who had massive tax hikes put onto them, especially a *doubling* of the payroll tax which falls disproportionately upon the middle class to poor) led directly to where we are today. This created an excess of investment income in the economy, which in turn led to bubble, bubble, turmoil and ruin. Reality is that economies need both investment *and* consumption to properly operate, and by favoring one over the other, Reagan's tax changes set us up for today.

The other thing that pissed me off about Reagan is that he chopped college financial aid and the GI bill. In 1982, Pell grants covered the full cost of my college tuition and textbooks. By the time Reagan got finished with gutting college financial aid, I was having to take out thousands of dollars of loans to pay tuition and texbooks each semester. The guys on the GI bill had the same problem -- the GI bill covered the full cost of their textbooks and tuition in 1982, and by the end of the Reagan administration they were in the same boat as me. This directly set up the current situation where we're getting out-competed by our foreign competitors, because while I got my education before the full impact of the Reagan gutting of student aid happened, that was 20 years ago (eep!). The number of kids coming up today to replace me when I retire in 15 years is pretty slim, and you can only import so many Indians without howls of dismay from the nativist crowd...

On the other hand, Reagan was evil and venal, but he wasn't a fucking moron. Which is what differentiates him from today's Republicans. When those Marines got bombed in Lebanon, he asked, "what's in this for America and Americans?", got no answer, and pulled'em out after a bit of face-saving shelling and bombing of likely culprits. If only Gee Dubya had asked that same question before sending in the Marines to make Iraq safe for Iranian rule...

- Badtux the Reminiscing Penguin

Jazzbumpa said...

It's pretty amazing that a man who was devolving into senility had a better grasp on reality than the typical modern-day Repugnicant.

The John Birch society is making a comeback for the first time in decades. They were too far right for freaquing William F. Buckley, and thought Eisenhower (who was economically left of both Obama and Clinton) was a tool of the Soviet communists.

I never paid much attention to the student loan situation - it simply never effected my life, or my kid's lives, so I was oblivious.

What I've learned reading G and T - This post and others - is that it was a damned trap, and it's turning it a time bomb.

Repugs are simply hostile to education. An intelligent and informed electorate would not be composed of baggers, 12thers, Birchers, etc.

I don't know if Reagan was personally evil as much as he was ignorant, foolish, and the tool of evil handlers. Almost nobody realizes that today we are reaping what Reagan's economics sowed. But it would be nowhere this bad, if it weren't for Dubya. That's part of why he is my candidate for worst President ever. Ronnie is only No. 2.


J said...

Reagan slashed taxes on upper brackets, but they were cut on middle/working class too, and most people benefitted (though poor didn't). There was a slight raise in Medicare/SS rates: that was the slightly liberal Reagan. It was hardly enough (like 6%)to offset the tax cuts (like 50%, by end of term).

Reaganomics may be a mistake , and not great in terms of the aggregate, but capitalism is not just everyone wins or loses. Some, like the rich scored via Reaganomics. They did rake it in from the bubbles.

The poor may not have fared so well, but many middle class people probably did better with Reaganomics, however corrupt, than Carter-style bureaucracy. And even Billy Clinton rates quite a bit higher on body count (via bombing, kosovo, etc) than Reagan.

Or is Tux getting his crypto-libertarian on again?? Watch out IRS employees

Jazzbumpa said...

The good things about Reagan were that he was absolutely against torture, and possibly would even be for prosecuting Cheney; and he was deeply concerned about collateral damage and other life-wasting outcomes of military adventures.

In short, the difference between Reagan and current wingers is he seemed to believe in fundamental human dignity. Which is why they would not accept the real Reagan today - only the distorted myth.

Reaganomics was just all-over bad, at least at the 80 to 90% level: short, medium and long term. We are still reaping what he sowed.

And what's with the gratuitous antagonism? If you think the Penguin has even a single Libertarian feather, you're seriously just flat-assed wrong, my friend.

Could we possibly avoid getting into another pointless pissing contest?

JzB the anti-torture, urine in its proper place trombonist

BadTux said...

J, we already went over that. Reagan cut taxes on the lower and middle classes only if you don't count payroll taxes and ignore the fact that Reagan took away the tax deductions for car loans and credit card interest. Your reaction then appears to be that a) you appear to believe that payroll taxes aren't taxes, and b) you appear to believe that tax rate cuts are the same things as tax cuts (i.e., that taking away deductions targeted at the middle and lower classes doesn't count as a tax hike). So it goes.

J said...

No, it appears you don't understand the word "offset". The increase in medicare/SS was merely like 4 to 6%, a small portion of a check, whereas the Reagan tax cuts were like 50% (over entire era)

In '81 Reagan did cut taxes on all brackets, though the rich did get a much better deal than po', which I never denied--the cut on capital gains especially was a windfall (tho of course supply siders insist the profits trickle down. I don't agree that holds across the board, though in some areas it might--ie. given his savings from not paying taxes on investments, Richie Riches across the US buy mansions, which helps out local construction, etc) . However the tax cuts most likely benefitted most of the middle class. The median family income increased, for one, quite a bit more than it did under Carter or Clinton (or Bush II, I believe). And the GDP did spike for a while-- 82 to 85 or so.

Anyway by choosing the right data, one can make about any pres.admin look good or bad. Im not defending Reagan either (even as much as jzb is): Reagan himself was sort of not-too-bright farm boy,maybe with a good heart, but hardly a great mind. And his cronies and cabinet were greedy self-serving pedazos de mierda. Yet---here's the rub--they did produce results, for the wealthy, and the middle class, while screwing the poor. So,if you were wealthy or middle class, you probably approved of Reaganomics; recall Reagan had the support of unions as well. A poor inner city person probably wouldn't.

Google the Reagan-era fed tax rates even on middle class, that is after you click out of your fave Andy Stack site, Tuxski.

CJ said...

I have never understood why Reagan became like a god to many Americans. But then I don't understand why anyone would buy Palin's book or listen to Rush Limbaugh foaming at the mouth ---and worse, take either of them seriously. And don't forget it was on Reagan's watch that liberals started to be demonized.