As all the rich old white people continue to drone on and on about their hero: “The Patron Saint of Conservatism” I thought it might be good to take a few moments to reflect a bit myself. It seems that Limbaugh, Hannity, Palin, and a great deal of the teabag crowd just get misty at the thought of the good ol’ days of the Gipper. Well, unfortunately for the man responsible for the “war on drugs”, it would appear that the fiercest supporters of his legacy of greatness are either still high on something of a hallucinogenic nature or their brain truly was that egg in the frying pan on the commercial.
* After enacting his first large tax cut package, unemployment rose to 10.8% by the end of 82. (We’re at 9% now after a recession that was dramatically worse.)
* He also expanded the size of government at a much sharper rate than we have seen since and nearly tripled the deficit from $907,701,000,000.00 in 1980 to $2,857,430,960,187.32 in 1989.
* Through the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, 3 million undocumented occupants of this country were given amnesty. Some level of amnesty probably should be included within a comprehensive immigration reform package, however with all the subliminal (and in some cases overt, “Arizona”) racist undertones within the Grand Old Party, I’d imagine this one really stings them.
* He did enact the first START Treaty, which was a tremendous first step in decreasing nuclear proliferation. Though START 2.0 faced tremendous opposition from the GOP before its final passage in December, so it raises the question: “Which part of the legacy, is the legacy that they want to claim and discuss endlessly as the founding of what they want their party to be today?”
* While he was hailed for the McKinney Act ($880 million in assistance to the homeless) in 1987, it is frequently passed over that he decreased the budget for HUD by nearly 77% between 1981 and 1988. I’m sure that $24.5 billion wouldn’t have stopped anyone from becoming homeless though, right?
* He effectively began the genocide of the middle class, and enacted policies that can only be described as class warfare which is transforming the American Dream into the American Nightmare for the majority of our population. For example: Taxes for the top income bracket went from 70% all the way down to 28%, while the lowest bracket went from 14% up to 15%. This may be why incomes for the bottom 90% of the population decreased .3%, while the top 1% in the country saw their average income increase by 55%.
I won’t bore you with Iran-Contra or the strengthening of the Taliban in efforts to end the cold war, but the bottom line is this, Reagan was a B-Movie Actor, a C minus Republican (in terms of their lunacy today), and a D minus President. Editor’s note: He would have been an F as President, but I graded him on the “Dubya” curve.
While true I can’t blame him for all the terrible music released in the 80′s, it’s a safe bet that he had a large hand in all else that sucked during the decade, accelerated the divide between the haves/ have-nots, and was largely a complete national disaster. A disaster that society can still see feel aftershocks from today.