Progressive Writers Bloc

Eulogizing Ronald Reagan

Uncle Bill Warner

The California Senate has just voted to create a Ronald Reagan Day, despite the ongoing debate as to who was the worst President in U.S. history, James Buchanan, Ronald Reagan, or George Bush.Jr. My first exposure to Reagan was when he became Governor of California and immediately cut the education budget by 15%. Then there was the year he, a millionaire, paid zero income tax while I, a poor teacher, paid thousands. Was this guy really a friend of the Labor?

Reaganomics, AKA "Supply–Side Economics," which pretends you can keep cutting taxes and spending more than you take in (even Reagan’s budget director quit), was continued in what has been called the Reagan/Bush Years and bankrupted America. Reagan maxed out our great grandchildren’s credit cards. Back when I was a Republican, we used to believe that the government should be like a household and not spend more than it takes in. Giving the rich tax breaks was supposed to give them more money to invest in America, build factories, and create jobs. They used it, all export jobs to countries where the workers can be paid two-bits an hour.

Under Reagan, we fought an undeclared and illegal war against the people of Central America. American-trained and supplied terrorists in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua were called by Reagan , "...the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers". The Reaganites lied to Congress, who had cut off funds for the war, and got the money for these operation in many questionable and illicit ways, including selling arms to Iran and using the proceeds to fund the Contras in Nicaragua: the "Iran-Contra" scandal.

We were convicted by the World Court in the Hague for illgally mining Nicaragua’s harbors. We were not oficially at war with them: Reagan just didn’t like their government, which was not friendly to U.S. business interests. This idea of an Imperial Presidency, which ruled rather than governed, taken to new heights under Bush, can be traced back to our smiling Actor-President (emphasis on "actor").

Reagan supported Saddam Hussein as well as Osama Bin Laden. Read your history. When 50 American hostages were held in Iran due to American support for their hated Shah, who we had installed, Reagan made a point of saying one should never give in to kidnappers. The very day he became President, he did just that, and traded arms for the hostages, who were released.

His bravery in yanking the Marines out of Lebanon (after a disastrous attack on their barracks killed a lot of them) will long be remembered. Maybe they had no business there in the first place?

"Deregulation" was always one of Reagan’s big ideas. Letting big business and banks do whatever they wanted to without government oversight was supposed to benefit everyone. It didn’t. Over time, this policy has brought us to the brink of economic collapse. It opened the door to wholesale abuse and outright robbery of middle class Americans, by banks, S&L’s, war contractors, and many corporations.

Vis-a-vis protecting the environment, Reagan was a disaster. His appointments were akin to putting the foxes in charge of the chicken coop. Goodbye forests, clean air, etc. He said, " How many Redwoods do you want to see?" and " Trees cause pollution." Did the American People really deserve to have the lumber industry put in charge of our national forests?

Reagan was anti-labor. Remember when he broke the air controllers (PATCO) strike (which was about safety issues) by firing the experienced controllers and bringing in learners?

And how many needy Americans were denied help by Reagan selling the American people the false image of the poor as "Welfare Queens?"

Reagan’s economic policies, embraced by George Bush Jr. (whose daddy called them "Voodoo economics") has brought us to a place that the Communists never could have. In the name of patriotism, they have attacked American ideals like truth and fairness, presided over economic, environmental and moral destruction . The jobs are gone. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and we are now the largest debtor nation in the world. The damage done by Reagan’s "supply side" economics in irreparable and the Constitution is in tatters.

Reagan’s getting credit for bringing down the Soviet Union by forcing them into an expensive arms race that bankrupted them (and us) is a dubious accomplishment, especially in light of the CIA studies before Reagan that showed Russia would have imploded anyway.

If our legislators are intent on honoring Reagan, I think that he should be immortalized by replacing Lincoln on the penny, which now costs more to make than what it can purchase.

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