Saint Ronald Reagan? Not So Much

So Ronald Reagan cut wasteful spending and gave everybody tax cuts and pie in the sky?

Err… no.

Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his eight years as president. Far from addressing the deficit debt, he tripled it during his terms in office. After his first big tax cut in 1981, unemployment skyrocketed to 10.8 percent. Reagan increased the size of the federal government and with it the amount of federal spending. He did not, as president, seriously infringe a woman’s right to choose abortion; indeed, as governor, he signed a bill supporting it. He even gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented aliens.

And on and on. Reagan was nothing like the mythical superhuman (subhuman?) depicted by today’s right wing. If Reagan were magically reborn and re-entered government service, when he saw the crap that passes for “conservatism” these days, based on his earlier record, he’d probably disavow it.

In the recent GOP candidates’ debate, “Reagan” was mentioned probably a hundred times, exceeded in frequency only by the word “tax.” Whatever you think about taxes, it’s time to bury Ronald Reagan. May he rest in peace… free from specious invocations of his name in support of positions quite different from those he advocated in life. Let him go.

(H/T ellroon.)

CORRECTION: in the information above, the original source used “deficit” and “debt” interchangeably. After rereading, I am convinced that “debt” was intended.

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  • MandT  On Friday September 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    “May he rest in peace” You are far more generous than I, Steve. I just hope that someone tossed a clove of garlic in the tomb at the last minute.

    • Steve  On Friday September 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      MandT, my mother died of Alzheimer’s disease, and I can imagine no worse fate for anyone of at least average intellect (my mother was far beyond average) than to “die before you die.” That happened to Reagan, at least at the end, and possibly earlier; I do have some sympathy for his family… and even for Reagan himself during that brief few months in which he was aware that his mind was going.

      That doesn’t mean I forgive him all the arrogant, wrongheaded, cruel, evil things he did. But even he was no match for the GOPers today who call themselves “conservative” … conservative, my fuckin’ ass; they’re radical fascists and/or theocrats. A resurrected Reagan wouldn’t stand a chance among them.

  • jams o donnell  On Friday September 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Ach just like Margaret Thatcher here… and she’s not dead yet!

    • Steve  On Friday September 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      jams – she’s not? I haven’t heard of her in ages! But as the song says, only the good die young…

  • NTodd Pritsky  On Friday September 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Well, he didn’t care about the deficit, either.

    • Steve  On Friday September 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      Apparently not, NTodd. My correction was merely avoiding mistaking a function for its first derivative.

  • MandT  On Friday September 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I understand…same here. I knew Roni from the pre A. days when he destroyed the California educational system and shredded the safety net releasing an army of homeless and mentally vulnerable on our cities. I have never forgiven him, particularly the fact that he never remembered a thing at the end. I am lacking in mercy when it comes to monsters like that—-a character fault I’m content to live with now.

    • Steve  On Friday September 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      MandT, it is no character fault on your part that you reject the atrocities committed by Ronald Reagan. My sympathies do not extend beyond those related to his Alzheimer’s disease. If there’s a Hell, AFAIC, Ronnie can rot there.

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