Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

Happy Birthday, Ronnie!

In celebration of the 100th birthday of former President Ronald Reagan, he who hath sowed so much love amongst todays conservatives Think Progress has presented a little expose’ of the Great Communicator’s heritage. Funny thing is these facts have been common knowledge among those of us intelligent enough to realize it. So…to refresh our conservative and teabagger friend’s here’s a history lesson:

“Tomorrow will mark the 100th anniversary of President Reagan’s birth, and all week, conservatives have been trying to outdo each others’ remembrances of the great conservative icon. Senate Republicans spent much of Thursday singing Reagan’s praise from the Senate floor, while conservative publications have been running non-stop commemorations. Meanwhile the Republican National Committee and former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich are hoping to make few bucks off the Gipper’s centennial.

But Reagan was not the man conservatives claim he was. This image of Reagan as a conservative superhero is myth, created to untie the various factions of the right behind a common leader. In reality, Reagan was no conservative ideologue or flawless commander-in-chief. Reagan regularly strayed from conservative dogma — he raised taxes eleven times as president while tripling the deficit — and he often ended up on the wrong side of history, like when he vetoed an Anti-Apartheid bill.”

1. Reagan was a serial tax raiser. As governor of California, Reagan “signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then.” Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan “raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office,” including four times in just two years. As former GOP Senator Alan Simpson, who called Reagan “a dear friend,” told NPR, “Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration — I was there.” “Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes,” said historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited Reagan’s memoir. Reagan the anti-tax zealot is “false mythology,” Brinkley said.

2. Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. During the Reagan years, the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion, “roughly three times as much as the first 80 years of the century had done altogether.” Reagan enacted a major tax cut his first year in office and government revenue dropped off precipitously. Despite the conservative myth that tax cuts somehow increase revenue, the government went deeper into debt and Reagan had to raise taxes just a year after he enacted his tax cut. Despite ten more tax hikes on everything from gasoline to corporate income, Reagan was never able to get the deficit under control.

3. Unemployment soared after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts. Unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, income inequality exploded. Despite the myth that Reagan presided over an era of unmatched economic boom for all Americans, Reagan disproportionately taxed the poor and middle class, but the economic growth of the 1980′s did little help them. “Since 1980, median household income has risen only 30 percent, adjusted for inflation, while average incomes at the top have tripled or quadrupled,” the New York Times’ David Leonhardt noted.

4. Reagan grew the size of the federal government tremendously. Reagan promised “to move boldly, decisively, and quickly to control the runaway growth of federal spending,” but federal spending “ballooned” under Reagan. He bailed out Social Security in 1983 after attempting to privatize it, and set up a progressive taxation system to keep it funded into the future. He promised to cut government agencies like the Department of Energy and Education but ended up adding one of the largest — the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which today has a budget of nearly $90 billion and close to 300,000 employees. He also hiked defense spending by over $100 billion a year to a level not seen since the height of the Vietnam war.

5. Reagan did little to fight a woman’s right to chose. As governor of California in 1967, Reagan signed a bill to liberalize the state’s abortion laws that “resulted in more than a million abortions.” When Reagan ran for president, he advocated a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, but once in office, he “never seriously pursued” curbing choice.

6. Reagan was a “bellicose peacenik.” He wrote in his memoirs that “[m]y dream…became a world free of nuclear weapons.” “This vision stemmed from the president’s belief that the biblical account of Armageddon prophesied nuclear war — and that apocalypse could be averted if everyone, especially the Soviets, eliminated nuclear weapons,” the Washington Monthly noted. And Reagan’s military buildup was meant to crush the Soviet Union, but “also to put the United States in a stronger position from which to establish effective arms control” for the the entire world — a vision acted out by Regean’s vice president, George H.W. Bush, when he became president.

7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants. Reagan signed into law a bill that made any immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty. The bill was sold as a crackdown, but its tough sanctions on employers who hired undocumented immigrants were removed before final passage. The bill helped 3 million people and millions more family members gain American residency. It has since become a source of major embarrassment for conservatives.

8. Reagan illegally funneled weapons to Iran. Reagan and other senior U.S. officials secretly sold arms to officials in Iran, which was subject to a an arms embargo at the time, in exchange for American hostages. Some funds from the illegal arms sales also went to fund anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua — something Congress had already prohibited the administration from doing. When the deals went public, the Iran-Contra Affair, as it came to be know, was an enormous political scandal that forced several senior administration officials to resign.

9. Reagan vetoed a comprehensive anti-Apartheid act. which placed sanctions on South Africa and cut off all American trade with the country. Reagan’s veto was overridden by the Republican-controlled Senate. Reagan responded by saying “I deeply regret that Congress has seen fit to override my veto,” saying that the law “will not solve the serious problems that plague that country.”

10. Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistani intelligence service. The Talbian and Osama Bin Laden — a prominent mujahidin commander — emerged from these mujahidin groups Reagan helped create, and U.S. policy towards Pakistan remains strained because of the intelligence services’ close relations to these fighters. In fact, Reagan’s decision to continue the proxy war after the Soviets were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden’s ascendency.

“Conservatives seem to be in such denial about the less flattering aspects of Reagan; it sometimes appears as if they genuinely don’t know the truth of his legacy. Yesterday, when liberal activist Mike Stark challenged hate radio host Rush Limbaugh on why Reagan remains a conservative hero despite raising taxes so many times, Limbaugh flew into a tirade and demanded, Where did you get this silly notion that Reagan raised taxes?


Scaring Our Seniors to Death

The biggest group of supporters of the Republican Party isn’t the evangelical Christians, the rich white businessmen, or the white southern redneck.

It’s the elderly. Those over  65 years of age or so who were raised during times fardeathvalleydays more conservative than even those of the Bush years…people who fought hard for the future of their children in Europe, North Africa, Japan and Korea. People who respected Dwight Eisenhower as a military leader and people who watched Death Valley Days and it’s host with the calming, authoritative voice – Ronald Reagan. Of course, back then Reagan was a Democrat who championed the New Deal and the plight of less-fortunate Americans, especially the elderly.

Because these people worked so hard for their future and that of their children, they instinctively have become protective of such a legacy. The first mass departure of the elderly from the Republican Party was the result of the man whom they once respected so dearly – Ronald Reagan. When Reagan switched parties in 1962 he cited his fear of the takeover of our government by citing the fear of the government itself having too much control over our lives. The decline of the integrity of the words of Reagan began at the time when he proclaimed the proposed Medicare program was socialist. When Medicare became fact, the fears were proven unfounded as it substantially improved access to health care, allowed seniors to live longer, healthier lives, led to the desegregation of southern hospitals, and became one of the most popular government programs our nation’s ever seen.

The fears incited by the Republican Party of the day were soothed away by a new war and the turmoil of the 1960’s and older Americans began returning to the comforting fold of the Republican Party and Ronald Reagan as America returned to it’s conservative roots with the election of Richard Nixon.

Thus began the greatest shame of America – the paranoia of the Republican Party. Through the years of Nixon, Reagan and the Bush father and son, fear and the concept of fear grew to be the talking point of the party. Rather than intelligently debate alternatives to proposed legislation, the Republicans would rather return to the tactics of Reagan by instilling fear in the eyes of the American public to ramrod their paranoid policies through Congress and upon the freedoms we’ve always shared.

This fear brought us Gingrich’s “Contract with America”, wars in Kuwait, Iraq and Aghanistan, and the erosion of the world view of our country thanks to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the neocons of the world.

Today, the concept of fear has grown to a whole new level of shame. Our seniors need real answers on health care reform, and they’re not getting those answers from the Republican Party.

Rather than respond intelligently or cohesively to the President’s health care reform proposal, the Republican Party has dusted off the tried-and-true fear tactics in their response to health care reform – not by proposing an alternative but by attempting gop_republican-and-ashamedto scare others into thinking what’s proposed will drive the country to socialism, Marxism, or worse. Using tactics such as disrupting town halls, using the words of conservative bloggers, inane has beens such as Sarah Palin and her “death squad”, and Fox News to spread outright lies and misconceptions, the Republican Party is concentrating on confusing the message of health care reform by confusing and inciting fear into it’s supporters. Bombarding the internet with hateful, racist messages and images directed towards our President, the Republican Party has become a sham that would even make Ronald Reagan shake his head in shame.

If allowed to continue, this and this alone will result in the downfall of our country and it’s freedom.

Sunday Stupid People

Today, we’re looking at a whole bunch of stupid people. First, let’s discuss the right-wing fear-mongering idiots out there who are insisting that President Obama’s health care reform is nothing short of socialism and will destroy this country.

If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I posted this clip from YouTube:

Perhaps my point didn’t get through back then so I’ll spell it out now. I guessblinders LilMike and his right wing buddies didn’t see it because their blinders were on too tight.

Has our country survived since Ronald Reagan predicted our doom at the hands of Medicare? Have we turned into a Socialist, goose-stepping people? No, we haven’t.

Now the same Republican fear-mongers are screaming the President is out to stretch his Socialist agenda by insisting a “mandate”  requiring everyone in America buy health care insurance or risk the threat of arrest and sentencing to spend their life in a debtor prison!

Shudder! But did the President say that? Of course not. On June 3rd, he sent a letter to Senators Max Baucus and Ted Kennedy commending their efforts to institute health care reform and outlining his goals:

In 2009, health care reform is not a luxury. It’s a necessity we cannot defer. Soaring health care costs make our current course unsustainable. It is unsustainable for our families, whose spiraling premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are pushing them into bankruptcy and forcing them to go without the checkups and prescriptions they need. It is unsustainable for businesses, forcing more and more of them to choose between keeping their doors open or covering their workers. And the ever-increasing cost of Medicare and Medicaid are among the main drivers of enormous budget deficits that are threatening our economic future.

In short, the status quo is broken, and pouring money into a broken system only perpetuates its inefficiencies. Doing nothing would only put our entire health care system at risk. Without meaningful reform, one fifth of our economy is projected to be tied up in our health care system in 10 years; millions more Americans are expected to go without insurance; and outside of what they are receiving for health care, workers are projected to see their take-home pay actually fall over time.

We simply cannot afford to postpone health care reform any longer. This recognition has led an unprecedented coalition to emerge on behalf of reform — hospitals, physicians, and health insurers, labor and business, Democrats and Republicans. These groups, adversaries in past efforts, are now standing as partners on the same side of this debate.

The President goes on to say:

The plans you are discussing embody my core belief that Americans should have better choices for health insurance, building on the principle that if they like the coverage they have now, they can keep it, while seeing their costs lowered as our reforms take hold.

But for those who don’t have such options, I agree that we should create a health insurance exchange — a more open market where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that’s best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can. None of these plans should deny coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition, and all of these plans should include an affordable basic benefit package that includes prevention, and protection against catastrophic costs.

I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.

Nicely said, Mr. President.

Now. Where in this letter does the President say he wants to mandate coverage for all? This is what he really said:

But I believe if we are going to make people responsible for owning health insurance, we must make health care affordable. If we do end up with a system where people are responsible for their own insurance, we need to provide a hardship waiver to exempt Americans who cannot afford it.

In addition, while I believe that employers have a responsibility to support health insurance for their employees, small businesses face a number of special challenges in affording health benefits and should be exempted.

It’s a mandate, all right. But not the gloom and doom mandate the Republicans are trying to say it is.

Remember…Ronald Reagan’s policies are what’s destroyed our economy. George Bush and Dick Cheney destroyed the worldwide respect of this country with the lies that sent us to Iraq.

To prove my point, here’s an exchange from the good-ol boys and girls at Faux News the other day.


Criticizing the President over what beer he drank? And these fools are to be taken seriously?

Why the hell is anyone believing what the Republicans say now?