Thursday, June 10, 2004


A good article here on how Reagan jolted the entire American political spectrum rightwards. Just a few excerpts:

"American politics today is evenly split into two camps, the Republican Reaganites and the Democratic Reaganites. Start with economics.... it is the Democratic Reaganites (like Robert Rubin) who today warn against fiscal policies that threaten to raise interest rates again. Reagan railed against the federal deficit-his screeds are echoed almost word for word by the Democratic Reaganites these days. ... Reagan preached Supply Side Economics that combined basic themes of republicanism and efficiency. In terms of political ethics it reflected Grover Cleveland's dictum that unnecessary taxation is unjust taxation-it is a corruption and an evil. In the name of efficiency, supply siders argued that cutting taxes would permanently boost the economy by releasing entrepreneurial spirits. The Republican Reaganites of course hold faithfully to the creed. Most Democrats, like John Kerry, have accepted it. (Kerry says he will only raise taxes on the undeserving super-rich, thus neutralizing the idea that unnecessary taxes are a corruption.) ... Reagan's redefinition of welfare as corrupt and inefficient allowed the triumph of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich in 1995, when they abolished the most egregious features that perpetuated a cycle of poverty and dependence. ....Reagan's judicial triumphs helped eventually to reverse the crime wave. After getting blown apart by the way Michael Dukakis mishandled the explosive crime issue in 1988, Democrats sought safety under the Reaganite umbrella. Today they nominate tough prosecutors like Kerry and take credit for adding 100,000 new police officers, building hundreds of thousands of new prison cells, and keeping them filled so that our streets are no longer so fearsome.....

The Democratic Reaganites hail Reagan's achievement in ending the Cold War. In 1991 Jimmy Carter proclaimed, "Under President Ronald Reagan, the nation stayed strong and resolute and made possible the end of the Cold War." Just yesterday Kerry said Reagan had "shaped one of the greatest victories of freedom." ..... Reagan found just the right formula-Star Wars, combined with a massive increase in high tech warfare and a new offensive mission for American military might. Star Wars was funded and is going forward right now--all the major Democratic candidates this year supported it (including Howard Dean)"

Bruce Bartlett's comment:

"Ronald Reagan's economic achievements were among the most important of his presidency. When he took office in January 1981, the U.S. economy was suffering from many ills, including slow growth, high inflation, rising unemployment and unprecedented interest rates. Economists commonly believed that it would take decades to fix all these problems, if they could be fixed at all, and that the political cost of doing so was impossibly large for a democracy. Yet, well before the end of Reagan's presidency in 1988, he had succeeded in reversing all of the problems he inherited, putting the U.S. economy on the path of sound, noninflationary growth that continues to this day.....

As impressive as Reagan's tangible accomplishments in office were, his less tangible accomplishments were also significant. Together with Margaret Thatcher, he restored the idea that private individuals and businesses were the true sources of prosperity, not government. They gave legitimacy to free markets, open trade and sound money, in contrast to socialism, planning and price controls, which had dominated economic policy throughout the world for more than half a century. The renaissance of growth and freedom in Eastern Europe and the Third World owes much to Reagan's and Thatcher's discrediting of the socialist idea and their tireless defense of economic freedom."

I am glad to see that Conservative Truth agrees with me: "Ronald Wilson Reagan was America's greatest president. I am sure many people will disagree with me on this. Democrats will say that Kennedy was the greatest. Historians will argue for Washington or Lincoln. But in my humble opinion no president ever accomplished as much in as many areas for America as did Ronald Reagan".


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