On this very day, February 6th, 102 years ago, a man named Ronald Wilson Reagan was born. He is now a Right Wing Conservative icon, his name whispered in reverence by Republicans & millions of Tea Bagging Americans.
Reagan raised taxes, created huge deficits during peace time, enabled 2 million abortions in California, expanded existing government agencies, created new ones, doubled the size of the federal government, & tripled Jimmy Carter's national debt.
During the recession of the early 1980s, Reagan lived up to his campaign promise to lower taxes, with his Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. The tax rate for the richest tax payers was lowered from 70% to 50% while the lowest earners’ rate was dropped from 14% to 11%. Within a year, the tax cuts reduced revenue beyond any of the projections. President Reagan signed the Tax Equity & Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, the largest peacetime tax increase in USA history.
Reagan’s redistribution of wealth was completed the following year when the Social Security Reform Act was passed into law. The effect was a tax reduction for the wealthiest Americans & tax increases on the lower & middle class. Reagan’s era saw the largest redistribution of wealth in American history.
Reagan ridiculed Carter's deficits, but after he took office he made the Carter deficits look like pocket change. Now, when Conservatives talk fondly of Reagan's smaller government, consider the truth, & not the misguided, mistaken, misplaced memories of a world that never did exist.
Deficit during late 20th century Presidents’ Administrations : Jimmy Carter -1.6%, Ronald Reagan +18.5%, George H.W. Bush +12.2%, Bill Clinton -6.8%, George W. Bush +11.9%.
Why do my father & all his Republican buddies think that the Republicans are better stewards on the economy?
During Reagan's presidency the federal government added 61,000 employees. By comparison, during the Clinton administration, the government slashed nearly 400,000 jobs,& Clinton accomplished this & still had time for blow jobs.
Reagan never mentioned AIDS until he was directly questioned about it during his 2nd term. He never gave a public statement on the epidemic until 1987, when 30,000 people had already died. Reagan was advised to NOT deny that children could catch AIDS from casual contact. Members of the Reagan inner circle attacked Surgeon General C. Everett Koop for encouraging sex education & condom use.
Reagan mentioned, in passing, that Rock Hudson was rumored to have AIDS & then the topic doesn't come up again for 2 years. When he did finally address the subject, he consistently misspelled it as "AIDES." He seemed to never have devoted time at all to thinking about HIV, which was killing Americans throughout his entire presidency. Whether he was an anti-gay bigot who thought that the disease was a punishment from an angry God or simply an old, early Alzheimer victim surrounded by Christian Rightwing mouthpieces, he couldn’t be bothered with what was killing so many gay men. People died because the government he led didn't make fighting the epidemic an issue. They thought that AIDS might solve that pesky gay rights problem.
I realize that Reagan reflected the prejudices of his time. Born in 1911, he grew up in a world that misunderstood & feared homosexuality. He was 62 years old by the time homosexuality was removed from the official list of mental disorders. Reagan shared the common view that homosexuality was a sickness, & he liked telling jokes about queers. Still, he worked with many gay actors in Hollywood & had close gay friends, including Rock Hudson & Merv Griffin. His attitude could have made a huge difference in today’s Conservative Right positions on equal rights.
For me this is Reagan’s legacy: firing the air traffic controllers, winnable nuclear wars, trees that cause pollution, ketchup as a vegetable, public housing cutbacks, getting cozy with fascist generals, tax credits for segregated schools, disinformation campaigns, "homeless by choice," Manuel Noriega, falling wages, "constructive engagement" with apartheid South Africa, the invasion of Grenada, assassination manuals, drug tests, banking scandals, food stamp reductions, his Attorney General Ed Meese stating- "You don't have many suspects who are innocent of a crime", the massacre of civilians in El Salvador, $640 Pentagon toilet seats, Iran/contra, Robert Bork, naps, Teflon, & 40,000+ dead from that pesky new gay disease.
Reagan did something very bad to this country; he planted the seed that would bring forth fully ripened poisoned fruit in the 21st century, fruit with hearts cold & minds dulled with visions of untold wealth & power in the name of God & country.
In the 1980s, I was repulsed by Ronald Reagan & his wife. Now, in the 21st century he does not seem quite so terrible, maybe even quaint. Happy 102nd Birthday, Ronnie!
"My criticism is that the gay movement isn't just asking for civil rights; it's asking for recognition & acceptance of an alternative lifestyle which I do not believe society can condone, nor can I."