Ronald Reagan's Birthday

Today is Ronald Reagan’s birthday and I was trying to decide whether he was the greatest president of the 20th Century. I decided that FDR edged him out, but only because Roosevelt lived in more interesting times. Both presidents presided over inflection points in American history and both responded well to circumstances.

I am not trying to be bipartisan, just American. After a while all presidents belong simply to the American party. That is why I can put Reagan and Roosevelt in the same boat. The fact that Reagan undid many of the things Roosevelt had wrought does not affect the analysis. Roosevelt did things appropriate for the 1930s & 1940s, things that helped make American prosperous for decades. But nothing lasts forever and even the most effective solutions ossify and break apart with time. By the 1980s the appropriate thing for Reagan to do was change them. Solutions must be appropriate to the circumstances.

By the end of the 1970s, most people could see something was wrong. Stagflation was sitting on the economy like a raven. The old liberal nostrums no longer produced desirable results. Even Jimmy Carter recognized this. It was Carter who deregulated important industries such as trucking, airlines and by abolishing Regulation Q and outdated rules, allowed for the financial industry as we know it today.

But in 1980, Americans wanted something new and better, true change not mere adjustment. This is where Reagan came in. He was an immensely popular president, who actually won a majority in the three man race in 1980 and was reelected with nearly 59% of the popular votes when he carried every state except Minnesota. His opponents did not (and still do not) understand him. To them he was just an amiable dunce.

Recent scholarship has enhanced Reagan's reputation as an independent thinker and debunked the disinformation of the time that Reagan was fed his lines, like the actor he had been. However, Reagan himself seemed comfortable with their assessments. Like Roosevelt, whom Oliver Wendell Holmes described at a man with "second-class intellect" but a "first-class temperament.", letting others underestimate him allowed Reagan to disarms, cajole and co-opt all those smart guys who would rather be correct than right. Now that we have access to Reagan’s hand written notes we can see that his ideas were based on his extensive reading and experience. He was a one man think tank, but he understood that there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit.

Ronald Reagan led a remarkable life. He was no child of privilege and the diploma from Eureka College hardly impressed the elites. We can see the development of his character from his time as a New Deal Democrat, to the time when faced down communists in the Screen Actors' Guild (Reagan was the only president who had been a union leader), to his getting to know the country as spokesman for GE, to his political career and election as president.

He was the right man for the times. Inflation raged at more than 13%. Unemployment reached more than 10% some months. The Soviet Union was on the march. Energy prices were spiking. The America we envision in our nightmares is what we actually experienced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We have not been there since then. Ronald Reagan's presidency marked a turning point for our country. It really was morning in America, a new dawn. He was a great man and a great American.

Posted by Jack at February 6, 2007 5:06 PM
Comments
Comment #206834

I will not take this opportunity to bash Reagan for not being perfect. Many of his acts as president, although grounded in good principle, were effectually short-sighted and caused more harm than good. But as a leader, he commanded respect. He spoke sincerely and with dignity. He gave many Americans new hope and a new sense of importance.

For the rest of my life, the words “President of the United States” will always conjure memories of “Tear down this wall!”

Other notable Reagan quotes:

“People don’t start wars, governments do”

“Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

“The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

and of course…

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.”

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 6, 2007 5:37 PM
Comment #206836

He was a good talker. But he started the GOP fiscal irresponsibility crisis that now threatens our future. Note the graph below:

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 6, 2007 5:42 PM
Comment #206837

I remember other sayings like:
“If you’ve seen one redwood you’ve seen them all” or ,”I can’t recall.”

Posted by: BillS at February 6, 2007 5:46 PM
Comment #206838

Jack,
When any knowledgeble person thinks of the most overrated presidents the U.S. has ever had, Ronald Reagan and JFK come right to mind.
Sure both of them made us feel “great” to be an American and gave a reason to be “proud” to be an American, however, in the end their myopic policies did more harm to the nation than they did good. Study a little bit of good ol’ U.S. 20th history, might be a real eye opener for some folks who see Reagan as their idol. REAGANOMICS!!!

Posted by: greenstuff at February 6, 2007 5:50 PM
Comment #206840

David,

You might want to get a more up to date chart. The federal deficit has shrunk by 58%. The CBO now estimates that the current the fiscal 2007 deficit will fall to $172 billion and the economy has been growing faster.

I noticed those charts before. There is something even more interesting. I am not speaking as an economist or even trying to be polemical, but I notice what looks like an inverse relationship between debt and properity. The low point for debt was the 1970s, when conditions sucked.

In fact, the very worst period in American post war history is nearly the exact low point on your graph. What does that mean? Maybe there is something else at work.

Posted by: Jack at February 6, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #206841

greenstuff

They called it Reaganomics in 1981-2. After that, the term disappeared from common usage. Wonder why.

Posted by: Jack at February 6, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #206844

Jack, you apparently misread the Chart. It is not deficits, JACK, it is national DEBT!

Doesn’t matter if deficits are 1 billion or 5 billion, they add to the national debt. Reagan and Bushes started a GOP economic policy, as the chart indicates, of piling up national debt for future generations in order to make current voters feel good. That is an irresponsible economic policy.

I would hope that Bush, after piling on national debt faster than any president in history for comparable years in office, save FDR fighting both depresssion, dust bowls, and WWII, that he would finally at some point, give consideration to slowing the rate of national debt growth. But, his budgets are still growing the debt.

He has this dream that after he leaves office, somehow more responsible politicians will zero out the deficits. That is his dream! I hope his dream comes true. But, I have to ask, why is he waiting for another President to do it? Oh, yeah, I forgot, Reaganomics economic policy - borrow, spend, and cut taxes - and let the others worry about the debt.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 6, 2007 6:18 PM
Comment #206845


Because the name was changed to trickle down economics.

Posted by: jlw at February 6, 2007 6:21 PM
Comment #206847

If I recall correctly, HW called it voodoo economics in the Republican primaries, before he settled in on Reagan’s ticket as VP candidate.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 6, 2007 6:23 PM
Comment #206848

Well, he sure acted as if he were a good President. Too bad it takes more than acting to actually be one.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 6, 2007 6:28 PM
Comment #206851

David

The add to the debt, but if the economy grows faster than the debt they do no increase debt as a % of GDP, which is what your chart measures. In fact, the fast growth of the economy is reducing debt as a % of GDP in spite of deficits.

Paul

The economy is too hard for any one person to understand. Many people said Reagan’s policies would cause a collapse. I cannot predict the future, but after more than 25 years AND during that time the U.S. outperformed most other large developed economies, I worry less about it.

Posted by: Jack at February 6, 2007 6:57 PM
Comment #206856

Whats”goin on” is that it is real easy to throw a party if you can write all the bad checks you want. Also Reagans policies did cause colaspse in some regions of the country. The apellation,”rustbelt” is a Reagan era term. You will certainly try to shift the blame to others but he was presidentand he could have stopped it.
Supporting brutal dictators all over the world,including Saddam,trading arms for hostages with Iran,violating the law to supply arms to South American Fascistas,increasing poverty,training and arming the Talaban and setting up routes they are still being armed with through Pakistan.You pick strange heros and give them far more credit than they deserve.

Posted by: BillS at February 6, 2007 8:27 PM
Comment #206857

Jack,

Without the Internet boom, we’d be what? About 18 Trillion in debt? 22 Trillion? We managed to climb our way out of the Reagan hole by luck, ingenuity, technical genius, and hard work, just to be dug back in by an incompetent shrub. But, I’m sure you think “It will happen again, free markets will solve everything” Yeah. right. Don’t forget about the trillion dollar trade deficit and 35(?) trillion dollar consumer debt.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 6, 2007 8:31 PM
Comment #206858

BillS

0.47%. That is the U.S. contribution to Saddam’s war machine. It is not zero, but not much either.

Re rustbelt

Wikipedia talks re saying “Beginning with the recession of 1970-71, a pattern emerged”.

The smart thing that happened during the 1980s is that was that we let some of these industries fail instead of keeping them on life support.

I am very glad that Reagan policies helped defeat insurgencies in Central America.

In Afghanistan our main ally was Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjshir, a persistent enemy of the Taliban and Al Queda.

As with any period in history, there was good & bad, but the net effect was that we were far better off after and because of Reagan.

Posted by: Jack at February 6, 2007 8:40 PM
Comment #206859

Wrong word. Not “insurgencies” rather democracies.

Posted by: BillS at February 6, 2007 8:54 PM
Comment #206865

Yeah, right, Jack, like it was vital to our national interests that Reagan bail out Chrysler at tax payer expense. Try again.

Reagan was adamantly opposed to the Chrysler bailout just before he was adamantly for it. Same with the NYC bailout. Reagan was the original version of the flip flopper. And the closest he ever got to understanding economics was counting jelly beans.

He was an actor. By all accounts a very good one. Which made him the perfect Pinocchio for the GOP, the talking head. I grant he had that annoying tendency to cut his strings at times, much to the dismay of his party bosses. But, that was largely on domestic social issues, of which he could lay claim to some experience given the times in which he was born and grew up in.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 6, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #206867

Jack, I have to agree with you that FDR was the best of the past century.

One of the things we seem to forget is that during Carters watch was when the price of oil doubled, due to OPEC I believe, which caused the stagflation etc of the 70’s. Borrowing money to get us out of it evidently worked for awhile but if we are to dance wont we have to pay the fiddler eventually?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 6, 2007 10:25 PM
Comment #206868

Jack,
As horrible as many of Reagan’s policies were, the worst thing he committed was involving religion into politics, thus dismantling the seperation of “church” and “state”. A true conservative, such one who believes in the principle set up by the father of modern American conservitism, Barry Goldwater, would realize how unfortunate of a president Ronald Reagan was.
Ronald Wilson Reagan=666

Posted by: greenstuff at February 6, 2007 10:26 PM
Comment #206870

David

CARTER bailed out Chrysler. It happened in 1979. This is sort of like blaming Bush for the recession in 2001. You may recall that Reagan took office in January 1981. Causes cannot follow effects.


Posted by: Jack at February 6, 2007 10:40 PM
Comment #206871

Reagan piled on the debt. Arguing that that was a good thing is disengenuous. Debt is simply a mess future generations have to take care of. We got lucky with the internet boom, but we will probably have to pay off Bush’s debt the hard way, with hard work, or, at least our children will.

I think in retrospect that Reagan’s policies have been overly credited. I never believed the “star wars” program was a good idea. It was non-sensical. Some people credit it with bringing down the Soviet Union. I find it more reasonable, and frankly patriotic, to accept that the Soviet Union’s communism was not tenable.

Similarly, I don’t believe in trickle down. There’s no rational reason things should work that way.

Reagan was good at promoting patriotism, and for that I salute him. I was never that crazy about a lot of his policies. He was overly credited, and now copied by the current administration, which has made all too clear what flaws were there all along.

Reagan and FDR. No way. Sorry, Reagan is no FDR. I don’t believe the man himself would ever put himself in that league.

Posted by: Max at February 6, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #206872

By the way, about the “interesting times” thing. I sometimes wonder if Bush isn’t the worst president of the 20th century, mostly because all of the problems he encountered were situations he created? Interesting thought…

Posted by: Max at February 6, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #206873


Max: If you are talking about the current president, he is the second president of the 21st century. Clinton has the distinction of being the last president of the 20th century and the first of the 21st for 20 or 21 days. If America is lucky, Bush will be the worst president of the 21st century.

Posted by: jlw at February 6, 2007 11:11 PM
Comment #206886

Jack, Carter bailed out Chrysler, yes. Reagan opposed it. Then in 1980, he changed his mind and was for it. Same with the NYC bailout, opposed it, then for it. The polls no doubt had something to do with it.

For the reference, check out the October, 1980 Time Magazine. The bailout was initiated by Carter, and continued for years under Reagan, after he flip-flopped on the issue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 7, 2007 2:08 AM
Comment #206890

Jack and David,

Chrysler paid back their debt plus interest, and made me a tidy sum in their turn around. There was no net cost to taxpayers. Something like what Jesse Jones did to help end the Depression. Credit, used properly, isn’t a bad thing.

As to Reagan being a great president, I’m with Greenstuff on this one. Both he and Jack Kennedy led us to idiots like Bush. This is the major reason I am opposed to TV’s influence on politics.

Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 2:35 AM
Comment #206893

I will have to hand it to the Gipper. He could bullshit the birds out of the trees.
He is given far to much credit for ending the cold war and may even have prolonged it. The insane level of military spending in the Soviet Union kept their economy pumping long after it should have failed or turned away from some rather stupid fundementals. Their eventual breakdown was more likely from crashing oil prices than anything Reagan did. They had become dependant on high oil revenues to support their economy. Historcal speculation is always suspect but the timeing is right and it is more logical than assuming us spending ourselves to near bankruptcy ,Reagans legacy, had more to do with it.It is even more clear that if the Soviets had prevailed in Afganistan we would not be there today. They were fighting radical Islamist well before we were. Of course even without the US involvement the Soviets may have lost there . Afganistan has a way of deafeating foriegn armies,always has.

Posted by: BillS at February 7, 2007 3:00 AM
Comment #206900

Bill S.

Rudyard Kipling’s story aside, who wants to stay in place filled with ignorance and some of the worst infrastructure and weather in the world? That’s why they win, no one ultimately stays. Russia will always have Siberia, as well.You can’t bomb people living in the stone age, back to the stone age.

Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 7:00 AM
Comment #206907

jlw,

My mistake. I meant I sometimes wonder if Bush isn’t the worst president of all time. :-)

Speaking of economic mistakes - Do you realize that Bush has not included the Iraq war in his budget for the last 4 years? Do you know that the original estimate for the war was 50 billion? The cost of the war is now 500 billion, with no end in sight? Do you remember Bush firing people who said the war would cost more than 50 billion? I do. And I very clearly remember Cheney saying none of this mattered, because “Reagan proved debts don’t matter”. Reagan’s superficial successes made many of his mistaken policies into golden rules Republicans would not bend. They enshrined him, and it was terrible for our country they did that.

Posted by: Max at February 7, 2007 9:12 AM
Comment #206912

gergle, were it not for the luck of the choice of Lee Iaococa (sp?), the taxpayer could easily have failed to be reimbursed. Do you remember the Savings and Loan debacle. No payback there. Bailing out corporations is generally bad policy, insuring business is bad policy without zealous oversight and regulation, just as subsidizing corporations is bad policy overall.

Small Business is another animal, much more subject to the fluctuations and impacts of political decisions impacting the economy. There is a better case to be made for assistance to small businesses, only when political decisions affecting the economy impact them. Raising the minimum wage 40% is a good case in point, though many Republicans some BlueDog Dem’s want to go overboard for bragging rights at election time on the taxpayer’s dime.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 7, 2007 9:36 AM
Comment #206918

David

Some of the things that makes us conservatives so pleasant to be around are our concepts of pragmatism and leaving things alone. I would have opposed the bailout in theory. Once it was started, I would not have stopped it and if it seemed to work (as Gergle says) I would have been satisfied.

You must have noticed this characteristic in my writing. I can oppose something sincerely and ferociously, but when it becomes inevitable, I try to figure out how to make it work best and to maximum advantage. I perceived the same trait in Reagan, which is one reason I liked him so much and why he was so effective.

It is not the same as flip flopping, which to me is just an opportunistic attempt to recast yourself to make others like you better.

I know this will make some people mad, but Kerry’s 87 billion thing was a classic flip flop. He did not have a change of heart; he was not trying to make the best of a situation he did not create; he was simply pandering and shifting the blame. Reagan’s changing his position on taxes in California or his Chrysler stance we are considering here, is an example of courageous pragmatism.

BillS & Gergle

The Soviet Union was an existential threat. Responding to it in the 1980s was fitting and proper. Most solutions contain the seeds of future problems and our involvement in Afghanistan was no exception. However, nasty as Islamic terrorists are, they really are small potatoes compared with the Soviet Union. Besides, Afghanistan did not create these guys. It just gave them a place to play. It would have been better if the Soviets had managed to kill a few more of them w/o killing many more Afghan civilians or our friends there, but it is hard to micromanage that sort of thing.

Posted by: Jack at February 7, 2007 9:50 AM
Comment #206928
The Soviet Union was an existential threat… nasty as Islamic terrorists are, they really are small potatoes compared with the Soviet Union…Posted by: Jack at February 7, 2007 09:50 AM
Oh please. Demonization of an enemy is necessary to control the masses during confrontation but it is simply rhetorical in a debate. Like Sting said “the russians love their children too”, they don’t blow up schools loaded with hundreds of children, and had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Also, wasn’t it Kruschev who asked Eisenhower for an apology in Paris? There is real opinion the cold war would have ended sooner, if not then, if we had taken the high road.

To the thread, Ronnie had the good fortune of being in power at the right time. His SDI was just one tactic in 40 years of a succesful strategy. (A good thing he did, like letting old steel fail) You give him way to much credit overall; and his stupid trickle down failures, geeze. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery…

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 7, 2007 10:22 AM
Comment #206932

Jack, may I guess you’re a bit subjective toward Reagan era due to your family history?

Anyway. I wasn’t an adult yet under Reagan. I just remember how the UK’s Spitting Images were mocking him. His policy doesn’t impress us that much.
Roosevelt and JFK have both a more better opinion than Reagan worldwide, while Bush has the worst of all.

But maybe I’m biased, being living in a communist socialist foreign country ;-)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 7, 2007 10:43 AM
Comment #206940

gergle
Please you are not suggesting that the Soviets lost Afganistan because they did not like the weather?

Posted by: BillS at February 7, 2007 11:57 AM
Comment #206943

BillS-

Way to overgeneralize. Gergle actually did make a valid point, you know? Maybe you should attack it head on instead of sniping at it from the woods. No one in recent history has conquered Afghanistan and actually stayed to rule, have they? Doesn’t this beg the question of why? And isn’t gergle’s explanation the best we’ve got to go on absent some historical or cultural revelation? To advance the conversation, might I suggest some historical or cultural revelation or context? That would be much more interesting for yours truly to read.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 7, 2007 12:03 PM
Comment #206954

Dave

When we really had a Soviet threat, people were not quite so cavalier. Liberals were usually among the most hysterical. They made movies like the “Day After” etc showing how terrible the future might be. They also predicted Reagan’s policies would bring about that terrible day. They had very interesting posters and puppet shows to demonstate it. Just the opposite happened, and now they say it was inevitable. They were mistaken then and are mistaken now.

Philippe

Reagan, with the help of socialist Francois Mitterrand (merci beaucoup) and SPD Helmut Schmidt stared down the Soviet threat in 1983. Leftist always do better street theater. That is what they are good at. The peace movement asked for a nuke weapon freeze and predicted a war. Millions took to the streets in Paris, London and New York. We got no freeze and there was no war. Instead of the freeze, we got actual reductions. Instead of a war we got the fall of communism. I took a lesson from that which I have never forgotten: you need to confront both peace activist and dictators. The former doesn’t know what they are talking about (Lenin called them useful idiots) and the latter use that ignorance to their advantage.

Posted by: Jack at February 7, 2007 12:47 PM
Comment #206958

Dave1-20-2009
Well said and well written!!! We’ve come up against each other in the past, but on Jack’s post you did a great job of presenting several excellent comments.

The trickle down theory is a great idea — it you’re talking about water. And are prepared to wait all the years it takes to create something worthwhile - say like the Grand Canyon. I’ve lost patience waiting for it to trickle down to me.

I honestly don’t know just where Reagan fit into the Iranian Affair. Could he truly not “recall” (early onset of Alzheimer) or was he lying?

I will have to admit that Reagan took some pretty pictures in front of the remnants of the Berlin Wall.

Posted by: Linda H. at February 7, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #206961

Thanks, Linda.

Jack said “Liberals were usually among the most hysterical. They made movies like the ‘Day After’ etc showing how terrible the future might be. They also predicted Reagan’s policies would bring about that terrible day.”

“Predicted” or “warned” Jack?

Of course it was perilous times but I’ve been long convinced there would never be a nuclear war between large nation-states unless some cowboy was in charge.

Reagan increased our debt dramatically and brought the nuclear clock to 11:57. (W’s managed to move it forwards 4 minutes to 11:55 BTW) A very dangerous game Ronnie played, withdrawing from arms control. Yet I wonder, how would it have played out without dissent and public opposition? Would gorbie have been so willing to glasnost if we were as dogmatic as we’ve let W make us seem, or would they have had real cause to strike out?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 7, 2007 1:24 PM
Comment #206968


Peace activists are idiots and warmongers are highly intelligent national heros. What a wonderful World we live in.

Posted by: jlw at February 7, 2007 2:29 PM
Comment #206969

Reagan would have loved w. He’s the one that saved him (reagan) from being the worst president since the start of the 20th century.
If you are a middle class taxpayer, income $40,000 to say $100,000, when you pay your taxes, blame several hundred dollars of that bill on reagen. every year in the past, and it’s looking like every year in the future. Under the “leadership” of his administration 2.6 trillion dollars (that’s 1980’s dollars) were added to the national debt. With interest added and rolled over that amount has just about doubled. Question: what is the annual amount of interest due on a 4 trillion dollar debt @ %4 interest. When you get the answer to that then you have the answer to the question “what is the legacy of ronald reagan?”.

Here’s another trivia question: what is the name of the commander and chief who had the most troops die in their sleep in a war zone while being guarded by marines with no bullets in their guns?

Posted by: charles Ross at February 7, 2007 2:29 PM
Comment #206976

Linda H

When Reagan stood in front of it and called for the wall to come down, it was not a remnant. People would still be killed if they tried to cross into freedom. Let us not forget that.

Dave

With all due respect, you just provide an example of hysteria. Reagan brought the doomsday clock forward. By what criteria? Only a hysteric would do that. Reagan provided the first effective reduction in the nuclear threat. And what Lenin would have called those who could not understand that still goes. I remember the hysteria of the 1980s very well. Your other statement illustrates that. “Of course it was perilous times but I’ve been long convinced there would never be a nuclear war between large nation-states unless some cowboy was in charge.” Who would that cowboy be? It could not be the man under whose leadership nuclear disarmament began, could it?

jlw
The opposite of a peace activist is not a war monger. A realistic assessment of strength and weakness is what prevents wars and maintains a prosperous peace. I am convinced that if we had done the nuclear freeze in 1983 and had not credibly threatened to deploy missiles in Europe to counter the Soviet ones, NATO might have come apart and the emboldened Soviets would never even had a place for a reformer like Gorbochev.

Neville Chamberlain’s strategy was not so smart. The heavily Soviet infiltrated peace movement of the 1980s was a combination of useful idiots and cynical operatives. Many good people went along, but it was leading to something they would not have wanted.
Charles

The Reagan reforms were 25 years ago. How did those last 25 years work out? I must have missed the great depression and the world war that resulted.


Posted by: Jack at February 7, 2007 3:00 PM
Comment #206977

Jack,
I was speaking after the fact, not before it. Actually I don’t even know for sure if Reagan had any pictures taken after the wall came down, so you may be right.

Posted by: Linda H. at February 7, 2007 3:04 PM
Comment #206983

Well, let’s see, in the last twenty-five years, the national debt has gone from one trillion to over eight trillion, we have not had a single year of trade surplus in those years, (in the clinton years, the gap was at least narrowed) and real income for the bottom eighty percent of americans has stagnated.
You know, Jack, i lived in the years prior to 1980, a full thirty of them. I remember clearly what things cost and what a blue collar worker could earn, what it was like to have job security and health insurance that actually paid the bill when i needed it. I was one of those blue collar workers.
I don’t guess, or suspect, or think, or have an opinion that things have gotten worse for this bottom 80% since reagan; I have lived in both worlds and I know it to be fact.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 7, 2007 3:24 PM
Comment #206986

I started to work in the 1970s. Maybe you were better off back then when we experience twice the unemployment, four times the inflation & half the economic growth. The rust belt term developed in 1971. I remember lots of plant closings. Didn’t NYC go nearly bankrupt in those days? I do not recall everyone being all that happy with those things, but I guess some of those not among the 10+% unemployed had decent health care.

Posted by: Jack at February 7, 2007 3:38 PM
Comment #207096

Posted by: Jack at February 7, 2007 03:00 PM

With all due respect, you just provide an example of hysteria. Reagan brought the doomsday clock forward. By what criteria? Only a hysteric would do that.

This criteria

Reagan provided the first effective reduction in the nuclear threat.
SALT and the ABM may or may not have been effective, but they were first. And it was Reagan and SDI that ignored those treaties

And what Lenin would have called those who could not understand that still goes. I remember the hysteria of the 1980s very well.

You may remember “hysteria” but choosing to ignore the lessons of history is a greater fault than not understanding them, either as a peasant or an aristocrat

Your other statement illustrates that. “Of course it was perilous times but I’ve been long convinced there would never be a nuclear war between large nation-states unless some cowboy was in charge.‎ Who would that cowboy be? It could not be the man under whose leadership nuclear disarmament began, could it?
Todays cowboy is Bush. To give Ronnie full credit for disarmament is simply mistaken. At least Reagan didn’t start a war. Oh, wait…He did! Well, at least we won that one, unless you count Lebanon

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 7, 2007 8:42 PM
Comment #207112

I have a good ronald reagan joke.

reagan attended the 40th anniversary of d-day, June 6th, 1944. He actually went to Omaha Beach to participate in the ceremony. Ok, the joke goes like this:

Reagan:” I remember this day well. we landed about here on the beach, crawled our way across the beach to the base of the cliff”
(at this point an aide is tugging at his sleeve, whispering “sir, sir”
Reagan continues: “at the base of the cliff we started climbing upward, the machine gun fire was heavy . . . “
finally the aide gets his attention and an irritated reagan asks:

“WHAT?”

“Sir, you were never actually here in 1944”

“Where was I?”

“You were in hollywood making movies”

Reagan stares into space for a second, turns his back on the aide and continues his reminisces.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 7, 2007 10:21 PM
Comment #207114

I have a good ronald reagan joke.

reagan attended the 40th anniversary of d-day, June 6th, 1944. He actually went to Omaha Beach to participate in the ceremony. Ok, the joke goes like this:

Reagan:” I remember this day well. we landed about here on the beach, crawled our way across the beach to the base of the cliff”
(at this point an aide is tugging at his sleeve, whispering “sir, sir”
Reagan continues: “at the base of the cliff we started climbing upward, the machine gun fire was heavy . . . “
finally the aide gets his attention and an irritated reagan asks:

“WHAT?”

“Sir, you were never actually here in 1944”

“Where was I?”

“You were in hollywood making movies”

Reagan stares into space for a second, turns his back on the aide and continues his reminisces.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 7, 2007 10:22 PM
Comment #207123

Jack,

Sure there was “defeat those nasty Commies” thing, but personnally, I think UNOCAL and the pipeline was the defining issue. Funny how Mark Felt’s “Follow the Money” line keeps coming up in the world. Oil and Opium. Wasn’t there some Chinese thing long ago about these items? Funny how Colonialism hasn’t changed much.
I doubt the Afghani’s care if it’s the US or Soviets or Taliban Paks or Arab Al Qaeda that blows them up this week. I think AP has a true thought in his piece in the Blue Column.

Being from a long line of hilibilies in Kentucky, my folks jes’ don’t cotton to them fereigners. If you ain’t from across the holler, yer a fereigner Walk onto someone’s land as an outsider and your liable to get shot at. Mountains make good fighting and sniper land. Ask the Hatfields and McCoys.

Yawn. I wonder where justice , truth and the American way will save the day next.

Bill S. ,

They didn’t care much for the culture , the accomodations and terrain, either. Mostly just the pipeline. Those pesky Jihadists with US weapons and AWACS probably didn’t help things along. I want to move in tommorow, wanna be my roomie, Bill?

Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 10:43 PM
Comment #207126

David,

Jesse Jones and Roosevelt didn’t think bailing out corporations and forcing them to be run better, was bad for the country, neither do I. Jesse Jones was a developer in Houston before he ran FDR’s RFC. He was all about responsible credit. He forced management to move close to their businesses. He monitored their conduct. He forced or coerced guys like JP Morgan ( he actually used JP to get other investor’s since JP was cash poor) to invest in banks to quell the crumbling of credit. Not Paul Bremer’s, “let’s dump palette’s of money to make friends” in Iraq policy. That wasn’t what the Marshall Plan was, either.

Bailing out an Enron, which developed it’s business on “deregulation” AKA corporate written legislative favoritism and allowing the crooks to run both government and the store IS a bad Idea. The S&L mess was another “deregulation” debacle. If Republicans had some sound business men leading it, I might be convinced to vote Republican, but all I see is this phoney business is good, corporate welfare, political kickback group telling us how they are going to make things better while they rob us.

I invested in Chrysler, because they had good products and just hit a cashflow problem. It was smart of Carter to recognize that letting Chrysler fail would have hurt many people and benefitted few, but seeing sound management and being a businessman he made a correct decision, like he did in Iran with the hostages, unpopular as not playing to the “attack Iran masses” was. Gee, I miss that. It may have been some luck, but it was smart, too.

If there is a president that I respect more and more with the passage of time, it is him.

Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 11:13 PM
Comment #207128

Jack,
I can’t prove it. But the fact that James Baker made trips to meet with the Ayatollah’s group, the Iran Contra deal, and the timing of the hostage release, makes me to this day believe Reagan brokered a deal with the Ayatollah, prior to becoming President. To me, that was treasoness.

I do believe Reagan wrote many of his own words. I listened to him on Radio years before he became a candidate. His ideas were quaint, and inspired by Goldwater and his Ilk.

James Baker was the “genius” behind the throne. Reagan probably was a decent man, personally. Politcally, I think he was rather dull. He played the part….Well.:)


Posted by: gergle at February 7, 2007 11:31 PM
Comment #207164

Gergle

In 1992 ENRON was a small energy company. By 2001, it was a big firm ripping off consumers and workers. The executive (president) is the one who regulates these things. Do you recall to which party the president and his regulator belonged during the rise of ENRON? Nobody bailed out ENRON when it failed during the Bush time.

Re Iran - there was a lot written about that and a lot of research into it. All of it yielded nothing, not even a decent inuendo. The reason you cannot prove it is probably because there is nothing there to prove.

Posted by: Jack at February 8, 2007 9:59 AM
Comment #207198

Jack,

Hold on there, Hoss. Please read this and this link and then ask me again about who did what with Enron.

Posted by: gergle at February 8, 2007 1:33 PM
Comment #207201

Jack, Re: Iran. As much as I liked the song Synchronicity by the Police, I’ve never been a big believer. We’ve both been around too long to believe in fairy tales, even ones told by a nice grandfatherly figure.

Posted by: gergle at February 8, 2007 1:44 PM
Comment #207218

Gergle

Notice the dates. ENRON did not become a giant between January 22, 2001 and 2002. The problem grew when the Clinton folks were regulating. The thing just finished under Bush.

It is sort of like calling the guy who meets the girl for the first time a week before she delivers the baby the biological father. Things take time.

Posted by: Jack at February 8, 2007 6:13 PM
Comment #207265

Jack,

If you are saying Arthur Levitt (SEC), appointed by Clinton didn’t do his job, I completely agree.

But Enron is a Texas story. Ask your good ole boy Phil Gramm (R-Texas), Chairman of the Senate Banking committee, about the pressure he put on Levitt when he threatened in 1997 to change accounting rules. After Enron et al. these changes came a little late. Thanks to Phil and Company we also had MCI, and the other accounting frauds. Anyone heard from Phil, or his wife (an Enron board member)lately? He retired quietly as Enron started breaking. Maybe they are vacationing with Tom Delay in Scotland.

I forget who was the Governor of Texas at the time, do you remember?

The deal with FERC was an attempt to bail out Enron. But it wasn’t about a loan to be paid back. Remember when Enron started robbing California. They had a little cash flow problem at the time. Thanks, GW, they almost pulled that one off, but somehow people get suspicious and start looking more closely when robbery becomes so blantant.

For the Record, Fastow’s wheeling and dealing accounting magic began in 1997. Prior to that Enron was little more than a pipeline company. I don’t blame Bush for causing Enron’s failure, I just like looking at who funded the Republican juggernaut of the 90’s and 00’s

As to energy deregulation, it was a worldwide phenonmenon in the mid 90’s touted by the business elite’s. Clinton should have known better and resisted it, but then he wasn’t my hero to start with. I never saw morality as his strong suit. Perot warned us about that giant sucking sound (No not Monica, NAFTA). Thank goodness all those market effiency experts touting deregulation know what they are talking about. That worked out real well didn’t it?

Old Sam Houston and his land frauds woulda been proud. You do know why they call them sh** kickers don’t ya?

Posted by: gergle at February 9, 2007 12:12 AM
Comment #271897

carter was following cia brezinski’s lead on pulling support from the shah and offering it to the ayatollah . 1- the soviets were building nukes and armour like crazy , whereas jimmy wanted to unilaterally disarm and get islamist extremists (the taliban was brezinski’s idea , not reagan’s)to confront the soviet empire. besides, giving away our imperfect friends to our enemies without a struggle appeals to the degenerate parasites who were funded ($2 billion)by the kgb to protest the vietnam war .lbj didn’t help by offing jfk to become the prez , then drafting so many kids against their will .and so the soviets got the huge naval base in south vietnam and communists killed millions more in cambodia .admittedly the shah was rough against communist and islamist agitators /protesters .
but then he was just copying his fathers pal kemal attiturk ,turkey’s best leader .jimmy COULD have insisted on anticorruption measures from the shah , and made concilatory gestures on president mossadhek’s overthrow from two decades earlier, but NO, iran had to be sacrificed! just like he hinted to the soviets that america would not take any action should there be yet another soviet invasion-this time in afghanistan .
there isn’t a soul here that could have proven in the early ‘80 s that the soviets would soon crumble (although maybe brezinski might have known ,if he was in fact a soviet mole.)-did you know he now is a foreign policy advisor to obama?
complain if you want about reagan’s defence expenditures , his sdi was a clever ruse that the kremlin paranoids bought .the soviets have repayed the favour by turning the taliban against us when it wasn’t even us that had destroyed kabul!

Posted by: barry at December 12, 2008 5:08 PM
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