I fucking hate Ronald Reagan.

Always have. 

While Jimmy Carter told us we had to be responsible and tighten our energy belts, Reagan told us to act like a bunch of spendthrift oil drunks and listen to the call of our inner gas pigs.  He made a fetish of deregulation, hated government and wasn’t a particularly popular president at the time he left office.  But because much of the beltway punditocracy and neocon foreign policy pimps who dominate our foreign policy discourse came of age under Reagan, a sickening hagiography has arisen around his memory in recent years.

I was googling around to see if anyone was quite rightly placing the blame for this current disaster on the shoulders of Reagan and I found this, which I liked a lot:

Deregulation was never about loosening the grip of the powerful on the poor. Deregulation is the opposite. The deregulation crowd got a huge boost from R. Reagan. He deregulated everything he could get his hands on. Reagan left office before the shit hit the fan and after a prolonged period of growth fueled by borrowed money. The National Debt skyrocketed. Low taxes and high spending tends to do that. The collapse of the savings and loan industry happened later, on another President’s watch. We, the little people ate the bill for that. Neil Bush was bailed out. Reagan was never held to account.

This time it is Banks going down. Maybe not enough of them. Hamburger joints and Banks are on every other corner now. Deregulation of the home loan business is going to cost us big time. We made a paper profit for a time too. That was fun. Now we pay. Not just the government bail outs, your home value will suffer, unemployment will go through the floor and commerce in general will slow. Will it lead to a full recession or a full depression? I don’t know but it will get ugly. Nothing is more at fault for this crisis than is deregulation. The right wing claims the blame lies with the homeowners so stupid they took out loans they couldn’t afford. Well yeah, but that is what all the forms are about, I thought. Proof of employment, bank statements, home appraisals and tax returns for the past few years are to protect banks from getting burned. Some fortunes were made.

Don’t accuse me of being too simplistic, other factors are at work here too and I know about them, somewhat. I’m claiming that deregulation, in general has been wrong for our economy in the long term and has been politically driven. Nothing more.

Ancillary effects of deregulation include declining value of the dollar, rising gas prices, rising health care costs and a monstrous National debt. All of this while real wages have declined. I just know someone is going to come up with some statistic that says I’m wrong and I am; if we include salaries of over $1/2 million. Those have gone up and up and up. Offsetting any gains we have on average though, made by working two or three jobs, is the price of fuel, milk, cereal and a health insurance policy. More people are working more jobs, often 2 or 3 jobs just to get by. AS Bush said "that is so American".

Not from our elite media, just Some Guy With A Blog.

I am confident that if Ronald Reagan ever gets the blame he deserves for irresponsibly riding a wave of selfishness, shortsightedness and greed into power, it will have to come from the bottom up. Because the crock that is the Reagan myth may elude the great thinkers who got us into this mess, but it’s increasingly obvious to ordinary people.

(PS stay healthy, Pat.)

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
Subscribe in a reader

22 Comments