American Fundamentalists
(Christ's Entry into Washington in 2008)
by Joel Pelletier
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Politicos: Ronald & Nancy Reagan

"Ronald Reagan lacked the knowledge he should have had in every sphere both democratic and international. Most of the time he was an actor reading lines who didn't understand his own programs. I hate to say this about such an agreeable man but it was sinful that Ronald Reagan ever became president... I've known every president since Harry Truman and ther's no question in my mind that Ronald Reagan was the worst." (Tip O'Neill, not living long enough to experience GW Bush, from his memoir 'Man of the House')

A chilling meanness lurked at the core of Reagan's political agenda (always effectively concealed by the affability), and he used this meanness like a razor blade to advance his main purpose--delegitimizing the federal government. Wealthy individuals, corporate and financial interests got extraordinary benefits (tax reductions and deregulation) while the bottom half got whacked whenever an opportunity arose. His original proposition--cut taxes regressively, double military spending, shrink government and balance the federal budget--looked cockeyed from the start. Yet when the logic self-destructed in practice, conservatives were remarkably content, since they had delivered the boodle to the right clients. (The Nation editors, 12 June 2004)

...the only folks who got truly liberated by Reaganomics were the same people who had financed his rise in politics, the Daddy Warbucks moguls from California and corporate behemoths like General Electric. Reagan's theory was really "trickle down" economics borrowed from the Republican 1920s (Harding-Coolidge-Hoover) and renamed "supply side." Cut tax rates for the wealthy; everyone else will benefit. As Reagan's budget director David Stockman confided to me at the time, the supply-side rhetoric "was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate." (The Gipper's Economy by William Greider, The Nation, June 2004)


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2004 Joel Pelletier, joelp.com, email: joelp@joelp.com, web design: the Way Home media
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