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Author: Pituophis Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 90263  
Subject: The Reagan Myth Date: 6/6/2004 11:54 AM
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My wife and I drove down the 60 miles of 4WD beach to the south of end of North Padre Island Friday afternoon and camped there that night. Before I set up the tent, I thought I would wade out into the surf and cast a crank bait a few times. On the third cast with the relatively light tackle something latched onto me and thirty minutes later I finally dragged a 30 inch Jack Cravelle up on the beach. The next day at daylight I tried the same thing and again hooked something that made my drag sing, but after about 10 minutes it broke off one of the hooks on the mirrorlure. The rest of the day we mainly sat under our shade and watched the rods baited with shrimp - we caught a bunch of whiting, another small Jack Cravelle and a huge ladyfish, which are fun to catch but no good to eat.

Anyway, got back this morning and since most news outlets have decided to ignore the Iraq body count and the Bush lawyering-up stories, the only news seems to be that Reagan had died. And embedded in most of those stories are the revised history of the Reagan years - tales of Reagan leading the U.S. to economic properity, of Reagan ending the cold war, of Reagan, the Great Communicator. A whole media industry, of Limbaughs and Liddy's and Fox News grew up around the need to revise history to protect Reagan's legacy. To Reagan the man: Rest in Peace...but I am once again prompted to eject some facts into the whirlwind of BS surrounding Reagan the politician:

A couple of years ago, prompted by some statements by Mish, which indicated that even he had (to stay with the theme <g>) swallowed some Reagan myths hook line and sinker, I wrote a long treatise called "The Reagan Myth." I always thought that I would do a "The Reagan Myth - Part Deux", but I've been posting less and less and something like that takes a lot of time, so I never got around to it and now I doubt that I ever will.

In summary, Reagan's major legacy is the U.S. debt which will probably eventually be the U.S. demise. Reagan and Bush the Elder increased the debt from a potentially managable $800 billion to a mind-boggling $4.5 trillion. Because the U.S. economy has not collapsed under the weight of that debt YET, shortsighted supply-siders like Dick Cheney have adopted the view that "deficits don't matter". Perhaps what megalomaniacs like Cheney mean by that is that deficits don't appear to matter to their re-election hopes, at least as long as they have a co-perpetrator like Greenspan to keep the printing presses humming and the pyramid scheme alive for a couple of more years - our children be damned.

Reagan also gave us a great real-estate crash down here in Texas coupled with a Savings and Loan collapse and subsequent $50 billion bailout.

The revisionist trumpet job creation under Reagan though the data tell us that job "creation" under Reagan paled in comparison that under Carter or Clinton.

Reagan's policies marked the beginning of a huge shift, redistribution if you will, of wealth from one the lower and middle classes to the upper class - much of the "growth" as measured by GDP was merely the flow of money from the U.S. treasury to the pockets of the ultra rich. And while the ultra rich, with their board chairmanships and insider info probably managed to hold on to that wealth, J6P probably gave most of his back during the real-estate crash and then the stock market crash of 1987. Someone who invested in the S&P 500 at the to of the 1987 market, finally got back to even in December of 1991. Of course, by then J6P had taken his loss.

Reagan reduced social programs, particularly services to the mentally ill and you might remember that Reagan's years were marked by a huge numbers of mentally ill people wandering the streets of our major urban areas. Reagan thought that AIDS was a "homosexual disease" and thus refused to even recognize the problem - hundreds of thousands died needlessly because Reagan refused federal assistance for AIDS research.
Reagan clearly committed impeachable acts when he authorized buying arms from the terrorist in Iran and sending them to the terrorist in Nicaraqua. Reagan may have been saved by his Alzheimer's even then as he was "unable to remember" on 130 occassions during the Iran/Contra investigation.

The U.S. had already installed Saddam Hussein in Iraq before Reagan's arrival, but Reagan armed Saddam to the teeth, including supplying him with chemical weapons and overseeing his use of them against the Iranians and the Kurds. Reagan urged Saddam to instigate the Iran/Iraq war which killed a couple of million people.

For all of that, I agree with JimPiccard who said that many of the catastrophic policies instituted under Bush might not have occurred under Reagan but one wonders how much Reagan would have "compromised" if he controlled all three branches of government. There are several Presidents I might rank above Reagan on the "worst of" list - of course, Bush is easily the worst President in the history of the U.S. Still, the Reagan Debt hangs over the U.S. like cloud of radioactive dust and depending on how this all plays out, could one day prompt historians to place Reagan near the top of that list.

Anyway, in the original post, I presented a lot of data to support these facts and I'm not going to repeat it all again now but if you haven't read it, you might want to check it out:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=18347223
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