The Dangerous Reagan Cult
August 16, 2011
Ronald Reagan’s anti-government philosophy inspires Tea Party extremists to oppose any revenue increase, even from closing loopholes for corporate jets. For their part, Democrats try the spin that “even Reagan” showed flexibility on debt and taxes. But Robert Parry says it is the “Reagan cult” that is at the heart of America’s crisis.
By Robert Parry
In the debt-ceiling debate, both Republicans and Democrats wanted Ronald Reagan on their side. Republicans embraced the 40th president’s disdain for government and fondness for tax cuts, while Democrats noted that “even Reagan” raised the debt limit many times and accepted some tax increases.
But Reagan – possibly more than any political leader – deserves the blame for the economic/political mess that the United States now finds itself in. He was the patriarch for virtually every major miscalculation that the country has made over the past three decades.
It was Reagan who slashed taxes on the rich to roughly their current level; he opened the flood gates on deficit spending; he accelerated the decline of the middle class by busting unions and slashing support for local communities; he disparaged the value of government regulations; he squandered money on the Pentagon; he pushed more militaristic strategies abroad; and he rejected any thoughtful criticism of past U.S. foreign policies.