Posts Tagged ‘Eisenhower’



June 11, 2009


A few days ago, I heard a fellow musician say, “Musicians and actors should stick to what they do best and not mess with politics.” I reminded him that we had an actor become president in 1981. His response was, “Yeah, but he was the good one!”

I get it.

Musicians, actors (and various other celebrities) should not engage in areas beyond their field, such as politics, except for the GOOD one. 🙂

As I’ve said before, I cherish good relations with family and friends, so I did not pursue a dialogue. Trying to reason with justification is an exercise in futility.

Now that we’re coming up on the 100 year anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth and the full year of celebration that is said to be coming in 2010, I think it’s time to bring the myth that Reagan was a great president to a screeching halt, before the Ronald Reagan Legacy Foundation (his son’s organization) petitions to have his image carved into Mount Rushmore.  

First of all, Reagan wasn’t that nice a guy. Watch how he handled this heckler.

I don’t expect all publicly elected officials to be nice people. More often than not, they aren’t. Nothing revealed that more than the hate that spewed from so many elected officials during last year’s Presidential election. I do however, expect decency shown to the people they are seeking to represent, even if those people are not in agreement with them. Having to politely deal with hecklers in a crowd comes with the territory.

Reagan’s gift for communicating certainly kept most people from digging too deep into his personal beliefs (me included) and the policies that ultimately set the stage for much of the pain that is being felt by a great majority of the American people today.

In a single sentence, Reagan revealed his intentions and subsequent legislative agenda. “Government is not the solution to our problem – government is the problem.” Many of us didn’t pay nearly enough attention to those words.

Ironically, government GREW exponentially during the Reagan years. The growth was in what Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in his farewell address – The Military Industrial Complex.

Although we were told that the tax cuts for the wealthy would “trickle-down” to the middle class, we never saw the major job growth that was promised. Only military-related jobs increased – funded by the very government Reagan said was the problem.

Whether intentional or not (a debate for another time), the combination of these two events seriously crippled our government’s ability to provide critical infrastructure and services for its citizens.

From his desire to de-unionize American industries…

to de-regulating the banking industry with disastrous results, Reagan, the Republicans and not a few Democrats in congress put this country on a path to huge deficits. This resulted in reduced revenues for important programs that are the safety-net for our elderly and our poor and started affecting incomes for the middle and lower middle class wage earners in our country. It also greatly reduced the funding for public education, a legacy that started back in California, where as Governor, Reagan did his best to derail the public education system.

The push for less regulation on businesses greatly increased corporate profits and stock prices thereby rewarding only those at the very top of the corporate ladder, with nothing “trickling down” to the workers they managed. Personal debt grew dramatically while personal savings fell. George H.W. Bush had it right. He called it “Voodoo Economics” when he campaigned against Reagan in the 1980 primaries. Sadly, after being tapped for VP, he said no more about Reagan’s economic policies and continued them in his own administration.

Then there was the Iran-Contra Affair.

Reagan was popular, but he was not a great president.