I read a lot of history and economic material, am inclined to
personally pursue "progressive" (whatever true currency any of
these terms can possess) politics/policies/programs. Yet I'm able
to defend Reagan's presidency, at least the first five years,
on at least two important grounds:
(1) Reagan and Gorbachev, due to their personal, FDR-style
openness, put an end to the Cold War. (-Nevermind that we STILL
spy on each other!) Major, more objective, historians say so,
and I recall that memorable Time magazine article describing how
they left their handlers except for two interpreters, later getting
their glasnost underway in the fall of 1987. Some significant
drop in spent monies on the arms race can only be a good thing,
unless you own a munitions factory.
(2) Most of the leftist punditry I've observed only focus
on the negative effects of Supply Side and other policy
deregulating businesses and corporations. But they miss
something extremely significant: Reagan gave the laissez faire
"purists" their chance, and they largely blew it, NOT hiring,
NOT plowing extra profits back into their companies, retrofitting,
Reagan, a former democrat turned republican, seems to sincerely
have believed the U.S. business community would step up
VOLUNTARILY, (a la Herb Hoover); he successfully pushed
through his deregulatory agenda....including tax breaks for
factory owners to improve and expand their business; this was
called the 10-5-3, few took advantage of it. I think Bob Dole
angrily commented about that, and had this special tax incentive
Since 1900, TWO U.S. presidents gave business interests their
untrammeled way during economic contractions,which policy
resoundingly failed for all but the wealthiest, most self-obsessed
opportunists. (If you count Bush II, perhaps THREE.)
It isn't logically or rationally possible to dispute a philosophy
for most people to understand its flaws UNLESS it is actually
TRIED. So, listen up, super conservative republicans:
It has BEEN tried; IT HAS FAILED EACH TIME.
The true significance of Reaganomics: the greedy had the
opportunity to prove voluntary compliance for the common
good can work....but they didn't take it.
Bring on regulatory reform.
Just not a true nanny state.