"What saves a man is to take a step.
Then another step." ~ C. S. Lewis
He would have been 99 today.
Sad to say, but Reagan would not be welcomed in his own party today.Reagan supported the Brady Bill, a gun control law named after his first press secretary. Reagan signed a law giving illegal immigrants a form of amnesty. Both are considered political blasphemy by his party today.But most of all Reagan believed in political civility and compromise. Reagan worked with Democrats, something current Republicans are not able to do, much to the detriment of our country.But Reagan left the country, and especially his party, one lasting negative legacy: monstrous deficits. The Reagan myth does not match reality. Reagan started the country on this pathway where people demand tax cuts, don't want spending cuts when you get specific, and somehow expect a balanced budget. On budget matters, Reagan was no fiscal hero.
It will have to "hurt" now and cut programs people unfortunately depend on, just to balance the budget (forget the debt). I seriously don't know if anyone in Washington has the cajones and political prowess to actually do this in a non-booming economy. Everyone seems more interested in waiting for a boom (free tax income burst) that may never come.Reagan outspent Russia and put them under (so goes the story as I've understood it)... that put us in debt. But that's a far cry from spending us under the bus by implementing social programs - which is where Bush seems to have further pushed us (and Obama is simply making worse).Tax cuts are fine, with spending cuts added to the budget. One without the other is hard to do outside of a booming economy.I was young, but my memory of Reagan was that he spoke his mind - fluidly. That is something we don't get a lot of in politics anymore.We need to elect some good economists to high office posts!
Regarding Reagan's spending, it wasn't only outspending the USSR on weapons...tax cuts also blew a hole in our budget. He promised the Laffer curve would work and it did not. Also, Reagan's budgets still had increases for social programs...not that all social program are bad.Also, Bush's deficits were not just caused by his social program spending but by the Iraq war, which has been a huge drain. The problem as Clint alludes to is that no one wants to face reality and decide the hard tradeoffs between spending and taxes. Republicans pretend they can cut taxes, spend more on the military, not really cut other programs, and somehow be fiscal conservatives. Unfortunately, that legacy began under Reagan.
One more item on Reagan: unlike today's Republicans, Reagan spoke out forcefully against the use of torture, and signed a major anti-torture treaty.The current version of the Republican party is very far from Reagan.
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