Posted by: danielfee | July 2, 2011

The Real Legacy of Ronald Reagan

     As the myth goes for those on the ideological right, “Ronald Reagan was the greatest American President of all time”. If not the greatest, then maybe a close second to Washington or Lincoln. But the actual history of Reagan’s presidency is not even close to the mythological version that has been created since he left office. In fact, many of today’s problems such as the huge national debt, deficit financing, outsourcing of American jobs, the housing bubble and economic collapse of 2007 can all be traced back to their beginnings during the Reagan era. In 1996, a survey of 719 historians and political scientists ranked Reagan at 26 out of 41 presidents.

    How could the great hero of the conservative movement be ranked as just a mediocre president? This did not sit well with the conservative movement, and to remedy this The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project was hatched in the spring of 1997 and rolled out that fall. The mythological Reagan was created by the conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation and Americans for Tax Reform, the group lead by Grover Norquist. The two foundational principals of the Reagan myth were laid out in a series of short essays from these leaders in the conservative movement. They were that Reagan deserved most, if not all, of the credit for winning the cold war as demonstrated by the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and that the economic boom of the late 1990’s was a direct result of Reagan’s economic policies that were implemented in the early 1980’s. The myth building project was initiated with a proposal to rename National Airport after Reagan, which drew very little interest for the first few months. But with an aggressive lobbying effort by Norquist, who told the Baltimore Sun, “He deserves a monument like the Jefferson or the FDR or the Colossus at Rhodes! National Airport is a good place to start.” That was just the beginning. Conservative groups all over the country started renaming public facilities after Reagan, and following the lead of Norquist and the Heritage Foundation, repeating the two basic tenants of the Reagan myth, that he won the cold war and his economic policies have brought us the great economic prosperity in the late 1990’s. From there the myth has continued to grow into other areas to support the ideology and policies of today’s conservatives, who are much further to the political right of the real Ronald Reagan.

    The real Reagan withdrew US troops from Lebanon after the bombing of the the U.S. Marine compound in Beirut, which todays conservatives would call “cutting and running.” He signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which legalized approximately 2.7 million undocumented workers, which todays conservatives would call “giving amnesty to illegals”. He negotiated with the Soviet Union to eliminate all nuclear weapons, which todays conservatives would call “weakening America’s defenses”. He signed into law an Abortion Rights Law as governor of California; todays conservatives would call him a “baby killer,” and he traded arms for hostages in the Iran-Contra scandal, which todays conservatives would call “negotiating with terrorists.” But these and other actual policies and actions taken by the real Ronald Reagan don’t fit into the mythological version of Reagan, so they are ignored or outright dismissed.

    But the two most enduring aspects of the real Reagan legacy are his economic policies and how he changed the attitude of the American people towards their government. While Reagan portrayed a sunny optimism about America and its future, his underlying message was very cynical. In two of his most famous quotes he said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” and “Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.” So the government of the people, by the people, for the people, was according to Reagan “the problem”, therefore one must conclude that he believed the people were the problem. But if the people are the problem, who’s problem are they? To answer this question we need to look back at his real record as president, and see who was the beneficiary of the Reagan policies.

    It is now 30 years later and we have the benefit of looking back at the actual statistics that have resulted from the implementation of the Reagan economic philosophy and policies of governing. The attitude of the American people today is deeply rooted in cynicism and mistrust of the government at all levels. The conservative mantra of, “we want a smaller less intrusive government”, is a direct reflection of this cynical attitude that government is the problem, therefore we should reduce or eliminate the problem by reducing or eliminating the government. It is only logical, right? But there is something very insidious about the people who proclaim that government is the problem and then go into the government to prove that their proclamations are true. It is a self fulfilling prophesy. To prove this philosophy, many of the Reagan appointments to key federal positions and agency heads were industry insiders, many of whom where the most anti-government people in their respective industries. They were given a clear mission to reduce regulations, slash regulatory budgets and to weed out the most aggressive and effective government staffers. The most widely known and maybe the most damaging of these appointments was Alan Greenspan as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. We are seeing a repeat of this philosophy today in the first few months of the Republican controlled house and their proposed budget cuts to regulatory oversight agencies like the EPA, SEC and CFTC, to name a few. Of course this is packaged today and sold to the American people as a continuation of the implementation of the policies of Ronald Reagan. This is partially true because, like Reagan, they are attempting to undermine the effectiveness of government and the regulatory agencies, but the claim they are following Reagan in reducing the deficit is part of the mythological version of Reagan that is being sold.

    We are told we must reduce government spending, reduce taxes to stimulate the economy and create jobs, reduce regulations to free up business, all so the economy can expand again, just like under Reagan. In reality Reagan might have said “lower spending” in his speeches, but in real dollars the federal spending grew at 2.5% per year under Reagan. In 1981, Reagan did reduce taxes by signing into law the Economic Recovery Act of 1981. However, this is where the mythological version of Reagan ends, and the numerous tax increases that followed in 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1986 are always left out of the Reagan story. What really happened with the Reagan tax cut and subsequent increases was a profound shift in the tax burden from the top income earners and corporations to the middle class and poor. Also left out of the mythological version of Reagan is the fact that he increased the national debt by the largest percentage of any president, with the exception of FDR’s spending during the Great Depression and World War II. Table 1 below shows the increase the total national debt by president during their budget years. When Reagan entered office, the national debt was below $1 trillion dollars. By the end of his eight budget years it had almost tripled, showing a 186% increase. Even George W. Bush, with his two big tax cuts and spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, that were all done off the books, resulted in an increase of the national debt by $6.1 trillion dollars, which only increased the total debt by 105.1%. Bush only doubled the national debt, where Reagan tripled it.

    Reagan taught the country how to spend beyond its means, by just putting his excess spending on the national credit card. This is when I first began calling him the “plastic president”. It was a lesson that Americans learned very well, to spend now and worry about the debt later. As Dick Cheney said at the beginning of the Bush administration, “Reagan taught us that deficits don’t matter”. Since the 1980’s America went from the biggest creditor nation, which it had been since 1914, to the biggest debtor nation in the world. In addition, the American consumer went on a spending binge over the past 30 years, following the lead of the federal government. Since the early 1980’s, consumer spending has risen on average about a half percent faster than after-tax income per year. The savings rate of the American consumer fell from 12% in the early 1980’s to 1% before the economic collapse in 2008. When the savings ran out the consumer went on a borrowing binge, taking on massive amounts of new debt to fuel the continued spending. Because as we all learned in the new era of Reaganomics, todays deficit spending doesn’t matter because we will cut more taxes and grow our way out of the deficit problem, at least that is how the sales pitch went, “cut and grow”. The echo of this this sales pitch can be heard today in the Republicans 2012 budget proposal, put forth by Paul Ryan. Reagan had unleashed the great American debt bubble.

Table 1

Historical National Debt

President   Debt @ End of     Debt @ Start of    Total Increase %Increase                            

               Last Budget Year    First Budget Year                                                    

Bush, GW $11,909,829,003,511    $5,807,463,412,200   $6,102,365,591,311    105.1%

Clinton     $ 5,807,463,412,200    $4,411,488,883,139    $1,395,974,529,060    31.6%

Bush,GHW $ 4,411,488,883,139    $2,857,430,960,187   $1,554,057,922,952    54.4%

Reagan    $ 2,857,430,960,187     $ 997,855,000,000   $1,859,575,960,187    186.4%

Carter        $ 997,855,000,000     $ 689,840,000,000     $ 299,015,000,000      42.8%

Nixon/Ford $ 689,840,000,000     $ 353,720,253,841    $ 345,119,746,158      97.6%

Johnson      $ 353,720,253,841    $ 305,859,632,996    $ 47,860,620,845     15.6%

Kennedy     $ 305,859,632,996    $ 288,970,938,610    $ 16,888,694,386        5.8%

Eisenhower  $ 288,970,938,610    $ 266,071,061,638    $ 22,899,876,971       8.6%

Truman       $ 266,071,061,638    $ 258,682,187,409     $ 7,388,874,228        2.9%

FDR           $ 258, 682,187,409      $ 22,538,672,560     $ 236,143,514,849   1047.7%

All Others     $ 22,538,672,560         $ 75,643,476         $  22,463,209,083         –


    In 1984 the total credit market debt as a share of GDP was approximately 130%, where it had been since 1952, give or take a few percentage points either way. By 2000 it had grown to 269% and by 2006 it was up to 335% of GDP. In real numbers, the debt went from $10.5 trillion in 1987 at the start of Alan Greenspan’s tenure at the Fed to $43 trillion when he left in 2006; a quadrupling in less than 20 years. The largest increase in debt to GDP occurred in the financial sector, which went from about 22% in 1982 to 130% in 2006, followed by household debt that went from about 50% to 95%. Non-financial corporate debt actually decreased from 40% to about 28%. State and local government debt stayed relatively flat going from approximately 15% to 18%. The Federal government debt was a little of a roller coaster. It increased from around 25% in 1982 to 50% in 1992, then dipped to 35% in 2002 before climbing to 55% by 2006.

    The 1980’s is also the decade where debt and the financial services sector began to explode and dominate the economy. The financialization of America had begun. In 1970, manufacturing accounted for 23.8 % of GDP and close to 50% of all US corporation profits. The financial services sector accounted for 14.0% of GDP in 1970 and close to 20% of US corporate profits. By 2004 there was a reversal with manufacturing dropping to only 12.0% of GDP and financial services increasing to 20.4%. The percentage of US corporate profits for manufacturers dropped to around 5% while financial services rose close to 45%. During the decade of the 1980’s alone, America had lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs and that number continued to grow after Reagan left office. A corresponding decline in union membership occurred, falling from around 25% of the labor force to just 10% by 2009. America had turned from a country with good paying wages that made things and exported them around the world with a positive balance of trade and being the biggest creditor in the world, to a country with stagnate wages that makes very little and became the worlds largest importer with the biggest negative trade balance and the largest debtor nation in the world, all in a 20 to 25 year period. What a turn around! How did this happen? It happened through a series of changes in the tax laws and deregulation of financial service industries that occurred mostly beginning in the 1980’s and continued through the early 2000’s.

    Prior to 1980, obtaining a mortgage required a large down payment of 20% and the borrower total debt to income ratio was limited to around 35%. Most of these loans where backed by one of the GSE, Fannie or Freddie, and were considered very safe loans. In fact, securutization of mortgages first began with these GSE (Government Sponsored Enterprises) backed mortgages. But in 1980, the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act was passed. It abolished the state usury caps which limited how much interest could be charged on first mortgages. It also eliminated the distinction between loans to buy a house (first mortgages) and home equity loans (second mortgages). This was part of the initial groundwork for the sub-prime meltdown which would come in 2007. In 1982, the Alternative Mortgage Transaction Parity Act (AMTPA) was passed, which for the first time made it legal for lenders to offer more creative mortgages including adjustable rate mortgages (ARM’s) and ARM’s with balloon payments. It also pre-empted state laws which prevented these types of loans and prevented prepayment penalties from being charged. Why would anyone have an objection to a loan being paid back early and why should a borrower have to pay a penalty for doing so? But the AMTPA gave the banks the right to do this and prevented states from prohibiting it. AMTPA eventually led to even more exotic loans such as “interest only”, “payment option adjustable rate agreements”, “piggyback loans” and “negative amortization mortgages”. Another piece of the foundation for the sub-prime mortgage meltdown was now in place.

    The initial purpose of these two new laws was to assist the savings and loan industry. But in addition to the S&L, who now had the new freedoms that this deregulation brought them to begin making more risky loans to people who previously would not qualify, it also allowed for another group to move into this market – the hard money lenders, or as I like to call them, legalized loan sharks. This was the beginning of the subprime mortgage market, and by June 1988 the first sub-prime mortgage backed security was sold by Prudential on behalf of Guardian Savings & Loan, who’s founders had moved from hard money lending into the S&L business after the regulatory changes where adopted. While securitization of prime mortgages began in the 1970’s with mortgages backed by the GSE’s, it took another regulatory change before Wall Street could get into the securitization game. In 1984, Reagan signed the Secondary Mortgage Market Enhancement Act (SMMEA) which was designed to put Wall Street on an equal footing with the GSE’s. It was Lewis Ranieri at Salomon Brothers who invented the process of “securitization” in the 1970’s and, with the assistance of the CEO of Fannie Mae, began securitizing prime mortgages held by the GSE’s. Ranieri also helped draft the SMMEA and was with Reagan when it was signed into law. SMMEA exempted mortgage backed securities, the secondary mortgage market, from state blue sky laws which restricted the issue of new financial products. It also removed the restrictions against institutional investors, like pension funds, insurance companies and state chartered financial institutions from investing in mortgage backed securities issued by Wall Street, even if they did not have the GSE guarantee. It also put in place the requirement that the mortgage bonds had to be highly rated by the credit rating agencies, in order to sell them to these low risk investors. Thus providing them with the cover they would need in the future as these mortgage backed bonds were sold all over the world. This was critical to the later explosion in the sub-prime CDO (collateralized debt obligations) market. Another key piece of the foundation was now in place and it was touted by the Reagan Treasury Department in testimony before Congress that this should be “viewed as the first step in the privatization of the secondary mortgage market.” In retrospect, he was correct. The privatization had began, but there was a potential problem with double taxation under the current IRS rules in place at that time, before the market could take off. So, in the 1986 Tax Reform Act, a provision was included that solved this problem. It was known as the real estate mortgage investment conduit (REMIC) which is how deals that carved mortgage backed securities into tranches began. The law created a straight forward process for issuing multi-class securities without creating a double taxation problem. It allowed the REMIC to pass through the tranched mortgages without ever taking ownership and without creating a taxable event. After the sub-prime market implosion in 2007, the REMIC reappeared during the foreclosure crisis. As defaults mounted and “loan servicers” began to foreclose on delinquent borrowers, the issue of who owns the mortgage and who has the legal authority to file foreclosure suits started being challenged in court. These “loan servicers” were the REMIC created under the 1986 law. They were able to pass the mortgage tranches through to the investors who bought the securitized mortgages without the double taxation because the REMIC never actually took an ownership interest in the mortgage, therefore a taxable event did not occur. But now that the defaulting loans were sliced up into hundreds or thousand of pieces, who has the legal authority to bring the foreclosure act against the borrower? The loan servicers, REMIC’s, began the process and hired robo signers to forge affidavits to fill in the gaps of the missing paperwork from when the loans were created. But that doesn’t solve legality issues or alternatively it creates a taxable event, if the REMIC’s are legally permitted to file the foreclosure suits. This issue has yet to be sorted out.

    By 1986, the pieces were all in place to a create sub-prime crisis that nearly brought down the US and world economies in 2008. Wall Street now had the ability to securitize any type of loan, credit cards, auto, home equity loans and first mortgages. They no longer need the GSE’s because the regulatory changes created an influx of new lenders that created what Wall Street was missing, mortgage products that they could securitize without Fannie and Freddie. But even before the sub-prime market implosion of 2008, there was another major implosion in the financial industry. The collapse of the Savings & Loan industry in late 1980’s, which lead to another of Reagan’s lasting legacies, the government bailout of the private sector financial markets. The ultimate cost to the US taxpayer for the S&L bailout was $124 billion to clean up the mess created by the deregulation of the industry that occurred in the early 1980’s, which lead to loose lending practices and insider dealing at the S&L’s. But the S&L bailout wasn’t the first. The culture of “privatizing the profits and socializing the losses” for the financial industry and big Wall Street banks began in 1982, when the Federal Reserve and treasury put together a relief package to bail out the U.S. banks due to the Mexico, Argentina and Brazil debit crises. Then in 1984 they bailed out Continental Illinois Bank and in 1987 massive liquidity was provided by the Fed following the stock market crash. Between 1989 and 1992 the S&L bailout was implemented. The bailouts continued through the 1990’s and early 2000’s, including the first bailout of Citibank in the early 1990’s and Long Term Capital Management in the late 1990’s, culminating in the biggest bailout of all, the $700 billion TARP program in October 2008, not to mention the Fed’s opening of the discount window and the other Federal Reserve programs intended to prop up the banks, which are estimated to exceed $9 trillion.

     At the same time that Wall Street and the financial institutions were being bailed out of their bad investment decisions, the corporate executives were being paid more and more. In 1981, according to the Business Week survey, the top ten corporate executives made an average of $3.45 million in compensation. By 2000, the average had risen to $154 million, a 4,464% increase in just 20 years. In 1981, the top two paid corporate executives were from Schlumberger and General Instruments, both manufacturers. In 2000, they were both executives at Citigroup, the same Citigroup that was bailed out in the late 1990’s.

    The shift in wealth to the top 1% since the 1980’s has been truly astounding. But what is even more amazing is that they have been able to convince the general public that they deserve these high levels of compensation even though they have been the recipients of repeated bailouts. Today, the top income earners are hedge fund managers with the top 25 making almost $1 billion dollars on average in 2010. The top paid hedge fund manager was John Paulson, who took home $4.3 billion in 2010. These hedge fund managers, a profession that didn’t even exist 30 years ago, were the indirect recipients of the government bailouts. Their bets, like the one placed by John Paulson’s hedge fund against subprime mortgages, could not have been paid off by the counter parties without the government bailout of Wall Street.

    But it is not just a few hedge fund managers that are benefiting. In the thirty years from 1970 to 2000, the average pre-tax income of the bottom 90% of American workers has remained flat, at $27,060 in 1970 and $27,035 in 2000 (both stated in 2000 dollars). The top 10% have seen growth in their incomes. Breaking down the top 10%, those that fall between 90-95% saw a 29.6% increase. The next group between 95-99% saw 54.2% growth. By the time you get to the top 100th of 1%, they saw a 558.3% growth in pre-tax incomes. By 2009 the top 1% was receiving 21.3% of all the income, the next 9% received 25.9% and the bottom 90% only received 52.9% of the total income. Likewise, the net worth of the top 1%, as compared to the median net worth, rose from a ratio of 131:1 in 1983 to 225:1 in 2009. But at the very top, the Forbes 400, their net worths rose an astounding 523% from $509 million in 1982 to $3.2 billion in 2009.

    While those at the very top were seeing a huge increase in the growth of their incomes and net worth, while the vast middle class remained stagnate, the tax policies initiated by Ronald Reagan shifted the tax burden onto the middle class and poor and away from the only group that was seeing an increase in their income and net worth. The result, of course, is that the top 10%, and particularly the top 1%, were allowed to keep a bigger portion of their increased income and a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top 1% occurred.

    Reagan had campaigned on the promise to cut taxes, and shortly after being elected the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 was passed. It reduced the marginal income tax rates across the board by 25% over 3 years. So the wealthiest taxpayers saw their top marginal rate drop from 70% to 50%, a 20% decrease while the bottom rate dropped from 14% to 11%, a 3% decline. The great wealth transfer had begun. But also, buried in the 1981 tax reductions, were billions of dollars in tax breaks for corporations, which is another of the real Ronald Reagan legacies – the shifting of the tax burden away from corporations and onto the individual taxpayer. In the 1950’s, 30% of all the federal revenue collected came from corporate taxes. By 2009 that percentage had dropped to 6.6%. A 2004 GAO report found that from 1996 to 2000, 5 years which saw huge corporate income growth, 38% of large corporations paid no federal income tax. It also found that overall, 94% of corporations paid 5% or less, far below the maximum rate of 35%, and that 71% of foreign-owned corporations in America paid no federal taxes at all during those very profitable 5 years.

    As the recession of 1981-82 went on and unemployment rose to 10.8% by December 1982, it became clear that the initial Reagan tax cuts had gone too far and was hampering a recovery. So in 1982, Reagan signed the Tax Equality and Fiscal responsibility Act of 1982, which was at the time the largest peacetime tax increase in history. Among other provisions, it increased the Federal Unemployment tax rate and wage base, cigarette taxes and excise taxes on telephone service. Later in 1982, Reagan signed another tax hike, The Highway Revenue Act of 1982, which imposed $3.3 billion in levies on gasoline. Each of these tax hikes disproportionately affected those with lower incomes. In 1983, Reagan signed another tax increase which was specifically targeted at the lower and middle classes. It was the Social Security Amendments of 1983 Act, which doubled the payroll taxes and, for the first time, began taxing Social Security benefits. This changed Social Security from a pay-as-you go system to one where the working class was paying 50% more to fund the future payouts that would be needed when the baby boomer’s hit retirement age in 30 years. It disproportionally affected the working class because 100% of their wages were subject to the tax increase while those at the top benefited from a cap on the wage amount subject to the tax so that they didn’t have to pay on the full amount of their earnings. Reagan signed additional tax increases, including the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 and the big one – the Tax Reform Act of 1986. While it was promoted as revenue neutral during the debates on the Tax Reform Act of 1986, it certainly was not neutral in its impacts on the wealthy, working class or corporations. The changes included:

  • Lowering the top marginal rate from 50% to 28%

  • Increasing the bottom marginal rate from 11% to 15%

  • Although it created just 2 tax rates, the 15 and 28%, however in affect a third rate of 33% was created that affected only upper middle class tax payers by imposing a 5% surcharge on them

  • It eliminated the deductibility of consumer interest, such as car loans, credit cards, life insurance loans

  • Repealed the deduction for two-earner married couples

  • Restricted the deductibility of IRA contributions

  • Limited unreimbursed medical expenses that could be deducted to amounts in excess of 7.5% of adjusted gross income

  • Limited miscellaneous deductions to expenses exceeding 2% of adjusted gross income

  • Repealed the deductibility of state and local taxes

  • Made all unemployment compensation benefits taxable

  • Lowered the top corporate tax rate to 34% from 46%, and lowered the number of corporate tax brackets from 5 to 3

  • Changed many rules relating to taxation of foreign operations of U.S. multi-national companies


    The net affect of these 1986 changes was the biggest shift in the tax burden from the wealthiest and corporations to the middle and working class of all the Reagan tax modifications.

    From the time Reagan entered office to the time he left office, the top marginal tax rate had dropped from 70% to 28%, and the lowest marginal tax rate rose from 14% to 15%. In addition, the era of deficit financing had begun. The losses in tax revenues due to Reagan’s tax cuts were $208 billion in 1983 (6.1% of GDP), $184 billion in 1984 (4.9 % of GDP), $212 billion in 1985 (5.2% of GDP) and $221 billion in 1986 (5.1 % of GDP), all while he was increasing spending, particularly on defense.

    While the Reagan two bracket tax rates didn’t last for very long because of the resulting huge budget deficits and national debt they created, which forced George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to raise taxes and add more tax rates, it was the corporate changes that had the longest lasting and most profound affects on the American worker and taxpayers. Although very seldom discussed, or even highlighted as a major provision of the 1986 tax changes, the numerous rule changes relating to the taxation of foreign operations of U.S. multi-national companies resulted in the shift of the American economy from an industrial manufacturing base to a financial services based economy. If your business wasn’t a multi-national manufacturing company before 1986, it would soon become one. This was the beginning of the great outsourcing of American jobs to foreign countries with cheap wages. Companies could now process their materials, manufacture their products in foreign countries and import the completed goods to themselves or their subsidiary companies without paying any import taxes. So on the one hand, while Reagan began the process of increasing the tax burden on the middle class. On the other hand, he began the process of sending their good paying jobs overseas.

    When Reagan proclaimed that it was a new day in America, he was right. If you were a corporation or are in the top 1%, it has been a bright and sunny 30 years of prosperity. If you are in the top 10%, it has not been bad, and you have seen some of the trickle down affect from Reaganomics. However, if you are in the bottom 90%, you have been dumped on for the last 30 years. When Barack Obama said, as a candidate for president, that he wanted to be a transformational president like FDR or Ronald Reagan, this is what I believe he was talking about. Reagan had transformed the country’s economic system. He changed it to implement a supply side trickle down theory and his tax policies to support this theory favored the rich and redistributed the wealth of the country upward to the top 1%, whereby it was supposed to trickle down to the other 99%. FDR’s policies in the 1930’s had the opposite effect by distributing the wealth of the country that had been concentrated in the hands of the top 1% during the roaring 1920’s over a much broader base. The affect of FDR’s policies was the creation of a middle class with disposable income that lead to the largest economic expansion in history and lasted for 50 years. That is until the real Ronald Reagan, not the mythological version, came along and transformed America.





  1. All so true. A great book that discusses Reagan’s real legacy is The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America, by William Kleinknecht. It will make you want to cry. – Mickey Murphy at the Radio Demagogues blog:

    • Yes, I have read Kleinknecht’s book. Another good one is Will Bunch’s “Tear Down This Myth” which is from where I pulled some of the quotes. But I also noticed in reading a lot of books about the financial crisis that many paragraphs would start with the phrase “beginning in the 1980’s”. Having lived through the 80’s I knew that it wasn’t the conservative utopia that today’s Republicans make it out to be, so I decided to pull together the real facts from many different resources. I hope it is just one little step in tearing down the myth. Until we can accurately identify a problem we cannot solve it.

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