by James J. Devine
The most free and intelligent and hard-working people in the history of the Earth are finding themselves slipping down the economic ladder instead of climbing up it, as did the members of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.
America’s middle class is shrinking and the reason why is obvious.
During the 1970s, America encountered changes in the global oil markets as anti-colonialism took root in places once easily exploited by western powers.
That economic hiccup allowed a failed ideology to re-emerge in a way that compelled many voters to disregard facts and actual history.
This fantasy-based governing philosophy was called ‘Reaganomics’ and at its core was the notion that government is not the solution to your problems because government is the problem.
This deluded and discredited idea because the driving force behind widespread changes that destroyed the power of working class families who united for better working conditions as members of organized labor.
Those same working class families were quietly robbed of opportunities for prosperity and advancement as free public education was dismantled and the cost of basic necessities increased, while government support for people diminished and tax savings were passed on the the richest few.
The millions, billions and trillions saved by the rich in the form of unfair tax cuts were turned into investments buying influence with politicians of both major political parties, so advantages for the wealthy grew at the expense of fairness and equality.
It is no coincidence that the prosperity of working class families took a downward turn with the presidency of Republican Ronald Reagan.
The union-busting Reagan’s first major political action was his ardent opposition to Medicare, the successful health insurance system that every American senior relies upon.
His tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of polluters and flim-flam artists on Wall Street, his efforts to deprive the poorest citizens of support and his attacks on education — as well as his love of corporate welfare — drove America over the edge.
Reagan threw America into reverse, turning broad economic prosperity into concentrated wealth; converting the general welfare into a specific case of greed.
We need to return to a genuine progressive agenda, in line with the Great Society, New Frontier, New Deal & Square Deal — hallmarks of earlier American presidents who understood that the greatness of America lies not in what the richest person owns but in the comfort of average people.
Modern conservatives will never realize that their saint and hero was the worst president in history, because unlike the incredible failures that marred the reputation of George W. Bush Jr., Reagan’s fault was his success in policies that intentionally destroyed America’s manufacturing capacity, drove the nation deep into debt and weakened our future prospects.
Bush certainly deserves scorn and condemnation for insolence and incompetence, but Reagan betrayed America by making us trust him while he did so much harm.
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