Reaganomics Destroyed the American Dream

by Thom Hartman

Donald Trump and his billionaire buddies are letting America die, but they were enabled by a set of policies adopted 40 years ago under President Ronald Reagan.

The billionaires who make their money from fossil fuels have bought off Trump and Republicans so that they are denying climate change while a dozen states in the west burn and the Gulf Coast is repeatedly ravaged by hurricanes. Firefighters in California and Oregon are identifying the remains of homes where people died by the smell of burnt human flesh.

The billionaires who make their money screwing American students with almost $2 trillion in student loans bribed politicians in 2005 to make it illegal to declare bankruptcy on those loans. Across America, students are experiencing depression, despair, and suicide.

The billionaires who own millions of rental properties across the country are actively ignoring both legal requirements and moral-morality based requests, depending on the state, to prevent evictions and are today throwing people out of their homes in the middle of a pandemic.

The billionaires who own Fox news and some of our largest radio networks are facilitating lies about climate change and the coronavirus, both of which are killing people, while these billionaires live in their protected bubbles. They are also stoking racial violence by repeatedly portraying protesters calling for Black equality under the law as terrorists.

Massive tax cuts by Reagan, Bush and Trump have transferred fully $50 trillion from the homes and pockets of working people into the money bins and foreign bank accounts of the billionaire class since 1980. As a result, fewer than half of Americans are still in the middle class, and fear and rage increasingly dominate the American political landscape.

Using that despair and anger people are feeling as they watch their lives be wiped out, their homes destroyed, and their jobs vanish, Trump and the Republican party are fomenting violence and political instability by trying to scapegoat Black and Brown people. The growing Qanon movement on the right further asserts that “international Jewish bankers” like George Soros are behind at all, stoking anti-Semitism along with their garden-variety racism.

This all began in the 1980s with the so-called Reagan Revolution, when Reagan dropped the top tax rate from 74% to 25% and begin a vicious, scorched-earth campaign to destroy unions across the country while authoring NAFTA and other free trade agreements.

Reagan even championed the destruction of our public schools and the modern day Republican rejection of science on everything from the origin of the earth to climate change. He even empowered people like “Christian” billionaire Pat Roberts who argued that the earth is only 6000 years old and, at the peak of the AIDS crisis that Reagan refused to acknowledge, said the biggest crisis facing America was homosexuality.

If America is to recover from this hellscape that rightwing billionaires and their bought-off politicians have inflicted on us, it’s going to require a massive, nationwide awakening and a nonstop multi-year effort.

Reaganism needs to be ripped out by the root. His policies of minimizing science, privatizing our public schools, defunding social security and social welfare programs, ending support for infrastructure repair and construction, wiping out union protections for working people, and of transferring America’s wealth to the billionaire class must be reversed.

Until Reaganism is utterly destroyed, the crises engulfing America will simply get worse and worse.


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