Beginning with the Reagan administration, the U.S. has, in effect, taken out its very large supply of guns, taken careful aim and shot itself in the foot. Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically, but the damage to our nation is very real.
The Reagan administration’s notion that you could dramatically increase defense spending, increase corporate welfare, demonize unions and cut taxes has had a devastating and lasting impact on our country. It’s because of Reaganomics that our deficits and national debt began to spiral out of control. Even Reagan’s own budget director has since labeled Reagan’s economic policies a failure.
Of course, the Repugnants, aka right-wing Republicans, are fond of blaming our deficits on Democrats. But that’s revisionist history. Under Reagan and Bush The Elder, the deficits reached new heights. Clinton and, in fairness, a Republican-led Congress, turned those deficits into surpluses. Then Bush The Junior turned the entire economy upside down by pursuing two unfunded wars, lowering taxes and deregulating Wall Street. In order to save us from a world-wide economic collapse, President Obama had to increase spending by providing loans to banks and automakers. He also, for the first time, included the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in his budget.
Republicans have seized on those actions to unfairly blame Obama for the deficits. Now they want to use the deficits to undo all of the nation’s safety nets for children, the poor, the ill and the elderly. At the same time, they continue to call for further tax cuts for the wealthy. (Never mind that our taxes are now the lowest in 60 years.)
There is, of course, an alternative to what Bush The Elder once referred to as “voodoo economics.” As the economy continues to improve, we could raise taxes back to pre-George W. Bush levels and close the enormous tax loopholes that have been exploited by large corporations. At the same time, we could reduce the out-of-control defense budget and use a portion of the savings to create jobs by rebuilding our factories and infrastructure.
But if that makes sense to you, don’t hold your breath. As long as those large corporations and defense contractors are allowed to fund the campaigns of Congressional Representatives and Senators, it’s not likely to happen.