RIP Reaganomics

"We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals. We know now that it is bad economics."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1937)

"...Let's talk for a moment about why the age of Reagan should be over.

First of all, even before the current crisis Reaganomics had failed to deliver what it promised. Remember how lower taxes on high incomes and deregulation that unleashed the "magic of the marketplace" were supposed to lead to dramatically better outcomes for everyone? Well, it didn't happen.

To be sure, the wealthy benefited enormously: the real incomes of the top .01 percent of Americans rose sevenfold between 1980 and 2007. But the real income of the median family rose only 22 percent, less than a third of its growth over the previous 27 years.

Moreover, most of whatever gains ordinary Americans achieved came during the Clinton years. President George W. Bush, who had the distinction of being the first Reaganite president to also have a fully Republican Congress, also had the distinction of presiding over the first administration since Herbert Hoover in which the typical family failed to see any significant income gains.
And then there's the small matter of the worst recession since the 1930s.

There's a lot to be said about the financial disaster of the last two years, but the short version is simple: Politicians in the thrall of Reaganite ideology dismantled the New Deal regulations that had prevented banking crises for half a century, believing that financial markets could take care of themselves. The effect was to make the financial system vulnerable to a 1930s-style crisis — and the crisis came..."

Paul Krugman

"Ronald Reagan cut everything in the budget, and yet they say he made the biggest deficit (until George W. Bush) in the country. I don't know how they come up with that. It's Washington math."

Rush Limbaugh
on the Radio

Reagan didn't cut the military budget. It reached historic highs. Under Reagan, the national debt more than doubled.


Town Hall Update


Budgets & Debt: Where The Truth Lies

"We are, quite bluntly, broke. We don't have the money to sustain the dreams and experiments of liberalism any longer. We have a $400 billion a year budget deficit and a $4 trillion debt."

Rush Limbaugh
The Way Things Ought To Be (1992)
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was told "deficits don't matter" when he warned of a looming fiscal crisis.

O'Neill, fired in a shakeup of Bush's economic team in December 2002, raised objections to a new round of tax cuts and said the president balked at his more aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of accounting scandals because of opposition from "the corporate crowd," a key constituency.

O'Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. "You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: "We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due." A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

The vice president's office had no immediate comment, but John Snow, who replaced O'Neill, insisted that deficits "do matter" to the administration.


"...The truth is more complicated and less frightening. Right now deficits are actually helping the economy. In fact, deficits here and in other major economies saved the world from a much deeper slump. The longer-term outlook is worrying, but it's not catastrophic.

The only real reason for concern is political. The United States can deal with its debts if politicians of both parties are, in the end, willing to show at least a bit of maturity. Need I say more?

Let's start with the effects of this year's deficit.

There are two main reasons for the surge in red ink. First, the recession has led both to a sharp drop in tax receipts and to increased spending on unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs. Second, there have been large outlays on financial rescues. These are counted as part of the deficit, although the government is acquiring assets in the process and will eventually get at least part of its money back.

What this tells us is that right now it's good to run a deficit. Consider what would have happened if the U.S. government and its counterparts around the world had tried to balance their budgets as they did in the early 1930s. It's a scary thought. If governments had raised taxes or slashed spending in the face of the slump, if they had refused to rescue distressed financial institutions, we could all too easily have seen a full replay of the Great Depression.
As I said, deficits saved the world..."

Paul Krugman


"That means our debt - yearly debt - is only 2.9 percent of our total budget. If you at home could say that the total amount of your debt was only 2.9 percent of all that you earn and produce, you'd be happy/ This deficit is a straw dog. It's always been a phone monster. This is manageable debt as long as our economy stays strong."

Rush Limbuagh
July 7, 1994

"...my friends, we know what Obama's economics are built on. We know what his new foundation is. His new foundation is built on money we don't have. His foundation is built on money created out of thin air and debt. Debt that is an anchor around all of our collective necks, so heavy is the anchor, we, the people can't move. We're weighed down by a plan that's designed to pull off a seismic switcheroo. We're going for an economy driven by the private sector to one driven by Obama, except we aren't told that. We're told the exact opposite. Barack Obama is building a new economy on a foundation of so much debt that he has reached into our children's and grandchildren's pockets. They will be born broke. It's called generational theft. He calls it his new foundation. The foundation is debt, printed money. We know that but we don't hear that, and that's because Obama can't get what he wants by telling the truth. No liberal can..."

Rush Limbaugh
Radio show transcript April 15, 2009


TEA Party Needs A Few More Nut Jobs

"...the Nazis were the ones who shoved sand down a boy's throat until he died, who tossed candies to Jewish children as they sank to their deaths in a sand pit, who threw babies from a hospital window to compete to see how many "little Jews" could be caught on a bayonet, who injected a cement-like fluid into women's uteruses to see what would happen, stomped a pregnant woman to death, who snatched a woman's baby from her arms and, in the words of a witness, "tore him as one would tear a rag."

That's who the Nazis were, ladies and gentlemen - those obscenities plus 6 million more. They were the triumph of ideology over reason and even over humanity, the demonization of racial, religious and political difference, the objectification of the vulnerable other. And the authors of a mass murder that staggers imagination, still.

You would think that where they are invoked to make a point, it would be done with a respect for the incalculable evil the Nazis represent. You would think people would tread carefully, not because of the potential insult to a given politician (they are big boys and girls) but because to do otherwise profanes the profound and renders trivial that which ought to be held sacred by anyone who regards himself as a truly human being.

But in modern America, unfortunately, rhetoric often starts over the top and goes up from there. So fine, George W. Bush is "a smirking chimp." Fine, Barack Obama is "a Chicago thug." We have a Constitution, after all, and it says we can say whatever we want. It doesn't say that it has to be intelligent.

And yes, you are even protected if you liken Obama or Bush to Hitler."

Leonard Pitts Jr.



Freedom Of Screech

"...I never thought I'd see the day when America didn't have enough crazies to go around. We've got oodles of them. So many that members of Congress, home on recess to press the flesh, are afraid to appear at public forums for fear they will be asked their position on Bigfoot sightings and alien abductions. One of Minnesota's most levelheaded congressmen, Democrat Collin Peterson, had to apologize for saying that 25 percent of his constituents believe in conspiracy theories. He didn't back down completely, though, explaining he was tired of public meetings being "hijacked" by people "outside the mainstream..."

"...The summer of 2009 is making the Summer of Sam (1977) and the summer of Helter Skelter (1969) look sane by comparison. In the old days, a handful of psychopaths could ruin our sense of security. This summer, the lunacy has gone viral and is making us look like a country of snake handlers and sleight-of-hand "healers" who make us feel better by "removing" chicken parts from our innards.

Our civic religion preaches the virtue of conversation and compromise, the belief that we can, as the Lord advised, "come and reason together." But reasoning together has gone out the window this summer of our discontent, along with the baby, the bath water and grandma's Do Not Resuscitate order..."

Nick Coleman
Read more at the Star Tribune