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Who Was This Liberal President?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    He did the following:

    Expanded the size of the Federal government, not banning abortion, saving Social Security, raising taxes and making them more progressive, trying to abolish nuclear weapons. What President was responsible for this?

    A. Lyndon Johnson
    B. Jimmy Carter
    C. Bill Clinton
    D. Ronald Reagan.

    If you answered D you were correct. :)

    According to <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0301.green.html">Joshua Green</a>, Reagan's legacy is far more ambiguous than many conservatives seem willing to admit.

    A few facts about the Reagan Presidency: 1) he bailed out Social Security to the tune of $165 billion dollars and opened it to a huge new class of recipients; 2) after the initial tax cuts of his first year, he raised taxes every year after that, and his Tax Reform Act of 1986 included the largest corporate income tax increase in history as well as an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit program which added a significant amount of progressivity to the tax system; 3) later in his administration, relations with the Soviet Union softened.

    Yet Reagan's conservative biographers don't seem bothered by any of this. Green says, "The fact that Reagan's presidency didn't accomplish anything approaching its seismic promise--the size of government grew, abortion remained legal, and entitlements still abounded--is one that his partisan biographers elide by focusing on what Reagan believed and said rather than on what he actually did."

    Is this something that everyone here can agree with? Or is it the latest tactic by the same people who couldn't bash Reagan enough to make him look bad? "Can't beat him, he must have been one of us then!"
  2. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    What you stated as facts are just that so one can only debate their significance or meaning.

    Reagan was probably the most misunderstood president in the 20th Century. Both as a president and even more as an individual! He was certainly the most unique "name" president.

    His popularity when he was president and the popularity he still enjoys nearly 15 years later cannot be shrugged aside by his critics.

    Getting back to his size of government and tax promises versus what he did, when he began his first term as governor of California the state was on the brink of bankruptcy. He eventually quadrupled the state income tax and steadily increased the size of the state government. When he left office the state was in good financial shape.

    He is vastly underrated for his common sense intelligence and effective delegation of authority by many, especially his critics. They just can't stand to live with the popularity he has always enjoyed and seem especially mean-spirited in their attacks. That is too bad for the obvious reasons and because it actually dilutes their criticism and diminishes its credibility. That is unfortunate as much of the criticism is not without merit.

    The critics actually defeat themselves because what should stick does not. It is one reason why Reagan was in terms of his popularity a Teflon man. Even when he made obvious mistakes or blunders it didn't stick. After the initial reaction his popularity just increased with his supporters and the political neutrals.
  3. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Thanks, JW, great explanation. :)

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