Top Of My Head

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Tag: Ronald Reagan

You have been fooled…

If you’re even thinking for a second about voting for a Republican, then you are a fool.  You’ve been hoodwinked and you don’t even know it.  You don’t know enough about the history of this country to make a proper decision.  You don’t understand enough about economics, moral hazards and deregulation to make the right decision.

It’s not your fault.

For the last thirty + years in this country, we have been told over and over again that what is good for business is good for America.  You know, I feel sorry for Ronald Reagan.  By all accounts, he was a nice man.  Tip O’Neil and him would have beers in the White House after a hard day debating.  He was easy going, soft-spoken and he believed what he said.

But, he was wrong.

Let me explain business to you.  Business isn’t a game, Businesses are not people and they don’t give a damn about you, the environment or your children.  The men and women who run businesses could give a rat’s ass about you.  Sure, there are some few and far between exceptions, but they’re, well, few and far between.

People go into business for one reason: to make money.

That’s it – nothing more.

I love my job, but quite frankly, I am there for a paycheck and health benefits.  If I could support my family by not working, I would.  Don’t get me wrong, I really love what I do and I’m good at it – so I’m lucky, I work a job I actually love, but love doesn’t make the world go around – money does.

Continuing on, what caused the economic crisis cannot be summed up in just one sentence.  There are many factors – predatory lenders, housing bubble, too much credit to the wrong people, deregulation and the list goes on.  But, the jobless recovery?  That’s easy: Companies are making huge profits because they aren’t hiring you.  And, the companies that are hiring, are paying the lowest wages possible.

Because?

Well, it’s easy…Businesses want profits, the higher the profits; the better the business.  The stock market rewards the businesses with the highest profits, by keeping their stock prices high.

Somebody’s getting rich – it’s just not you.

The GOP wants to dismantle the rest of the regulations that keep us safe at work, that help the environment and keep our food safe.  The GOP wants to dismantle the safety nets for the people who do the real work – you and me.  They want to lower taxes on businesses, because they say that will cause businesses to start hiring.

It’s not true.

The GOP wants to continue their destruction of America.

Don’t let them.

We’ve been here before

It is amazing to me how history continues to repeat.  We – the collective we – fail to learn from the past.  Here we are, on the brink of defaulting on our loans, and the Republicans on standing on ideology instead of doing what is right for the country.  We may not be able to spend our way out of debt and we cannot tax cut our way out of debt.  However; the Republicans are too scared of making Obama look good and going against the Tea Partiers to do what is the right thing to do.

When we default next week, because the Republicans cannot and would not accept a very reasonable offer, don’t come crying to me.

Ironically, these “Republicans” claim to revere Ronald Reagan, yet Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times.  Despite the spin the right-wing talking heads want to put on it, he still – while saying he didn’t want to do so – raised taxes.

The GOP Problem

According to a recent poll, a majority of Americans believe that the GOP should listen to the Tea Party. An overwhelming amount of Republicans (88%), a high number of Independents (46%) and a majority amount of Democrats (51%) respondents believe that the Tea Party ideas should be important to the GOP.

I wonder about that. The poll, according to the article, didn’t ask about which ideas are important, so I wonder just how telling is this poll? How can you answer a blanket statement when the Tea Party ideas differ across the board. For example, Rand Paul is against the Federal Reserve and wants massive cuts to medicare. Are those the Tea Party ideas the poll respondents think the Republican Party should get behind? I’m not sure how Republicans feel about the Federal Reserve, but I am willing to bet that 88% of Republicans do not want cuts to medicare.

Smaller government is ensposed by Tea Party candidates, but what does smaller government actually look like? Ronald Reagan – a Tea Party hero – championed the smaller goverment cause, yet when he left office the government had actually grown.  In fact, at least one of his deregulations blew up in his face.  In 1982, Congress passed and Reagan signed the Garn – St. Germain Depository Institutions Act “easing regulations of savings and loans…leading to the later S&L collapse.”1.  I believe President Reagan learned his lesson. In 1987, he signed the Competitive Equality Banking Act. He publically criticized the act, but I think this was an act. I think Reagan saw with the S&L collapse just why we needed banking regulations in the first place.

I bring this up because I believe that Ronald Reagan possessed something that the Tea Party leaders and candidates seriously lack: common sense. Reagan knew when to compromise and when to stand strong. Reagan would have a good time talking (and, reportedly drinking beer) with Tip O’Neill after the Congressional day was done. I can’t see one of the Tea Party disciples doing the samething and that is their failure and the failure of the GOP. (And, the failure of the Dems, who without Teddy to lead them seem a little loss trying to find their way across the aisle.) Without finding the common ground, without compromising and moving to center, we can probably kiss our great nation goodbye.  To paraphrase another great Republican, Abe Lincoln,  “A nation divided cannot stand.”

I believe if the GOP continues to bend the way of the extremists and, believe me – the Tea Party is full of extremists, they will not only hurt themselves, but they will hurt the nation.  And, then the GOP problem will become our problem.

1 The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street pg. 27

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Sound Bites

Ronald Reagan, God rest his soul, left this country a lot of things; old movies, his cowboy image, the beginning of deregulation and sound bites.  No, Reagan didn’t invent them, but he knew how to use them better than anyone that came before him in our history.  Who can forget the 1980 election when Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were neck and neck heading for the November 4th election day?  And, then, they had one last debate.  Carter, armed with facts, finished answering a question about healthcare in his Georgian drawl.  The moderator said, “Governor?” to Reagan and our country changed forever.  Reagan’s response, “There you go again.”

Four words, that’s all Reagan said and the politics in the nation, the debates on things that mattered were no longer the same.

I’m sure Reagan couldn’t have known that thirty years later his “There you go again” would have set a very scary precedence.  We no longer get facts in our debates.  Candidates come up with catch phrases to win (and sometimes lose) elections and influence us.  From Reagan’s “Morning in America” to Bush I’s “thousand points of light” to Clinton’s “It’s the economy, stupid” and beyond, we’ve become a nation of sound bites.  We, as a people, don’t really know what’s going on anymore.  We pay attention to the sound bites and to the commentators that have risen up in this 24 hour news nation like dandelions on my front lawn.  We follow the loudest voices, like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, to the edge of nothingness like lemmings.

But, what has this cost us?  What price have we paid?

We’ve lost some civility.  We’ve lost a lot of common sense.  People were surprised to find out that a lot of believers in the Tea Party are well-off, well educated people.  I wasn’t.  I have met enough well educated people who believe the most ridiculous things, like the trickle down theory actually works, to know that education doesn’t necessarily equate smarts and common sense.  

Further, no one bothers to check the facts anymore.  They just believe the commentator that best represents them.  If they agree with Bill O’Reily 85% of the time, then whatever O’Reily says becomes Gospel to them.  The same goes for a follower of Rachael Maddow or Keith whatever his last name is.

I could go on forever about this.  I’ll probably write about this again.  Our country is in real trouble because of our inability to get to the facts and make wise decisions. Today is Super Tuesday. Before you go out and vote, try to get to the facts to make a wise decision. Don’t vote for someone because of a soundbite.

God Bless

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