I understand that solar panels have been installed at the White House. That means that we’ve finally caught up to where we were in 1980, when Ronald Reagan ordered the removal of solar panels from the same place. 34 years later; what a shame.
I believe the legacy of Ronald Reagan is far, far less glorious than some people pretend. He spoke of lowering taxes but in fat raised them. He spoke of reducing government but in fact the number of federal employees mushroomed during his tenure. He spoke of responsible government spending to balance the budget but in fact the federal deficit skyrocketed while he was president.
And, in what will tarnish his reputation forever, he said we didn’t need to develop alternative energy source since there is so much oil in the ground. The price for his absolutely inexcusable shortsightedness has been enormous and will continue to grow. Not only have thousands of people died in the Middle East because they had the misfortune of living in the land that provided much of our oil, but billions of dollars are being spent now. Some of it goes into the extremely expensive fracking; some of it is going into trying to develop those very alternatives that Reagan dismissed; some of it is paying for ways to reduce the poisoning of our planet and our atmosphere by our excessive use of petroleum.
What seemed true to me in the early 80s seems all the more certain to me now: Political conservatives are the spineless toadies of big business, to the great detriment of the national and international economy. I do not believe we can begin to count the billions of dollars that have moved from the pockets of the lower and middle economic classes into the coffers of the absurdly wealthy since Reagan’s day and — in large measure — due to Reagan’s legacy.
I’ve got no respect left for those who argue that the wealthy people create jobs. I cannot imagine how anyone can continue to believe such an idea after the last few years of our story. The wealthy have gained enormous profits while the rest of us have sacrificed to sustain their greed.
But remember, some Reaganites will say, Ronald Reagan did more than anyone else to defeat communism. Sorry, but all the evidence counters such a claim. On the one hand, there is the experience in Central and South America, where Reagan’s insistence on rewarding the wealthy alienated the poor and drove them into the hands of the communists. As one person with long experience in Central America put it, “Ronald Reagan was the best recruiter the communists ever had.”
On the other hand, I’ve been to Russia several times, beginning in 1998. I’ve seen for myself what communism had accomplished. I am now firmly convinced that communism was on the verge of collapse and would not have made it into the 90s with or without Ronald Reagan.
For his hypocrisy, for his failure to encourage the development of alternative energies, for his releasing of big business from any sort of rational restraint, and for his mindless foreign policy, Ronald Reagan proved himself to be one of the worst presidents of the twentieth century. I’d even rank Nixon above Reagan.
There, have I been subtle enough?