Foolin’ the People About History: Reagan’s Great Ruse and The Face of the Enemy, Ours

 

The Great American About Face, Part Four: Foolin’ the People About History…Reagan’s Great Ruse and The Face of the Enemy, Ours

reagan2

Foolin’ the People About History

Obvious “Truths”:

  • Reagan “saved” America.
  • Reagan saved Americans from an oppressive tax burden.
  • Reagan brought down the Iron Curtain, the Soviets, Berlin Wall.
  • In America we were far better off than the Soviets were because…
    • wealthier.
    • don’t have to work as hard.
    • can take better care of our children.
  • We are the richest country in the world.
  • In America we only get better.

So these days you have the attitude, “A dollar laid is a dollar played”; people’s suffering is irrelevant to the game.

REATION TO THE ECONOMY

Reagan’s Great Ruse

We have seen a lot of change over the last five decades. And many new thoughts have become truisms that are actually not true. In the real world they’re nonsensical.

capitalism2

The Eighties Changed Everything…The Great Swindle.

Unfortunately they abound because of the cultural change initiated by Ronald Reagan that lowered the standard of living for everyone except for the rich who were the beneficiaries of that switch. It was the greatest shift of money upward, to the higher classes, in history, at that time. Bush in the last decade outdid him though.

inequalitygraph-thumb-454x357


The Republicans pulled off this transfer of wealth under the banner of capitalism. The huge tax cuts for the seriously rich, which was how this relocation of money was accomplished, began with Reagan. When it was proposed during the 1980 presidential race Bush the Elder called it “voodoo economics.” This was before he was invited on the ticket with Reagan.


Voodoo economics gradually brought the highest marginal rate of taxes down below thirty percent from the seventy percent it had been when Reagan took office. This should be compared with the ninety-some percent it was under Democratic and Republican presidents—Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy—in the 1940s through 1963. Reaganomics took corporate tax rates down to forty percent from the fifty percent that it had been previous to that beginning in the Forties.

Keep in mind that these were times—Forties through Sixties—when America’s economy boomed, turning the US into the wealthiest country in the world. Remember also that the last time, previous to Reagan, that marginal tax rates were below forty percent was in the Twenties, prior to the Great Depression. Not coincidentally at that same time, preceding the Depression, corporate tax rates were also at their lowest and were down in the teens. History records how well those low corporate and private marginal rates worked out. This did not stop the Reaganites from opting to repeat the previous debacle.

MetroTimesTax

The Face of the Enemy, Ours

Overall, this bonanza for the rich–along with union-busting and other anti-worker practices by Reagan–had the effect of gradually lowering the standard of living for the vast majority of Americans. The result could not have been more ironic. These pro-capitalist, fervid anti-communist Republicans like Reagan and his supporters began the process that would make us mirror images of Soviet Russia in several hugely important ways.

At one time, “Women don’t have to work”; at another, “Women are free to work.”

Reaganomics brought in the two-salary family. This had been one of those major propaganda points for the anti-communists in the Fifties: We were horrified finding out that behind the Iron Curtain both parents had to have jobs to support their family. It was thrown out as one of the ways we were superior in our capitalist way of life—American wives and mothers did not have to work and were able to spend their time instead raising the children.

The anti-communist Reaganites also brought in institutional child care, for now this was needed because both parents were working. Someone had to take care of the children, and they would begin that at earlier and earlier ages.

At one time, “Strangers take care of their kids”; at another, “Child care teaches social skills and enhances multicultural awareness.”

imageAgain, extramural child care was one of those elements of Soviet life that in the Fifties was pointed out to us disdainfully and which we were grateful not to be subject to. It would be thought inhuman, if not barbaric, for children to be cared for by strangers, while the mother was working. There was something dangerous, if not lascivious, insinuated to us by propagandists, about pre-school children not being with their mothers, not receiving her protection and love during that vulnerable and needy time, but being instead “in the hands of strangers”…(god forbid!)

But after Reagan this dreaded feature of Soviet culture became the norm in American culture as well.

So Reagan’s economic policies pushed Americans into a lower standard of living—fooling them in all kinds of ways that this was not the case—which was evident in major changes in American culture which mirrored that of the Soviets such as the virtual requirement of two-salary families and along with that the necessity of child care outside the family at earlier and earlier years. But these Soviet-like changes did not also bring with them Communist benefits of job security, free child and medical care, guaranteed lifelong support, and so on.


Continue with Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties

Return to Cool Hand Gipper (The Great Hustle) and What the 1% Would Still Have of Us: Context of The American Awakening



The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.

http://cdn.hark.com/swfs/player_fb.swf?pid=gjhxqmkbdn
“The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths’ Part 3”



Continue with Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties

Return to Cool Hand Gipper (The Great Hustle) and What the 1% Would Still Have of Us: Context of The American Awakening

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  1. #1 by Evert Vastenburg on April 6, 2012 - 3:02 am

    I like what you told here Michael. Europe and especially Holland are now full grown replica’s of what you described. Real depressing. Since the Soviet Union collapsed their was no limit any more for the changes you described.
    But, there is a but. Try to answer how the US and also Europe became so rich and powerful. In fact that is the real issue here. It was the same story as what you are talking about concerning the elite and what they are doing to the other 99%. First we did it to other people on other continents. Now our own society is under siege. Our western world is becoming a colony in it’s own right. And the slave masters are the same people who enslaved and exploited the rest of the world.

    After the second world war the US had one enormous joker in the card game, namely the dollar. They were the only one who did not have to buy dollars on the financial marked to do international business such as buying oil. The dollar became THE international currency. So it was not a fair game at all. Naomi Klein has written a wonderful book about the history and strategies of modern day free market capitalism (The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism). It will give you nightmares when you read it. I promise you that. It’s much worse than you already think.

    • #2 by sillymickel on April 6, 2012 - 3:23 am

      thank you for the knowledgeable comment, Evert. I was hoping you would give us a perspective relating to Europe.

      I am going to have to get to Naomi Klein’s book at some point. I know OF it, but haven’t read it yet…everything I hear is powerful and right on, though. And I think she is fantastic. I read her speech at occupy wall street. happy we have allies like her

      fascinating thoughts on colonialism in our own countries. A great metaphor for what I’m seeing. Here in the U.S. they want everyone in jails so they can use their slave labor for corporations. It has already begun. It’s unbelievable. Some have been caught filling jails for this reason. I know of one judge in particular who is being prosecuted in my home town at the moment who filled jails with juveniles for profit. colonialism – indentured servitude.

      So now we don’t have to go to third world countries to experience these benefits of Western civilization. *sarcasm*

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