Friday, February 4, 2011

Pushing Back Against Reagan Mythmaking

The 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birthday is almost upon us and the myth makers on the American right are gearing up for his beatification. Although you won't see much of it from our for-profit media, many are determined to push back and present a more realistic view of our 40th president and the legacy he created.  

For example, in Ronald Reagan, Enemy of the American Worker, Dick Meister relates how stridently anti-labor Reagan was. In a blatant display of institutional capture, Reagan turned over control of the National Labor Relations Board to anti-labor hacks who, indifferent to the NLRB's mandate, stonewalled efforts by labor to seek relief for workers illegally dismissed for attempting to organize unions. 

In The Reagan Ruins, Robert Borosage explores the peculiar disconnect between the myth of Reagan today and the reality of his presidency. The man expanded government, raised taxes multiple times (remember revenue enhancements?) oversaw a dramatic increase in our trade deficit, and turned the US from the world's largest creditor to the world's largest debtor. On the other hand, he did give rich people tax breaks, greatly increased military spending, gutted consumer protection laws, and began the turn towards an economy dominated by Wall Street. And that, apparently, is what conservatives want.

And finally, Will Bunch has an article over at Daily Kos that details the coming hoopla to which we are going to be subjected. Millions of dollars are being poured into an extravaganza meant to sear an image of Reagan-as-god into the fact-challenged, the wavering, and those too young to remember the guy.

Bunch reminds us that social security is strong today because Reagan saw fit to increase payroll taxes (after giving tax cuts to the rich), ensuring a multi-trillion dollar social security surplus, and the continued success of a popular program.

Bunch is the author of  Tear Down This Myth: The Right-Wing Distortion of the Reagan Legacy.

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