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Old 03-23-2009, 03:49 PM
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Default Reagan: The Great American Socialist

Friday 20 March 2009

by: Ravi Batra, t r u t h o u t | Perspective



Socialism has been much in the news for some months. Recently, some GOP stalwarts charged President Obama with preaching the heresy. John Boehner, the House minority leader, characterized Obama's stimulus package as, "one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment."

"Socialism" is a pejorative term in American politics and needs to be carefully examined. It usually refers to increased government control over the economy, or policies that promote the redistribution of wealth. There is no doubt that President Obama's economic measures, passed and proposed, will raise tax rates on the richest Americans to pay for increased government funding of health care, green energy and education. So the new president is indeed a redistributionist, but so was Ronald Reagan, except that Obama's plans will transfer wealth from the rich to the poor, whereas Reagan's bills transferred wealth from the poor and the middle class to the opulent. In fact, Obama's measures are puny, whereas Reagan's were massive. If the Democrat is a "small" socialist, Reagan was the Great American Socialist.

Let's go back to the early 1980's. In 1981, Reagan signed a law that sharply reduced the income tax for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. The president asserted his program would create jobs, purge inflation and, get this, trim the budget deficit. However, following the tax cut, the deficit soared from 2.5 percent of GDP to over 6 percent, alarming financial markets, sending interest rates sky high, and culminating in the worst recession since the 1930's.

Soon the president realized he needed new revenues to trim the deficit, bring down interest rates and improve his chances for reelection. He would not rescind the income tax cut, but other taxes were acceptable. In 1982, taxes were raised on gasoline and cigarettes, but the deficit hardly budged. In 1983, the president signed the biggest tax rise on payrolls, promising to create a surplus in the Social Security system, while knowing all along that the new revenue would be used to finance the deficit.

The retirement system was looted from the first day the Social Security surplus came into being, because the legislation itself gave the president a free hand to spend the surplus in any way he liked. Thus began a massive transfer of wealth from the poor and the middle class, especially the self-employed small businessman, to the wealthy. The self-employment tax jumped as much as 66 percent.

In 1986, Reagan slashed the top tax rate further. His redistributionist obsession led to a perversity in the law. The wealthiest faced a 28 percent tax rate, while those with lower incomes faced a 33 percent rate; in addition, the bottom rate climbed from 11 percent to 15 percent. For the first time in history, the top rate fell and the bottom rate rose simultaneously. Even unemployment compensation was not spared. The jobless had to pay income tax on their benefits. A year later, the man who would not spare unemployment compensation from taxation called for a cut in the capital gains tax. Thus, Reagan was a staunch socialist, totally committed to his cause of wealth redistribution towards the affluent.

How much wealth transfer has occurred through Reagan's policies? At least $3 trillion.

The Social Security hike generated over $2 trillion in surplus between 1984 and 2007, and if it had been properly invested, say, in AAA corporate bonds it could have earned another trillion by now. At present, the fund is empty, because it has been used up to finance the federal deficits resulting from frequent cuts in income tax rates. If this is not redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich, what else is?

Thus, Reagan was the first Republican socialist - and a great one, because his wealth transfer occurred on a massive scale. His accomplishment dwarfs even FDR's, and if today the small businessman suffers a crippling tax burden, he must thank Reagan the redistributionist. However, FDR took pains to help the poor, while Reagan took pains to help the wealthiest like himself.

Reagan's measures were similar to those that the Republicans adopted during the 1920's, which were followed by the catastrophic Depression. More recently, such policies were mimicked by President George W. Bush and they are about to plunge the world into a depression as well. Ironically, the Reagan-style socialism or wealth redistribution i
s about to destroy monopoly capitalism, the very system that he wanted to preserve and enrich.

Wake up America and elect leaders with a heart - not those who would tax your unemployment benefits and cut the capital gains tax.

-------


https://www.truthout.org/032009Ra
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:59 PM
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Open Left:: Maddow! Maddow! Maddow!
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, ® ARIZONA: I don't think, frankly, someone who wants to increase the burden of government regulation and higher taxes has any real understanding of economics.

MADDOW: Take it from him. Heaven forbid, there would be rules to rein in what happens on Wall Street, right? I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

The conservative argument against regulation was always that deregulation would create a lot of wealth. Deregulating Wall Street would allow for all of this great wealth creation that we have experienced as a country. The problem, as we have found out, is that "A," it allows for all sort of immense criminality, say, Bernie Madoff, say; "B," it puts the country hugely at risk, say, AIG, Citigroup the whole country; and, "C," economically, it really only benefits the people at the top.


While all of those executives walk away with these giant bonuses year after year after year, take a look at what normal families walked away with during the Wall Street fueled deregulation so-called boom. This is median household income. In the 1970s, it rose 4.5 percent. In the 1980s, it rose 6.5 percent. In the 1990s, it rose 8.3 percent. In the 2000s-down 0.6 percent.

Deregulation benefits the people at the top. They get really, really, really rich doing stuff that might otherwise be illegal if there were regulations in place to stop them. We get all the national risk associated with what they were doing, and they get all the cash. No one else actually benefits from it except for them. It doesn't trickle down. No one pays ultimately except the rest of us.


Open Left:: Maddow! Maddow! Maddow!
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:01 PM
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What else did the wealthy republicans adore about Reagan?

Reagan and the Homeless Epidemic in America
Home19

Reagan’s budget cuts and overhaul of tax codes led to an explosion of homelessness in the U.S. during his 8 years in power. We speak with Carol Fennelly, a leading activist on homeless issues during the Reagan presidency.

Throughout the week, Ronald Reagan has been praised almost non-stop on television, in newspapers and in magazines. Politicians and pundits from both establishment political parties have been practically falling over each other to heap praise on Reagan. And as he is glorified for what are termed his accomplishments and legacy, there is one term that was rose to prominence during Reagan’s time in power that is seldom mentioned. That is “homelessness.”

In fact many homeless rights activists say the single most devastating thing Reagan did to create homelessness was when he cut the budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by three-quarters, from $32 billion in 1981 to $7.5 billion by 1988. The department was the main governmental supporter of subsidized housing for the poor. Add this to Reagan’s overhaul of tax codes to reduce incentives for private developers to create low-income homes and you had a major crisis for low-income families and individuals. Under Reagan, the number of people living beneath the federal poverty line rose from 24.5 million in 1978 to 32.5 million in 1988.

And the number of homeless people went from something so little it wasn’t even written about widely in the late 1970s to more than 2 million when Reagan left office. But as Reagan proudly declared that the number of homeless shelters had increased significantly during his presidency, the homeless epidemic did not go ignored by everyone, especially not in Reagan’s back yard in Washington DC. Homeless rights activist Mitch Snyder and a dedicated group of homeless people and activists waged a many year campaign to win rights for people forced to live on the streets. Ultimately, they formed a movement based at what came to be known as the Community for Creative Non-Violence or CCNV. We are joined now by one of the people who was a leader of the homeless rights movement at CCNV during the Reagan years.

* Carol Fennelly, was a leading activist on homeless issues during the Reagan presidency. Along with Mitch Snyder, she was instrumental in establishing the Community for Creative Non-Violence in Washington DC. She is currently the Director of Hope House in Washington.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:01 PM
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This is not as simple as democrats’ good, republicans bad or vice versa. They are both out of control, or as David Icke would say they are both being controlled by the power elite.

Reagan’s tax cuts did spur the economy but congress which has the actual control over government spending spent more then the spurred economy could produce.

Social Security has always been looked at by government as an easy way of raising revenue from the masses and any social benefits that it might provide are secondary. Of course no politician would dare tell you that.

BO promised to bring the troops home, but now that he is in office we don’t hear much about that any more.
Whom or what changed his mind?
Will taxing the rich solve the countries economic problems? Even if we were to tax the rich out of existence are there enough of them make to even make a dent in our trillion dollar deficit?

The king is dead, long live the new king. Same as the old king.
But again is this not what David Icke has predicted?

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