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Hear that? That's the leaky faucet of Reaganomics dripping wealth into your wallet.

The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
edited July 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
Ronald Reagan. Visionary.
ronald-reagan-picture.jpg

Ron had this shit figured out. I men, sure, some people say he had dementia and was so bereft of lucidity that during his final term in office he would confuse roles he took in his acting career with his personal history, and they'd be right, but he also had a psychic on staff. A psychic!

You can't be wrong if you can see into the future, right?

Reaganomics: The Data

the-last-two-decades-were-great-except-for-american-workers.jpg_thumb%5B3%5D.gif?imgmax=800

...I've always been curious about something. Whenever most conservatives get backed into a corner on TV or on YouTube, they tend to deflect into some variation of, 'Well, I'm a REAGAN ERA conservative anyway, so it doesn't matter what the data sayd about how bad the Bush family has done,' as though Reagan was an irreproachable genius of some tremendous magnitude who ushered in a golden age.

This is a man that we know for a fact finally succumbed to Alzheimer's Disease and consulted a fucking psychic - that is, someone who believes that they can magically foresee future events & manipulate their surroundings through thinking alone - for policy decisions & personal advice.

How has such a man, along with his his ideas, come to be so highly regarded? Reagan's brain was literally rotting away in his skull and his predictions have been falsified. Wealth did not 'trickle down' - it's remained concentrated within a very small percentage of the population.

With Love and Courage
The Ender on
«13

Posts

  • ElitistbElitistb Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Reagan did sorta help take down the USSR slightly earlier than it would have fallen apart on its own.

    By spending it to death.

    Elitistb on
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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Elitistb wrote: »
    Reagan did sorta help take down the USSR slightly earlier than it would have fallen apart on its own.

    By spending it to death.

    Actually, there's a pretty solid argument to be made that he extended the USSR's lifespan, by allowing the hardliners to retain power due to his belligerence.

    AngelHedgie on
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  • ElitistbElitistb Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Okay, I got nuthin' then.

    Elitistb on
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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Reagan can and should be credited for continuing deregulation (which is often maligned today, and the process could have been carried out in a less destructive manner. But on net, as it was carried out it had a net benefit - to grasp just how far regulation had gone just think "across-the-board wage and price controls"; unsurprisingly the possible benefits of further deregulation today would be less since all the obvious targets are already gone, and hence may be less than the costs, but this wasn't always the case). Unfortunately the credit (and blame) that he gets is often misplaced, since deregulation was started by Carter, not Reagan.

    Likewise, the credit for ending stagflation is often given to Volcker. Who was, of course, appointed by Carter and then re-appointed by Reagan.

    Economically the Reagan years are best characterized as the single largest Keynesian fiscal expansion since World War II - remember that tax cuts funded by deficits rather than reductions in spending are expansionary! Likewise, Volcker's monetary policy decisions during this period are pretty much textbook.

    What "Reaganomics" did manage to accomplish was conclusively discredit supply-side theory; it turns out the US economy was simply on the wrong side of the Laffer curve: cutting taxes reduced tax revenue, not increased it. Even right-wing Chicago-school monetarists have dismissed the entire project as the economic equivalent of cold fusion. Gregory Mankiw (right-winger) famously described it in his textbook as the advice of "charlatans and cranks". So macroeconomically there has not been much to be said for the rhetoric of Reaganomics. At best it can claim the title of microeconomic deregulation but, well, Carter.

    ronya on
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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    On the USSR: the USSR fell due to Gorbachev dismantling political control before successfully managing the transition to Socialism with Russian Characteristics (or whatever analogous phrase they might have invented). To observe what might have happened if this had not been done, look to the PRC today.

    Star Wars did not manage to provoke the USSR into spending more, since defense spending did not change significantly across the period. There may be some value to the thesis that AngelHedgie mentioned - that US belligerence allowed the hardliners to cling on to power - but that is more difficult to empirically detect. In any case it is hard to credit Reagan with the fall of the USSR.

    ronya on
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  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime FiresideWizard Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    MagicPrime on
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  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    ronya, you need to tell us how you know so much about economics.

    VeritasVR on
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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I, er, read a lot.

    Unasked-for advice: most bloggers you might come across have an agenda to push, that's why they're motivated to blog. If a case seems particularly persuasive, doubt it more, and look for replies to it from the other side of the fence, then weigh the two. If you can't find a reply, then the article you're reading is just so fringe that it's likely well-written wingnuttery. Keep it in mind, but doubt.

    And you can discard arguments immediately if they start with a sob story (He Lost His Job/Business/etc.) rather than from jumping straight into theory or data. Good theory arguments should have a recognizable theoretical framework (neoclassical/heterodox whatever) and the market failures implied should be immediately obvious - if the writer keeps trying to hide the source of the market imperfection, he's goddamn hiding something. Good data arguments cite sources.

    But more generally on Reaganomics! And Thatcherism. Note that both raised taxes on the middle class. So there is both a net-tax-cut and redistributive (from middle class to rich, relative to previous policy regimes) element. A conservative here might point out that there is still a net payments transfer from the rich to the middle class; just a smaller one. But if your philosophy of taxation is that it is at least partly payment for property protected, then it might be a regressive redistribution, no? Or whatever. The point is to keep the deficit-funded tax-cut and redistributive elements separate.

    On another note - I am afraid that the graph The Ender cites is misleading; in fact median individual income grew fairly rapidly during the Clinton years. This is a point often raised in Clinton's favor (conservatives would charge that the credit goes to the .com boom, not Clinton, but the existence of the boom is hard to dispute). It is true that income inequality within most industries have surged; why this is the case continues to be a mystery (since it is fairly consistent across industries and countries). You need to be a really hardcore Chicago type to say that the top earning CEOs really generate that much surplus value for their shareholders; it doesn't pass the laugh test for most people. But regardless, it is difficult to blame Reagan specifically for it.

    (Note that broader American income inequality statistics are often much less dramatic once demographic changes have been taken into account, and the top 0.01% separated into their own category. Average incomes within each income group are generally improving. The real modern problem is surges in individual risk: variance, not mean. And the US has a particularly leaky safety net.)

    And on the conservatives who claim to be "Reagan conservatives"... well, who are they responding to? Are there Democrats advocating a return to 70s regulation of the airlines, railroads, and gas utilities?

    ronya on
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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Sure, his brain may have been half-rotten with Alzheimers, and he may have had such a disconnect with reality that he felt the need to consult with self-styled "psychics," and he probably couldn't find the bathroom without being led there... but he's the greatest thinker the Republican party has had in the past thirty years.

    Thanatos on
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    ronya dropping knowledge. That's pretty interesting, thanks dude.

    firewaterword on
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  • Saint JusticeSaint Justice Mercenary Mah-vel Baybee!!!Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yes, indeed, how dare that former president suffer from Alzheimers?! Get the torches and pitchforks!

    Saint Justice on
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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Thing is the only thing the GOP remembers about Reagen is low taxes on the rich

    nexuscrawler on
  • PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yes, indeed, how dare that former president suffer from Alzheimers?! Get the torches and pitchforks!

    The Alzheimers kicked in during the first term.

    PantsB on
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  • Protein ShakesProtein Shakes __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Sure, his brain may have been half-rotten with Alzheimers, and he may have had such a disconnect with reality that he felt the need to consult with self-styled "psychics," and he probably couldn't find the bathroom without being led there... but he's the greatest thinker the Republican party has had in the past thirty years.

    That says a lot about GOP, does it not?

    Protein Shakes on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Elitistb wrote: »
    Reagan did sorta help take down the USSR slightly earlier than it would have fallen apart on its own.

    By spending it to death.

    Actually, there's a pretty solid argument to be made that he extended the USSR's lifespan, by allowing the hardliners to retain power due to his belligerence.
    The USSR collapsed (or, more accurately, transformed itself into the CIS and distributed its political authority, then attempted to implement a new model of economics which ended disastrously) primarily because of a huge failure of political will in specific parts of the leaderships or political elites. Before and after the August Coup, they refused to resort to military might to oppose the right of constituent republics to voluntarily succeed, as dictated in their country's very own 1977 Constitution. The "New Union Treaty", which was overwhelmingly popular in Russia, Armenia, the Central Asian republics (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, etc.) and all the autonomous districts (basically, everywhere the vote wasn't boycotted in outright) basically served to prove what people already knew--just because political succession was technically feasible, it was not going to be popular everywhere. This is why Transnistra regularly tells Moldava to fuck off, and why Georgia hasn't ever managed to implement its authority in Ossetia and Abkhazia despite 20 years of trying. It did not save the union itself, however.

    Reagan implemented rises in spending in a time where Soviet spending was actually declining in response to Gorbachev's own personal positions and declining oil revenues (if the USSR still existed today, area-wise, it would almost certainly export more oil than any OPEC nation). So, Reagan probably had much less to do with the actual creation of the CIS, and more to do with the fact that the United States accounts for....6%(?) of the world's population, but 47% of its military spending?

    On the other hand, Reagan did have opportunities to be so belligerent that it could have provoked actual war with the USSR. However, that didn't happen, despite Reagan's insistence that the West was promised to a "crusade" that would purge the world of the "Soviet evil". That, and his love of jokes about bombing. How do you think American politicians would have responded to Gorbachev casually joking, "The Supreme Soviet has passed an edict that makes the United States illegal. Our supersonic bombers will reach firing zones in ten minutes."

    Because that's basically what he said during a microphone check.

    Also, one thing that is almost always overlooked--I don't think it has been mentioned in this thread--he at least publicly professed to being good friends with Effrain Rios Montt, the evangelical Guatemalan military dictator would is responsible for probably upside a hundred thousand deaths in his own country. Reagan may not have actually liked him, personally, but he had nothing but praise for him publicly.

    No one every brings this up, for some reason. I'm not sure why. I guess you could also attribute the large amounts of American military aid and CIA expertise Montt received to the Gipper too, through the chain of command.

    Synthesis on
  • JustinSane07JustinSane07 Really, stupid? Brockton__BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2010
    Ronald Reagan has 6 letters in every part of his name. 666. He is the devil.

    JustinSane07 on
  • YallYall Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    I, er, read a lot.

    Is that your blog linked in your sig?

    Yall on
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Ronald Reagan has 6 letters in every part of his name. 666. He is the devil.

    27489-huey_freeman_150_super.gif

    Cantido on
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  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Thing is the only thing the GOP remembers about Reagen is low taxes on the rich

    Taxes are lower now than they were in the 80s.

    YodaTuna on
  • DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist I swear! Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    Thing is the only thing the GOP remembers about Reagen is low taxes on the rich

    Taxes are lower now than they were in the 80s.

    Most [strike]people[/strike] teabaggers don't know that.

    DisruptedCapitalist on
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  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yes, indeed, how dare that former president suffer from Alzheimers?! Get the torches and pitchforks!

    This is the same President who claimed he was completely unaware that his subordinates were running a complex, ongoing program of illegally selling arms to Iran and then illegally funneling the proceeds to Central American death squads.

    Being able to blame that level of complete, impeachment-worthy incompetence on the early stages of Alzheimer's makes Reagan look better.

    Lawndart on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Yes, indeed, how dare that former president suffer from Alzheimers?! Get the torches and pitchforks!

    This is the same President who claimed he was completely unaware that his subordinates were running a complex, ongoing program of illegally selling arms to Iran and then illegally funneling the proceeds to Central American death squads.

    Being able to blame that level of complete, impeachment-worthy incompetence on the early stages of Alzheimer's makes Reagan look better.

    Hey now, let's not sell Ronnie short, he also supported Death Squads and brutal oppression is other parts of the world too.

    shryke on
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yall wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    I, er, read a lot.

    Is that your blog linked in your sig?

    I wish. No, it's just a snippet I found interesting.

    ronya on
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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    On another note - I am afraid that the graph The Ender cites is misleading; in fact median individual income grew fairly rapidly during the Clinton years. This is a point often raised in Clinton's favor (conservatives would charge that the credit goes to the .com boom, not Clinton, but the existence of the boom is hard to dispute). It is true that income inequality within most industries have surged; why this is the case continues to be a mystery (since it is fairly consistent across industries and countries). You need to be a really hardcore Chicago type to say that the top earning CEOs really generate that much surplus value for their shareholders; it doesn't pass the laugh test for most people. But regardless, it is difficult to blame Reagan specifically for it.

    (Note that broader American income inequality statistics are often much less dramatic once demographic changes have been taken into account, and the top 0.01% separated into their own category. Average incomes within each income group are generally improving. The real modern problem is surges in individual risk: variance, not mean. And the US has a particularly leaky safety net.)

    Alright; could you present a more accurate graph, then?

    I mean, economics is something of a fudging game as far as data is concerned anyway, which I why I've always found it more sensible to focus on the mental faculties of whomever happens to be in charge. Reagan was suffering from mental retardation, and this is indisputable. Call me skeptical of the notion he was implementing rational policies.

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yes, indeed, how dare that former president suffer from Alzheimers?! Get the torches and pitchforks!
    Given what he did for the country?

    It's a shame he didn't live a longer, more pain-filled, horrifically miserable life.

    Really, he deserved, like, one of the hella super-painful cancers. Like stomach, or pancreatic.

    Thanatos on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Also, one thing that is almost always overlooked--I don't think it has been mentioned in this thread--he at least publicly professed to being good friends with Effrain Rios Montt, the evangelical Guatemalan military dictator would is responsible for probably upside a hundred thousand deaths in his own country. Reagan may not have actually liked him, personally, but he had nothing but praise for him publicly.

    Well, here's the thing (and this is purely speculation on my part, based on the content of Reagan's speeches re: Montt):

    I honestly don't think Reagan understood who Montt was or what his junta was doing. Reagan would refer to Montt, on some occasions, as an old fucking war buddy. Now, you'll have some people claim that Reagan meant that in some symbolic way - but when the guy goes off on a rambling tangent about how he and Effrain were flying a combat mission in a phantom over Vietnam, it's pretty darn tough to just explain that away.
    Given what he did for the country?

    It's a shame he didn't live a longer, more pain-filled, horrifically miserable life.

    Really, he deserved, like, one of the hella super-painful cancers. Like stomach, or pancreatic.

    I don't blame the mentally impaired for their incapabilities; If you put someone who is that atrociously ill in charge, hey, you reap what you sow. I can't imagine too many fates worse than slowly losing your mind to death at any rate.

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The Ender wrote: »
    On another note - I am afraid that the graph The Ender cites is misleading; in fact median individual income grew fairly rapidly during the Clinton years. This is a point often raised in Clinton's favor (conservatives would charge that the credit goes to the .com boom, not Clinton, but the existence of the boom is hard to dispute). It is true that income inequality within most industries have surged; why this is the case continues to be a mystery (since it is fairly consistent across industries and countries). You need to be a really hardcore Chicago type to say that the top earning CEOs really generate that much surplus value for their shareholders; it doesn't pass the laugh test for most people. But regardless, it is difficult to blame Reagan specifically for it.

    (Note that broader American income inequality statistics are often much less dramatic once demographic changes have been taken into account, and the top 0.01% separated into their own category. Average incomes within each income group are generally improving. The real modern problem is surges in individual risk: variance, not mean. And the US has a particularly leaky safety net.)

    Alright; could you present a more accurate graph, then?

    I mean, economics is something of a fudging game as far as data is concerned anyway, which I why I've always found it more sensible to focus on the mental faculties of whomever happens to be in charge. Reagan was suffering from mental retardation, and this is indisputable. Call me skeptical of the notion he was implementing rational policies.

    1106aa.gif

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    source

    Two things of note: the median is the 50% percentile - a rough approximation of the middle class. We use the median instead of the mean because the mean hides income inequality caused by surges in top 1% incomes. Furthermore, the graph shows the divergence in incomes and returns to education, not the difference in incomes and returns to education - it sets inequality in 1973 as the baseline.

    There was a long and strenuous argument about incomes in an earlier thread about the American middle class (it started with me invoking real GDP/capita and eventually drilling down to the much more precise graph above). As I recall, we eventually tracked down data broken down by gender and the pattern is similar for male and female workers respectively, so we are not merely observing female wage equalization.

    To understand my remark about demographic changes hiding trends, note (for example) that the divergence in Figure 2 is less than the divergence in Figure 1. It turns out that the highly educated exhibit very great income inequality within their own group; you get superstar professionals and postgraduate TAs earning minimum wage in the same group, for instance. Education permits greater returns but does not guarantee it. As the population gets more educated, overall income inequality correspondingly increases. Likewise (not shown in graph), the age of the average American has become older over time, and older people generally have greater income inequality because they have a longer time to experience varying fortunes. This isn't a new observation.

    Note that even after adjusting for these changes, there is still an increase in income inequality, particularly near the top. But the numbers become less startling.

    So that's the trend line. Whether you credit Carter, Reagan, HW Bush, Clinton, or Act of God is another matter, though. As for policy, well, Volcker would've been sane even if Reagan wasn't.

    ronya on
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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Sure, his brain may have been half-rotten with Alzheimers, and he may have had such a disconnect with reality that he felt the need to consult with self-styled "psychics," and he probably couldn't find the bathroom without being led there... but he's the greatest thinker the Republican party has had in the past thirty years.
    By "greatest" I'm going to assume you mean "only."

    OptimusZed on
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  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Sure, his brain may have been half-rotten with Alzheimers, and he may have had such a disconnect with reality that he felt the need to consult with self-styled "psychics," and he probably couldn't find the bathroom without being led there... but he's the greatest thinker the Republican party has had in the past thirty years.
    By "greatest" I'm going to assume you mean "only."

    Hey, scheming counts as thinking!

    Octoparrot on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Octoparrot wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Sure, his brain may have been half-rotten with Alzheimers, and he may have had such a disconnect with reality that he felt the need to consult with self-styled "psychics," and he probably couldn't find the bathroom without being led there... but he's the greatest thinker the Republican party has had in the past thirty years.
    By "greatest" I'm going to assume you mean "only."

    Hey, scheming counts as thinking!

    ITT: People get their hate on for the GOP.

    Don't get me wrong, if I was an American, I'd do the same thing. But I still think of myself as an observer.

    Synthesis on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The Ender wrote: »
    I mean, economics is something of a fudging game as far as data is concerned anyway, which I why I've always found it more sensible to focus on the mental faculties of whomever happens to be in charge. Reagan was suffering from mental retardation, and this is indisputable. Call me skeptical of the notion he was implementing rational policies.

    Actually, it's very disputable. Most accounts of Reagan's life peg the onset of his Alzheimer's as occurring after he left the White House, and I've yet to see a reputable claim that it could have started before the tail end of his second term.

    It's easy to brush aside Reagan's terrible policy decisions as being caused by deteriorating memory (which is, to nitpick, not mental retardation), except that one of the biggest counterpoints to that argument is that Reagan radically changed his economic policies after they started to negatively impact the economy. The "supply side" bullshit that the modern GOP lionizes Saint Ronnie for only lasted until around 1982.

    Besides, Reagan did things like increase corporate tax rates and sign into law a major amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Are those irrational policies?

    Lawndart on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I've always heard that Reagan simply displayed behavioral symptoms very commonly associated with Alzheimer's well before he left office.

    He didn't actually suffer the accompanying mental handicap until afterward. That's what I've been led to believe.

    Why did he behave like that? Who knows, the guy was kind of an asshole. He thought it would be fun to joke about nuclear war and whatnot.

    Synthesis on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Actually, it's very disputable. Most accounts of Reagan's life peg the onset of his Alzheimer's as occurring after he left the White House, and I've yet to see a reputable claim that it could have started before the tail end of his second term.

    Reagan died of the disease in 2004. He left office in '89.

    What anyone who wants to dispute the claim that he had dementia while in office has to demonstrate, then, is that he had the most aggressive case of Alzheimer's ever (manifesting sometime after '89, and killing him just over 14 years later).

    Dementia is slow & regressive. It takes decades before you get to the point of severe memory less, much more before you get to catatonic incoherency (which is what Ron had for the last years of his life) and yet more before you you finally die of it.
    It's easy to brush aside Reagan's terrible policy decisions as being caused by deteriorating memory (which is, to nitpick, not mental retardation), except that one of the biggest counterpoints to that argument is that Reagan radically changed his economic policies after they started to negatively impact the economy. The "supply side" bullshit that the modern GOP lionizes Saint Ronnie for only lasted until around 1982.

    It's not just memory loss, it's your whole brain shutting down - and yes, it certainly is a form of retardation. I've worked with people with Alzheimer's; it's terrible. Not only do they forget things, but they confuse & conflate old memories with new ones. It's as crippling as any mental disorder.
    Besides, Reagan did things like increase corporate tax rates and sign into law a major amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Are those irrational policies?

    Watch the public speeches Reagan made while these policies were being implemented. You can tell that they weren't his ideas; he has to be prodded along by either aides or lobbyists standing next to him because he gets lost while just reading from what's been transcribed for him.

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The Ender wrote: »
    Also, one thing that is almost always overlooked--I don't think it has been mentioned in this thread--he at least publicly professed to being good friends with Effrain Rios Montt, the evangelical Guatemalan military dictator would is responsible for probably upside a hundred thousand deaths in his own country. Reagan may not have actually liked him, personally, but he had nothing but praise for him publicly.

    Well, here's the thing (and this is purely speculation on my part, based on the content of Reagan's speeches re: Montt):

    I honestly don't think Reagan understood who Montt was or what his junta was doing. Reagan would refer to Montt, on some occasions, as an old fucking war buddy. Now, you'll have some people claim that Reagan meant that in some symbolic way - but when the guy goes off on a rambling tangent about how he and Effrain were flying a combat mission in a phantom over Vietnam, it's pretty darn tough to just explain that away.

    I wasn't aware of this.

    I may be assuming Reagan was more lucid than he really was, but everything I've seen from the time--which admittedly isn't a lot, in part because of what was destroyed purposefully--suggest Reagan knew what Rios Montt was doing, simply because he wasn't original. They'd done the same thing in the 1970s. And the 1950s.

    Reagan simply didn't care. Maybe he was somewhat racist. Maybe he didn't consider people were communists--or associated with communists or shared similar beliefs--to be people. He did call them "evil", after all. Maybe it was a little bit of both.

    I think that was true for at least a while. Reagan didn't care if you killed "evil people", you were doing the world a necessary service, he felt.

    Still, if he went that bonkers later on...who is to say he didn't then?

    Synthesis on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I wasn't aware of this.

    I may be assuming Reagan was more lucid than he really was, but everything I've seen from the time--which admittedly isn't a lot, in part because of what was destroyed purposefully--suggest Reagan knew what Rios Montt was doing, simply because he wasn't original. They'd done the same thing in the 1970s. And the 1950s.

    Reagan simply didn't care. Maybe he was somewhat racist. Maybe he didn't consider people were communists--or associated with communists or shared similar beliefs--to be people. He did call them "evil", after all. Maybe it was a little bit of both.

    Well, I mean, I couldn't say what Reagan did or didn't think of the people of Guatemala; I only have what scraps of video & audio we've been left with, and to me, all of it showcases a man who has no idea what's going on around him. When prompted with challenges over the military support given to the Contras, for example, Reagan's face simply washed over with confusion & frustration. Well, of course he was funding the Contras, because they had helped America beat the Nazis in Vietnam and assassinated Stalin with an ice axe (that's not actually what his retort was, of course, but that's the sort of shuffling & mixing of various memories that I imagine was going on in the man's head).

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The hilarious/sad part is, despite so often seeming to not know WTF he was doing, he was crazy popular because he "made people feel proud to be American" or whatever.

    The ultimate triumph of image. Doesn't matter how much he knew about what was going on, he looked good so he won elections.

    shryke on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    There's a non trivial percentage of the American populace that wants someone with far fewer mental faculties than they have running the country

    override367 on
  • Element BrianElement Brian Peanut Butter Shill Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Bush Sr wasnt too bad...

    Element Brian on
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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YK16LgrrRY

    This stint is among the best examples of Reagan's early signs of dementia. He sings, dances, does the whole PR bit at Shamrock with Mulroney. All seems good and well (...sort of. Reagan's movements are a bit wooden, though that could be from an number of things).


    Then we get the reports afterward. By nearly any account, Reagan - who had known Mulroney for years and were described as being good friends - repeatedly got Brian's name wrong, and finally (after numerous corrections by Nancy) got about as close to saying the Prime Minister's name correctly as he got for the evening with the name 'Byron Muldoon'. The 'Shamrock summit' name itself was apparently also a source of confusion for the old guy, because he repeatedly declared that the evening was one of the finest he'd ever had in Ireland and told at least one patron that his home country should be happy to have such a wonderful leader as 'Byron Muldoon'.

    The Ender on
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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Actually, it's very disputable. Most accounts of Reagan's life peg the onset of his Alzheimer's as occurring after he left the White House, and I've yet to see a reputable claim that it could have started before the tail end of his second term.

    You might want to read up on Edith Wilson to understand why such accounts are questionable.

    AngelHedgie on
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