Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Gipper continued
"The public debt increased by 178 percent between fiscal 1981 and fiscal 1989 rising from $789.4 billion to $2190.7 billion. Stated differently, when Reagan left office his eight year administration was accountable for 64 percent of all the debt incurred by this government since the beginning of the republic. The interest payments required to finance the debt created under his administration has exceeded more than $100 billion a year every year since he left office. If one calculates the compounding effect of the debt and the interest payments on the debt the cost to the Treasury thus far has been more than $3 trillion."

"During the late 1980s one of the largest financial disasters of the 20th century erupted when it became apparent that hundreds of savings and loan institutions across the country had insufficient funds to allow depositors to withdraw money from their accounts. Before it was over, U.S. taxpayers were forced to pay more than $150 billion to close and consolidate the failed institutions. While the crisis was not the result of a single factor, it is clear that a number of Reagan administration policies contributed greatly to the disaster. These included: the 1982 legislation deregulating the S & L industry and encouraging the industry to diversify, the appointment of regulators to the Home Loan Bank Board who actively encouraged the industry to engage in high risk investing; promulgation of new regulations that allowed accounting practices that concealed the extent of S & L insolvency; 1981 tax legislation creating powerful tax incentives for purchasing commercial real estate and causing dramatic inflation in real estate values; 1986 tax legislation reversing the tax advantages for real estate ownership adopted five years earlier; delay in recognizing the true scope of the problem and shutting down failed institutions before they could borrow more money and increase taxpayer liability. All of these actions were either taken as a result of legislation signed into law by the president or by regulations or regulatory actions taken by people whom he appointed."

The amount of information here leaves me dumbfounded as to where to begin:
"All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk." --Ronald Reagan (Republican candidate for president), quoted in the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press, February 15, 1980

"Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal." --Ronald Reagan, quoted in Time, May 17, 1976

"The Reagan admininstration was one of the most corrupt in American history, including by one estimate 31 Reagan era convictions, including 14 because of Iran-Contra and 16 in the Department of Housing & Urban Development scandal. By comparison 40 government officials were indicted or convicted in the wake of Watergate. 47 individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine were convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes with 33 of these occurring during the Clinton administration itself. There were in addition 61 indictments or misdemeanor charges. 14 persons were imprisoned.

Using a looser standard that included resignations, David R. Simon and D. Stanley Eitzen in Elite Deviance, say that 138 appointees of the Reagan administration either resigned under an ethical cloud or were criminally indicted. Curiously Haynes Johnson uses the same figure but with a different standard in "Sleep-Walking Through History: America in the Reagan Years: "By the end of his term, 138 administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations."

Four members of the Reagan cabinet came under criminal investiation, as compared with five in the Clinton cabinet. Three top officials of the Harding administration were in indicted in the Teapot Dome scandal."

"The claim that Reagan won the Cold War is pure rightwing propaganda. The Soviet Union had long been far weaker than many American leaders knew, or wished to acknowledge, thanks to CIA gross overestimates of its economy. The Soviet Union was brought down by a number of factors including the inherent weaknesses of dictatorship and ethnic divides that eventually forced its breakup."

William Blum: "[George Kennan], the former US ambassador to the Soviet Union, and father of the theory of 'containment' of the same country, asserts that 'the suggestion that any United States administration had the power to influence decisively the course of a tremendous domestic political upheaval in another great country on another side of the globe is simply childish.' He contends that the extreme militarization of American policy strengthened hard-liners in the Soviet Union. 'Thus the general effect of Cold War extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union.'"

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