Sunday, December 23, 2007

The ghost of Ronald Reagan

I don't really understand why some get all worked up about Ronald Reagan, considering him to be the greatest president we've ever had. He's supposed to be the standard bearer of all things conservative.

Now, I was just starting to become "politically aware" during Reagan's terms, but from my stand point at the time, I didn't think too highly of him.

Especially of his budget director David Stockman.

The fact that the name of the president's budget director can become etched into the memory of a 12 year old must mean something.

In my case, Stockman, and Reagan by proxy, was the guy that wanted to put my father's farming operation out business. He was the one that basically said we were not needed anymore.

I remember going to the National Farm Crisis Rally in Ames in January 1985 and seeing a fake coffin that said "Drive a nail into David Stockman's coffin." That stuck with me.

I remember Reagan saying "Maybe we should keep the grain and export the farmers." That stuck with me.

So, maybe the rest of the world was better off because of Ronald Reagan, but I didn't think so at the time.

Of course, he did help bring down the Soviet Union, and I think that was a good thing. Too bad we decided to keep our bloated military structure, instead of reconfiguring it to meet different threats.

And he did get inflation under control. That was a good thing, too. But we spent ourselves into the red with budget deficits that we still have today.

So, Ronaldus Magnus, as Rush Limbaugh would like to say, isn't atop my most favorite president list. I can't stand by and agree with other conservatives that he is the standard by which today's conservatives must be measured. Not with what has been etched in my memory.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Mr. BGunzy, I read your columns from time to time, and find that I agree with you more than not and most if not all disagreements can be found on the social/religious side of the ledger as opposed to the fiscal side, which I am nearly always in agreement. I will allow that you admit to being at a young age at the time but coming off the (literal) heels of the Carter presidency, 12+% inflation, 22% interest rates, low national morale and poorly made American products ("never order a car that you know will be made in Detroit on Monday"), 60% personal taxes and the same for corporate, a losing quarrel with iran, well, I was then and continue to be in awe of one man that was able to turn a country in as much mess as we were then, and to completely turn it atound in less than 5 years. I saw my dad start a small business in the late 60's, struggle but was quite successful, become literally prosperous in the Reagan years. Since our GDP was growing exponentially (new businesses, higher tax receipts), our debt (ratio) could, too, because a little debt (for growth) is good! It's the moron we have in there now who, with former President Carter, is a twin son of different mothers. He is not a Republican! Oh yeah, I'd like to forget but I can't, he DOES control the so-called Republic Right but all comparisaons to Regan end there.

The farm crisis in the early 80's had very little to do with Reagan other than his control initiatives over inflation. Mostly, people paid just too much for their land and couldn't pencil it out. It wan't a business then, I guess. Sadly, my thinking is, this may again be repeated sometime in the next five to fifteen years...under a completely different presidency.

The Reagan initiatives allowed my dad, a driven hard-working man, to finally enjoy the fruits of his labor, labor that had been expending the previous 15 years. With that money he ended up buying 5,000 acres of rich Iowa land at bargain basement prices. That.beautiful.awesome land is still in our family today. IT...is (and was) a gift from God.

11:34 PM, December 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction: Last line in Paragraph one above should say 'Christian (or Religious) Right', not 'Republic Right' as stated. My apologies....

11:50 PM, December 25, 2007  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Fair enough statements - Carter was a terrible president and did nothing to help the economy. Reagan's measures may have hurt at the time, but, as you mention, we've be able to prosper because of them over time.

12:50 PM, December 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To really understand why the Gipper was and is so popular, you would have had to experience the entire, God-awful Jimmah Cahtah presidency. This miserable wimp single handedly created the Iran Islamofascism problem, gave the Panama Canal to the "People's Republic" of China, devalued the dollar by 2/3rds and set in motion the energy crisis which we still contend with. He pledged energy independence while enacting a mining law that closed virtually every small family owned coal mining businesses in the US. He signaled the Soviets that they could maintain their Eastern Europe slave state status without challenge and cut defense spending to the point where even North Korea believed they could get away with various murders and kidnappings in Asia.
Reagan reversed every one of this boob's policies and laid the groundwork for the more than 300 months of economic health we have enjoyed to date.
Someone insulated from the decispline of the marketplace, as many farmers are, might not have noticed the change from 1977-1981, but most of the rest of working America did.

10:30 AM, December 27, 2007  

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