DON’T BLAME BUSH—IT’S REALLY REAGAN’S FAULT

Yes, yes, yes, we know. Obama inherited a mess from Bush and it’s not his fault that the nation still hasn’t recovered. Lame excuse. At least that’s how Republicans view the issue. They want Obama to stand up and take responsibility for the deficit and growing national debt, for the high unemployment rate, and for sundry other perceived wrongs imposed on America.

These same Republicans worship at the (probably now decomposed) feet of Ronald Reagan. To them he was the ideal President who parlayed low tax rates and wise spending into the greatest prosperity this Republic has ever known.

Well, if they believe the memories of Obama and his supporters are too acute in always leading back to George W. Bush, Republican memories are even worse for the sadly mistaken fantasies they have created around Reagan when the truth is quite different.

Alzheimers patients (always a tragic situation) are legendary for their inability to recall names and faces and events from their recent past while being able to recite accurately from their personal histories dating back decades.

Republicans differ in that they refuse to remember the recent past, accurately or not, and fondly relate the decades old stories of Reagan as if they were in a fiction writing contest.

Oh, hell, now you insist on examples. You fools. Do you not realize by now that my life is one big example…both good and bad…for living and my blog entries on political matters are replete with examples.

Well, I’ll begin with an easy one. The past few days a viral video has been in circulation in which a woman on welfare (who happens to fulfill many of the “welfare queen stereotypes popular with the right…and Reagan himself) profusely thanks Obama for her free cell phone. Of course that reinforces the conservative scenario of Obama giving things to the poor to secure their electoral backing.

The Communications Act of 1934 first authorized a program to provide telephone service to poor families.

Actually called the “Lifeline program,” the legislation permits some households to receive a free landline under Congress’s rationale that “telephone service provides a vital link to emergency services, government services and surrounding communities.”  http://www.salon.com/2012/09/29/conservatives_obama_phone_flip_out/

AND it was President Reagan who first implemented this legislation which was later expanded to include cell phones.

Next we will take on the national debt, far better than it has usually been addressed by Republican Presidents.

There is no argument that the debt has increased greatly since Obama took office. But his chief contribution was his stimulus plan while the great bulk of the increase would have occurred no matter who had been elected. See this for details: https://umoc193.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/obama-made-the-national-debt-soar-uh-not-so-fast/

But while Obama has been slammed for reckless spending and a stagnating recovery from the Bush era ending recession, he actually has not spent nearly enough by the standards of past recoveries.

Three years into previous postwar recoveries, government spending had risen an average 12.5 percent. In the first three years after the 1981-82 recession, during President Ronald Reagan’s first term, the economy got a jolt from a 15 percent increase in government spending and investment.

This time, state and local governments have been slashing spending — and jobs. And since passing President Barack Obama’s $862 billion stimulus package in 2009, a divided Congress has been reluctant to try to help the economy with federal spending programs. Trying to contain the $11.1 trillion federal debt has been a higher priority.

Since June 2009, governments at all levels have slashed 642,000 jobs, the only time government employment has fallen in the three years after a recession. This long after the 1973-74 recession, by contrast, governments had added more than 1 million jobs. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-08-15/economic-recovery-is-weakest-since-world-war-ii

So let’s see, the government spending increased 15% during Reagan’s recovery, the highest on record during this period. And, by the way, the national debt tripled from just over $900 billion when he took office to almost $2.7 trillion by the time Reagan left.

And now for my grand finale. What has Obama been slammed more for than any other accomplishment of his? Why health care, of course. His Affordable Care Act and its individual mandate barely survived the Supreme Court in June. But why was that mandate included in reform in the first place?

Oh, yes, St. Ronnie is again prominent here. In 1986 the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) was passed whch required hospitals accepting Medicare (just about all of them) to treat in their emergency rooms anyone who came in the door, including illegal immigrants.

Well in a way that upset the apple cart of great conservative minds who believe in individual responsibility. (No complaints from me in that regard). Thus, putting the collective noodles at the Heritage Foundation to work in 1989 they cooked up a proposal to require all persons without health insurance to procure the same with penalties imposed for refusing to do so. (And a fine al dente dish these noodles produced)

In 1993 when Hillary Clinton was in the midst of fighting for her health care reform plan a group of Senators, all but two Republicans, co-sponsored a bill that would impose that very requirement.

A more detailed review of the mandate background can be found here. http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2012/02/07/the-tortuous-conservative-history-of-the-individual-mandate/

So just as all roads led to Rome, so do all the deeds Barack Obama is criticized for lead to Ronald Reagan.

In the future when a blue ribbon committee is formed to determine which Socialist President gets to be honored with a statue Reagan will have priority on the list of eligibles over Obama.

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