Monday, January 30, 2017
Reagan Is Remembered As A Good President - He Wasn't
The chart above reflects the results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between January 23rd and 25th of a random national sample of 2,692 adults, with a margin of error of 2.3 points.
Respondents were asked to rate the past six presidents (and their expectation of Trump) on how good a president they were. A plurality rated Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as above average. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were rated average by a plurality. George W. Bush was rated below average by a plurality, and Donald Trump is expected to also be below average by a plurality.
But the president with the highest rating of all is Ronald Reagan. He was rated as above average by a 58% majority. Frankly, I am astounded by that. People must be responding to the myth created around Reagan by the right-wing. Although Reagan was imminently likable as a person, I do not believe he was a good president.
Why would I say that? Because of the economic policies initiated during his administration. The Regan administration was the start of the GOP trickle-down economic policy -- the belief that all of Americans could be benefited by giving more to the rich (because they would then share their new wealth with all other Americans). That was a naive policy at best, and more likely just a stupid one. The rich didn't share their new wealth -- they hoarded it.
The policy did result in a vast new wealth and income for the rich, but it never trickled down to the rest of America. In fact, because the economic playing field had been tilted to favor the rich, American workers were hurt -- as their wages remained stagnant (and their buying power was reduced steadily by inflation). The result, after a few decades, was a huge gap in wealth and income between the rich and the rest of America -- the largest gap since the 1920's (immediately before the Great Depression).
This led directly to the Great Recession in the Bush administration. But Republicans did not learn their economic lesson. They still cling to Reagan's trickle-down economic policy, and just believe that it will still work -- if even more is given to the rich through more massive tax cuts for them. Sadly, our new president agrees with them and we can expect the wealth and income gap to continue growing larger (and setting us up for an even more serious recession than under the Bush II administration).
Ronald Reagan was not a good president. He was the architect of a bad economic policy that has done much harm to the economy and the country.