The end of an era. Reagan has finally traveled to the great beyond, where I’m sure they use supply-side economics. For those Neo-Keynesians out there, I think that it was very brave to try something different, but I don’t think it really worked. Keynes had all his bases covered until Jimmy Carter managed to really screw things up. Of course, the oil shock of the late 70’s had more to do with the stagflation than Carter did, but you could definitely say that Carter had a hand in it. Reagan was the man that, although he proclaimed a radical new plan through his supply-side and “trickle-down” concepts, did exactly what Keynes himself would have done if he were running the Fed.
And it sucked. It sucked for the hundreds of thousands of people that were thrown out of work by the steep interests rates. Putting the skids on an overheating economy always causes unemployment. This is no surprise, but certainly didn’t make it any easier for those hit by the cuts. But without these drastic steps, the rampant inflation could have quickly turned to hyperinflation, and would have ruined us.
But Reagan had a bigger agenda than throwing people out of work. He wasn’t in the business of deficit spending “just for the hell of it.” He had a purpose in his massive spending. The goal, to spend more than Russia. The only way to beat Russia in the Cold War was to build a bigger arsenal than they could afford. And build it he did. Why do you think we marched through Iraq so easily in ’91? It was because of Reagans military buildup. And Reagans campaign was successful, and Communist Russia fell. Of course, it helped that Gorbachev was willing to stand up against the hardliners in his country, but even without him, Reagan would have eventually won his Cold War.
I hear so many liberals talking about “why are we spending so much money building up the military, when we have so many poor people in the US?” Well, the answer to that is very simple. It is the governments responsibility… perhaps only real responsibility, to protect the country from foreign threats. If people here are poor, uneducated, or homeless, it is not because opportunity doesn’t exist. They have either chosen a path which prevents them from succeeding, or haven’t taken the necessary steps to be in a position to succeed. If someone is poor or homeless because they are an alcholic, that’s sad. But it’s their fault, not the goverments, and not ours as taxpayers. If someone chose not to go to college, and they can only get a minimum wage job, that’s not our fault either. And don’t tell me that you can’t go to college if you start out poor. Come on, folks. Anyone can go to college. I had a professor that wanted to attend Rochester Institute of Technology. He didn’t have a dime, and didn’t have any experience to get a good job. So he worked fast food, lived underneath someone’s porch, and took out student loans. Now, he is an endowed chair of a department pulling in 120K per year. So don’t tell me that some people don’t have the chance to make good. I worked 60+ hours a week and went to school at night and on the weekends to get it done. I spent tons of money on tuition, but no one paid for it for me. I didn’t get scholarships, and there was no college fund to pay my way. It’s true that some people have an easier time of it than others, but everyone can do it if they’re willing to make the sacrifices.
The truth of the matter is, there are many people that are unwilling to sacrifice the time, money, or other activities they could be doing. So next time you start to feel sorry for someone, ask yourself “Are they struggling because life dealt them an unfair hand, or are they suffering because they would rather blame others than be proactive and do something to improve the situation?” In my opinion, if the person isn’t trying to help themself, then they don’t deserve my help.
This sort of turned into a tirade about social responsibility, when it was supposed to be a tribute to Ronald Reagan.
So here’s to the Gipper, the man who won the Cold War, and the man of the century, whether or not Time Magazine has the guts to say so. May we be fortunate enough to have another president with half his character.