Tuesday, July 21, 2015

best / worst President, depending on who you ask

i don't particularly have a favorite, as each President is human, and therefore flawed in some measure... but i came across this article from 2011 that purported the worst President of our lifetime was (*drumroll*) Ronald Reagan... again, there are pros and cons for all, but really?... Reagan?... and in 2011, you pick him?

let's compare with my current front-runner for worst President of our lifetime... any guesses?... no cheating, now.

1. Reagan cut taxes for the Rich, increased taxes on the Middle Class -
When Reagan came into office in January of 1981, the top tax rate was 70%, but when he left office in 1989 the top tax rate was down to only 28%.
Reagan raised taxes seven of the eight years he was in office and the tax increases were felt hardest by the lower and middle class.
using the data freely available to me (see sources, below), let's examine... technically, the numbers are correct... except, in 1981, there were sixteen (yes, 16) different tax rates, from $0 up to $544,054 (married filing jointly)... in 1989, there were TWO, from $0 to $57,306 (MFJ)... comparatively, in '81, those earning around $57,000 paid 28%; the same as they paid in '89.

the idea that taxes were raised, much less that they were "felt hardest by the lower and middle class" is erroneous... more than that, it's false.

COMPARE: in 2009, the top rate was 35% (over $399,125 MFJ)... the tax rates have been virtually unchanged since being modified in 1993, and have remained similar through 2013.

2. Tripling the National Debt -
As Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, the government was left with less money to spend. When Reagan came into office the national debt was $900 billion, by the time he left the national debt had tripled to $2.8 trillion.
oh, you really shouldn't have gone there... again, his numbers are correct... but they are misleading... but rather than refute his facts, let's get straight to the COMPARE.

COMPARE: from 2009 through 2011 (date of the article), the National Debt rose from $10 trillion to $14 trillion... as percentages go, not bad... but it still rose $4,000,000,000,000 in three years... compare that to the $2 trillion over eight years.

3. Iran/Contra -
In 1986, a group of Americans were being held hostage by a terrorist group with ties to Iran. In an attempt to free the hostages, Ronald Reagan secretly sold arms and money to Iran.
screw it...

COMPARE: in 2011, the US armed Syrian rebels to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad... these weapons were used against the US and recently freed people of Iraq by ISIS (Islamic State of Iran and Syria)... in addition, it is speculated that arms being sent to Libyan rebels were being diverted to Syria.

4. Reagan funded Terrorists -
Prepping for a possible war with the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan spent billions of dollars funding the Islamist mujahidin Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan.

COMPARE: see ISIS, above... also, in 2015, the US made an agreement with Iran, one of the world's largest known supporters of international terrorism, to fund their nuclear program... this is especially terrifying since the standard, and unchanged, mantra of Iran is "Death to America".

5. Unemployment issues -
When Ronald Reagan came into office 1981, unemployment was at 7.5%. As 1982 came to a close, unemployment was nearly 11%. Unemployment began to drop as the years went on, but the jobs that were created were low paying and barely helped people make ends meet.
this is getting too easy... in January of 1981, when Reagan took the oath of office, the Labor Participation Rate was 63.9%... when he left office in January of 1989, the Rate was 66.5%... not even accounting for the growth of the population, that's more people employed... additionally, the mean household income for the lowest fifth of the population (in adjusted 2013 dollars) rose from $4,602 in '81 to $6,994 in '89... the middle fifth rose from $18,991 to $28,925... that's right, more people working making more money.

COMPARE: in 2008, the lowest fifth made $11,656... by 2011 (date of the article), they made only $11,239... in 2008, the middle fifth made $50,132, and dropped to $49,842 by 2011.

in January of 2008, the Labor Participation Rate was 66.2%... very near same rate as at the end of Reagan's term... by January of 2011, the Rate was 64.2%, or very near the rate as in '81... by January of 2015, the Rate was 62.9%... need we go further?

6. Ignoring AIDS -
By the time the 1980s came around, AIDS had become one of the most frightening things to happen to the country in recent memory. No one understood what AIDS and HIV really was and when people don't understand something, they become scared of it. Instead of grabbing the bull by the horns and taking charge, Reagan kept quiet.
first, the article says "no one understood what AIDS" really was... but then it wanted Reagan to make some statement about it... for the record, Reagan first mentioned AIDS, in response to a question at a press conference, on Sept. 17, 1985:
"I have been supporting it for more than 4 years now. It's been one of the top priorities with us, and over the last 4 years, and including what we have in the budget for '86, it will amount to over a half a billion dollars that we have provided for research on AIDS in addition to what I'm sure other medical groups are doing. And we have $100 million in the budget this year; it'll be 126 million next year. So, this is a top priority with us. Yes, there's no question about the seriousness of this and the need to find an answer."

COMPARE: there is simply nothing as major and vast as the AIDS epidemic... the only thing even in the same vein would be the Africa ebola outbreak in 2013, in which aid workers were allowed freely back into the US from ebola quarantine countries.

7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million Undocumented Immigrants -
Reagan gave nearly 3 million undocumented workers amnesty. All the laws that would have cracked down on companies who hire undocumented workers were, of course, removed from the bill.
this was the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986... which also required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status... it also made it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly... this was too easy.

COMPARE: not deporting illegal immigrants who are caught on non-felony charges, the DREAM Act, and the revision of removal practices which "prioritize" the removal of illegal immigrants... these are a few of the actual de facto amnesties which have taken place betwen 2008 and 2015.

8. His attack on Unions and the Middle Class -
On August 3rd, 1981, PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) went on strike in an effort to get better pay and safer working conditions. Two days later, taking the side of business, Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 workers for not returning to work.
everyone remembers this... Reagan enforced the provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947... while this move was wildly unpopular, it was not simply Reagan being anti-union... a federal court had previously ordered the controllers back to work.

COMPARE: please... you can't be any more pro-union than the current administration.

9. Reagan raided the Social Security Trust fund -
In order to counteract his own economic policies, Ronald Reagan needed to find somewhere else to get revenue. Listening to Alan Greenspan and other advisers, Ronald Reagan raided the Social Security Trust Fund and replaced it with glorified IOU's.
when Reagan came to office, the Social Security "Trust fund" (a misleading term that has nothing to do with Reagan, but more with President Johnson) was spending more than it was taking in... about $2 million more in the red... by 1989, the "fund" was $53 million in the black... Reagan actually saved Social Security... you're welcome.

COMPARE: the Social Security "Trust fund" is on the rocks... not from high outlays, but by restricting access to Social Security... be it by raising the age requirement or restricting access for disability payments, Social Security has issues... however, these are probably intrinsic problems, not caused by the current administration.

10. Endless worship and never-ending praise -
Ronald Reagan left office in January of 1989 and nearly 25 years later he is held up high by the modern Republican party.
as seen above, i don't believe this is really a problem.

COMPARE: public school children were instructed to sing praises to President Obama in 2009... is there anything really more to say?

10 reasons why Ronald Reagan was the worst president of our lifetime by Robert Sobel - Orlando Liberal Examiner


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