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Ronald Reagan Was Wrong About Government

I’ve heard a lot of Republicans quoting Ronald Reagan lately, as they’re arguing in favor of continuing to neglect Americans’ health care. Their favorite Reagan line:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

ronald reaganReally? Those are the most terrifying nine words in the English language? Are they more more terrifying than, “My insurance says it won’t cover my cancer treatments”?

How about “Republicans want to take away my Social Security again”?

My four year-old daughter is starting participation in a Pre-Kindergarten program tomorrow. It’s run through the cooperation of several levels of government, running up from my village and county all the way to the federal government. It’s a terrific program for families in my community, and people from all sorts of economic backgrounds participate.

No one I’ve talked to about this Pre-K program has reacted in fear because it’s a government program. Everyone I’ve talked to seems to appreciate that it’s available for kids who are ready for exposure to an educational environment before the age of five. It works really well, and our community would be much poorer if it didn’t exist. My village is grateful for these people who come from the government, because yes, they’re here to help, and they do a great job at it.

Ronald Reagan may have had a lot of funny Hollywood stories to tell, but he didn’t know what the heck he was talking about when it comes to the role of the government in the everyday lives of the American people.

3 comments to Ronald Reagan Was Wrong About Government

  • randy ray haugen

    how right you are. the favorite line for republicans against health care is paraphrasing that reagan quote. they can’t comprehend that the goverment is already doing many big things and are not doing that badly at it. problems? yes,always works in progress. they don’t realise how much the government does.
    the freeway system ( anyone driving cross country)
    air traffic control (anyone flying safely)
    the school system (ask any student with loans)
    unemployment benefits (ask any construction worker)
    social security (ask any disabled)
    medicare (ask any senior)
    the u.s. military!!! (ask any of these feeble minded right-wingers who has the best military? who’s soldiers are the most extensively trained? who has the most advanced weaponry? they don’t hesitate a nano seconds before they slap themselves on the back and give the credit to old uncle sam. then tell them that’s the same uncle we want to run health care and their tongue seems to tie up in knots and come out spiting b.s.)

  • Jim S.

    Ronald Reagan led the movement for the “free market” and “trickle down” economics, both of which has been proven to have fatal flaws. He failed to acknowlege the real weakness of human beings to be dishonest and corrupt and greedy. Those things, combined with no real regulations or oversight has allowed the dishonest and greedy to virtually destroy our economic system since he was president. He was an idealistic President with a pollyana view of government and the economy. Unless we get some real courage and eliminate lobbyists who buy our congressmen, regulate the markets to prevent corruption and uncontrolled greed, and begin to enforce our laws and put crooks in jail for a long time and send a message, we are going to lose our country and our government and economic system.

    • qs

      What a joke. The entire “trickle down” characterization was a criticism of Reagan’s goal of maximizing tax revenue.

      Specifically what the laffer curve was referencing were the effects of dead weight loss on tax revenue. If you look at a supply and demand curve, you can raise tax revenue and this is an additive effect. 1+1=2 etc.

      However, the dead weight loss is growing geometrically on two dimensions. The dead weight loss starts off small, but as you raise the tax rates higher and higher and higher, you end up getting a dead weight loss that is growing disproportionately to how much you’re raising then tax weights.

      This is a complicated way to explain it though.

      How about how much revenue would the government get if you set the personal income tax at say 100%? They would get nothing of course. Well how much revenue would they get if you set it at 0%? nothing of course.

      So the best way to steal from the workers is to find somewhere in the middle. Centrist modern day liberals know this even Clinton, and the new argument is where is the best point to steal as much revenue as possible.

      Somewhere in the 30%-50% range seems to be the going range of though.

      But some still want to reduce the argument to “trickle down” even most micro books talk about this debate in a non-ad hoc approach.

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