FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Fat Cats and Ronald Reagan: a Prelude to Donald Trump 

“When it came to corporate greed, the Great Communicator [Ronald Reagan] was also the Great Enabler.”

– William Kleinknecht

This biography is a scathing, and well deserved, indictment of that “empty suit” Ronald Reagan, and his ultra-grasping political creed, “Reaganism,” which directly led to the “Financial Meltdown of 2008.” The disastrous economic legacy of “hyper capitalism,” that this “free market” zealot sold the country, (1981-89), along with his mean-spirited “gutting of the public sector,” is fully documented by the author William Kleinknecht.

Reagan is that same pious faker, who believed in “flying saucers” and let an astrologer set “his presidential schedule,” and “repeatedly misrepresented the past as a laissez-faire utopia.” The tome is entitled: “The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America, (2010).”

It’s appropriate that the author had experience as a “crime reporter.” What he has written about, in a real sense, are enormous wrongs against the people–against the public good, that threaten the very existence of the Republic.

Kleinknecht doesn’t pull any punches. He’s furious over the fact that many still buy into the “myth of Reagan.” He insists that Reagan was “the least patriotic president in American history,” and that his economic policies helped to “wipe out the high-paying jobs that were the real backbone of the country,” leaving so many “psychically adrift.”

By promoting “self interest and profit,” Reagan caused a “final rout of traditional human values…Trickle-down economics had proven to be a fallacy.”

The author examined the instruments of Reaganism: such as: “mergers, deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, privatization [and] globalization.” He concluded that these devices also helped “to weaken the family and eradicate small-town life and the sense of community,” like in the town where Reagan was born in 1911–Dixon, Illinois.

In early 1981, President Reagan pushed into law a “dramatic rollback in domestic spending.” It hit the state of Illinois particularly hard. The author reveals “an early casualty” of the cuts was a home for “the mentally retarded,” located in Dixon. It was then the city’s largest employer, with 1,200 employees. As a result of federal cuts in Medicaid funding, it had to shut its doors.

In mid-January, 2009, I was in Los Angeles, CA, visiting with family. The weather was just delightful, so, one day, I signed up to take a bus tour, which included a sojourn up into the hills west of the city.

When we were in the ritzy Bel Air area, a mostly faux-gated community, the driver pointed out where the late President Reagan was living at the time of his death, on June 5, 2004, at the age of 94. It was a huge multimillion dollar mansion, fit for royalty, supposedly purchased for him, and his wife, by Fat Cat Republicans. I was shocked, there were no sidewalks!

Reagan’s public persona was crafted, to a great extent, from 1937 to 1965, while working as an actor in “B” films in Tinseltown. On the surface, he came across as a motor mouth, incapable of grasping the complexity of any situation. He knew only black and white. (Does that remind you of someone who’s sitting in the White House today?)

The shadow side of Reagan, however, reveals that he was a snitch for the FBI, who ratted out his fellow members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), during the days of the “Red Scare.”

Reagan also was a notorious womanizer, according to Marc Eliot’s expose: “Reagan: The Hollywood Years.” It was Reagan, too, as U.S. President, Kleinknecht reminds us, who “inspired union-busters…by ruthlessly firing the more than 11,000 striking air-traffic controllers, [PATC0)], and breaking their union in 1981.” For that act alone, many unionists are hoping he’s frying in hell.

Kleinknecht, rightly so, dedicates an entire chapter to Reaganism, and what he describes as, “The Looting of America.” The point man for President Reagan and his reckless scheme to let the Banksters run amuck on Wall Street was his Secretary of the Treasury, Donald T. Regan, a former honcho at Merrill Lynch. He pushed in the U.S. Congress for the “deregulation of the financial sector.”

It would be wrong to blame only Republicans for Reaganism. Kleinknecht shows that the then-Speaker of the House, Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, now deceased, tried to put the brakes on Reagan’s daffy economic ideas, but that he soon – in April, 1981- caved in and waved the “white flag.”

There is just so much more in Kleinknecht’s book. He writes, in detail, about how Reagan, and his agents of deregulation, cruelly dismantled a “remarkably affluent and egalitarian society,” that had been built up over a hundred years from combining the “sweep of Populism, Progressivism and the New Deal.”

The Wirepullers, mostly from the “Sun Belt,” who pushed Reagan onto the national stage, didn’t give a good hoot about “abortion, affirmative action or school prayers.” They wanted “deep cuts in taxes and government regulators out of the way.” Reagan gave the Fat Cats, aka, the greedy one percent gang, what they wanted.

What did America get in return? Try disasters, like: the S&L Scandal, AIG, Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Lehman Brothers and the cheating Bernard Madoff. It is time for those who have bought into the “Myth of Reagan” to own up to the grim reality.

At the moment, according to Forbes magazine, the three richest Americans hold more wealth than the “bottom fifty percent of the country.” That says a lot about the inequity of our federal tax system. The current occupant of the Oval Office, Donald Trump, another Fat Cat and a Republican, hasn’t done a thing to change it.

When Trump signed into law a tax bill in December, 2017, he supposedly told his cronies at Mar-a-Lago, “you all just got a lot richer” for Christmas. The bill lashed rates for “top earners and corporations,” according to CBS News. Experts estimated that Trump, himself, would save “eleven million dollars under the new plan.” Predictably, Trump claimed that he “wouldn’t benefit from it.”

Fast forward to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its disturbing consequences. Start with this important one: the stock market has been acting very shaky. Be on guard, if the Fat Cats, led by Trump, try to pull off a “bail out” of it at the expense of the vast majority of Americans.

Finally, it is long past the time for the people to wake-up and take their country back. And, when they do, they can thank author Kleinknecht for his fine book debunking the phony legend surrounding that ex-Hollywood B-Film Actor, one Ronald Reagan – a prelude to Donald Trump.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail