Are we better off than we were at the beginning of the Reagan era?
Remember the eighties? Ronald Reagan's election ushered in a turn to conservative policies that swept over the nation, changing our core culture. In 1987's "Wall Street," Michael Douglas won the Oscar for best actor while telling us that "Greed is good."
The current crop of GOP presidential hopefuls have begun to distance themselves from the current administration and wish to invoke the legacy of the Reagan era.
Before we get nostalgic, let's look at one or two present challenges that are true legacies of our national infatuation with conservatism. Currently households in the bottom 20% only receive %5 of the national income. I recall the Republican war cry of "redistribution of wealth." Well there really has been a redistribution of wealth in America; to the wealthy.
The minimum wage, established in 1938, has been a tool that Congress has used to employ economic justice. The Federal minimum wage has been unchanged since 1997, this is for the longest period in it's history. When did these long stretches of Congressional inaction begin? January 1981, after Ronald Reagan became President.
Opponents of wage reform trot out the tired and fallacious arguments that minimum wage increases will price low wage workers out of jobs, cause mass failures in small businesses; cause the Earth to alter its' orbit and destroy all life on the planet; okay not the last one.
The truth is that conservatism has led America down a garden path to a precarious world position. Yes we are the only military superpower; we ought to remember that at the beginning of the 20th Century, Argentina was a world power.
Ronald Reagan's election also marked the acceptance of dirty tricks and political campaigns marked with deceit and innuendo.
Jimmy Carter is a good man. His honest sincerity, intellect and personal humility, made him one of the best people ever to hold the presidency; but he was not the best President we've ever had. The Democratic Party still suffers from the Carter legacy of being the party of peace and civility.
I like action movies, but you can't run a nation with quotes from them. "Go ahead, make my day" had no place in a Reagan speech on policy. Harry Truman is quoted as saying "if you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic."
If the Democrats are to regain the White House then it's time to regain the awareness that politics is a bare knuckle sport. Stop letting Republicans question the patriotism of those that disagree, stop allowing a call for economic justice being called socialist. Stop allowing the idea that illegal aliens do work that Americans won't do, to go unchallenged. Illegal aliens do, do a lot of work that Americans won't do; for starvation wages.
Working Americans have been footing the bill for the Republican's party for far too long.
Congress, get off your backsides and support the working Americans that you represent; pass a constructive increase in the Federal minimum wage this year.