Posted by Steven Hayward
Today is the 95th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birthday. Happy birthday to the Gipper, and now let’s everybody go out and name an airport or highway or monument for him in your county.
Gwinnett County (in the Atlanta suburbs) has both a Ronald Reagan Parkway and a Jimmy Carter Boulevard. They do not intersect. I-75 in Cobb County is called the Larry McDonald Memorial Freeway (keep right!).
Cincinatti has a Ronald Reagan freeway, it connects 71 with 75. Columbus used to have a Reagan freeway in the early 90s (104 on the Southside), but it was renamed when Democrats got control of the city. I think it was renamed in honor of Veterans, or maybe nothing at all. I have no been there for a while.
How about replacing that old geizer on the $10 bill...oh wait, conservatives like him too...
As a student of mine once joked, "If you ever have a $20, make sure you immediately trade it in for 2 $10s!"
Our city has a place under the highway where homeless people live. These are people whose parents were exploited sexually during the 80s when Reaganomics (block Grants, starving of human service agencies in lieu of inflated cold war spending) fueled the instant, badly organized deinstitutionalization of schizophrenics, thus causing an inflated concentration of schizophrenics among the homeless. So now, we have a sort of Schizophrenic "Baby Boom" living under the highway in our town, and in similar towns across the USA. We call it "Trickle Town." Hey, thats not funny, is it?
Yeah, Im sure thats it, Fung. It wasnt the misguided left-wing de-institutionalization movement that caused this, it was Ronald Reagan. Nice job trying to rewrite history.
Homeless schizophrenics are funny. From a distance.
You mean those people werent sterilized before they were let out? Just great--another generation of mental defectives.
"R.P. McMurphy." That IS funny, and a good reference!
but, back to "not Dain:" There were two forces at play during the 80s and the deinstitutionalization movement. One was humanitarian, and received a boost from Geraldo Riveras excellent reporting of terrible conditions at Willowbrook. We then found that Willowbrook was worse than many such facilities across the country, but also that there were others that were worse, still. Human beings were quite literally kept chained to pipes, stranded naked and alone in solitary, and subjected to horrible abuses and neglect. Every one of these human beings had been someones child at some point.
The second impetus came from the new president Reagan, who had already tried, as Guv of CA to save taxpayers money by decreasing the meals in CA institutions from 3 to 2, and then, as pres, by referring to ketchup as a vegetable.
Reagan knew from history that states feeling an economic squeeze would shortchange the retarded, the mentally ill, the young and the old, before they would shortchange their roads, their cars, their lobbies, and their tax cuts for the rich andfor the businesses.
I find it interesting you lay the blame soley on Reagan. Presidents do not enact budgets, they recommend them. Presidents can propose any crazy thing they want; it does not become law until Congress enacts it. If mental health hospitals got less government funding it was not Reagans doing, it was Congress. I wonder which party controlled Congress (at the very least one house, I am not certain, I was too young) during Reagans tenure? Furthermore, even if Reagan did have some discretion, it would be subject to judicial review to make sure it was not arbitrary and capricous. So basically all three branches agreed, yet it is SOLELY Reagans fault?
You are right, Steve. In fact, I wonder why we remark on his birthday at all. Lets celebrate the birthdays of all the members of Congress during his eight years of leadership.
Lets change the name of that freeway in Cincinatti (Comment #2) to "Congress Freeway," since apparently, Reagan was not responsible for one darned thing on his watch.
Glad youre back, Fung. Missed you. Just have to comment on the "ketchup as a vegetable" canard. Reagan never said any such thing. A factotum in the school lunch program (that is, a permanent bureaucrat), trying to squeeze into a lower budget that Congress voted for the program (at Reagans instigation, to be sure) issued the ketchup guideline without any review by any political appointees in the Dept of Ag or the White House. Ag Secretary Block tried briefly to defend it (on grounds that it reduced food waste in the school lunch program, which is probably correct), but quickly retreated.
Curiously, the Clinton administration classified salsa as a vegetable in the school lunch program in 1997; no outcry over that.
We have plenty of memorials to Congress members. Every other foot of West Virginia is named after Byrd, and most major legislation nowadays is named after Congressional members (McCain-Feingold, Sarbanes-Oxley). Washington, DC named some buildings after Congress members, and many government buildings in small towns, etc. are named after the representative that got the funds to put it there.
I imagine Reagan is honored mostly for his foreign policy (staring down the USSR) and leadership. But there is a difference between leadership and placing moral responsibility on a person. Clinton wanted to do lots of things, but he couldnt but Congress would not let him. Yet no liberal (except wacky ones) would fault him for no enacting health care, etc. One is not at fault for the impossible, nor is one completely at fault when other actors are required in order to do something.
Steve H. - Thanks for the accuracy check! According to my quick, reactive scan of the web, the whole business began with a 1 billion dollar cut in funds for the school lunch program, so while the details were not RRs responsibility, the original impetus was, according to my reading.....
As for Clinton and Salsa.... oy.
Steve S:I know we have memorials for members of Congress! Heck, I just finished paying off my Stafford Loans two years ago. It was a close race, to see if I paid them off before my son started taking out new ones, or before I retired. Luckily, however, I wont be retiring anytime soon, due to my "George W. Bush Twilight Years Career Addendum."
As for RR and foreign policy, I agree with you. I always thought that Reagan should have given the Afghan Mujahadeen more credit for draining the USSR of their resources.
And, as for Clinton, I actually DID blame him for delgating too much of the responsibility to Hillary, and too soon. He is still my guy, but I thought he mishandled that one.
By the way, anybody see the STANDING OVATION at Coretta Scott Kings memorial, just a few minutes ago? Any of that stuff sound familiar? I need to change my environment!
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