The Great Reagan Robbery

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

A number of economic commentators have begun to agree that an enormous, generational shift of wealth in America has occurred. This vast operation, which I shall call The Great Reagan Robbery, was nothing less that a program to cap the standard of living of the majority of Americans at mid 1970s levels and transfer all future increases in national wealth to the top 1% of the population. Here is how it was executed.

1. A telegenic pitchman for corporate America, Ronald Reagan, was elected to undermine the legitimacy of government, glorify the private sector, and demonize the poor.

2. Labor union power was crippled by direct strike breaking actions (Reagan’s firing of the Air Traffic Controllers) and anti-union propaganda campaigns.

3. Taxation was made more regressive, effecting a huge transfer of wealth from the working class to high-earning professionals and investors.

4. Speculative bubbles and financial scams, like the S&L debacle, enriched well-connected investors at the expense of the taxpayers.

5. A successful class war against the poor was launched, resulting in cuts to welfare and other programs that reduced income inequality.

6. Rapid inflation in the price of amenities Americans had once taken for granted, such as safe neighborhoods, good education, and adequate health care, enriched affluent providers of housing, education, and medicine, as these became costly “luxuries” for the general population.

7. Americans who were losing economic ground were encouraged to load up on debt, further enriching the lenders and holders of capital.

8. A blanket of ideological propaganda concealed the problem of growing inequality by fostering a culture of worshiping the rich and maintaining the myth of universal access to riches.

The bottom line on The Great Reagan Robbery is that it accomplished the most massive transfer of wealth within American society in our entire history without arousing any politically significant resistance. It was a brilliantly executed class war, in which the rich decisively defeated the rest of us.

The problem the rich now face is that they succeeded too well. The momentum of the stealthy, unstoppable, robbing machine they created is continuing to push the majority of Americans into third-world debt slavery and subsistence existence, and this sharp decline will undermine the entire economy, including the fortunes of the rich.

5 comments

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    • justCal on October 5, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    of the Air Traffic Controllers strike can be understated.

    Reagan’s actions were completely predictable what’s interesting(and depressing)is the reaction of,so called,organized labor.

    Did the pilots walk out?  Nope.

    Did the teamsters refuse to deliver fuel or freight?  Nope.

    Did the electricians refuse to cross the picket lines?  Nope.

    What about the baggage handlers.mechanics,food service workers or flight attendants? Nope,Nope,Nope,Nope.

    The difference between American labor and capital?

    Capitalists understand the meaning of the word Solidarity.  

    • Inky99 on October 6, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    What Recession? As the Economy Crashed Around Them, 400 Richest Americans Lined Their Pockets with $30 Billion

    http://www.alternet.org/workpl


    It’s great to know that during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans, according to Forbes, actually increased by $30 billion. Well golly, that’s only a 2 percent increase, much less than the double digit returns the wealthy had grown accustomed to. But a 2 percent increase is a whole lot more than losing 40 percent of your 401k. And $30 billion is enough to provide 500,000 school teacher jobs at $60k per year.

    Collectively, those 400 have $1.57 trillion in wealth. It’s hard to get your mind around a number like that. The way I do it is to imagine that we were still living during the great radical Eisenhower era of the 1950s when marginal income tax rates hit 91 percent. Taxes were high back in the 1950s because people understood that constraining wild extremes of wealth would make our country stronger and prevent another depression. (Well, what did those old fogies know?)

    Had we kept those high progressive taxes in place, instead of removing them, especially during the Reagan era, the Forbes 400 might each be worth “only” $100 million instead of $3.9 billion each. So let’s imagine that the rest of their wealth, about $1.53 trillion, were available for the public good.

    What does $1.53 trillion buy?

    • ANKOSS on October 6, 2009 at 9:28 pm
      Author

    Even now, with our nation’s finances in ruins as a result of Reagan’s Voodoo economics, Reagan and Reaganomics are still widely admired. Surely, in terms of the economic magnitude of the redistribution of wealth, this was the greatest propaganda accomplishment in American history.

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