January 06, 2008

The Reagan Year's - A perspective from an almost middle class person

During this season of presidential politics, I see a lot references to the Reagan Years. Those years were seen by some as a great transformation and Ronald Reagan as one of the great presidents. I did not become well off during those years, I guess it was because I was not well off. Doesn't make sense? Maybe, but I thought I give my view of the Reagan Years. Its not the broader picture, just how things were, in my world. I believe most people vote looking at their own world.

I did not want Ronald Reagan to be president, because of an interview I saw with David Frost in the late seventies. During that interview, I felt as if he were living in the nineteenth century. He saw America not with unlimited abilities, but with unlimited resources to be constantly exploited. I also got the feeling that if you were not better off, something must be defective about you. During his campaign, it amazed me that he got some people who didn't have a pot to piss in, to think they were the middle class or just like him. Some of those same people actually thought they got a tax break.

When Ronald Reagan became president I became poorer. Nothing trickled down to me. All I can say positive was that I was still working.

In my world his tax break gave the company I worked for, another leased BMW, not one piece of capital equipment. Raises were frozen for a year.

His tax break took my loopholes away, e.i. interest on auto loans, credit cards,etc. So my tax bill went up. I had always paid taxes before. I never thought that in itemizing deductions of that interest was the same as a corporate tax shelter. Who knew.

The high interest on money market and certificates of deposit only benefited those who had money saved in those instruments. For others it meant 14 to 18 percent on home mortgages and up to 21 percent on an auto loans. My savings had gone to purchase a home and luckily before the interest rates had gone up.

For some reason, even though the oil crisis was over, heating oil and gas kept going up; my utilities doubled.

I wasn't impressed with Star Wars, because sometime money will not make technology jump ahead. I wonder when people make that argument for government funding of the NIH for cancer, why they cant see that for the Defense Department.

I did not feel his blustering speeches to the Soviet Union sped its collapse. It was already happening and had been for some time. It just that Americans don't pay attention.

I guess for many he implemented the policies they wanted, but I wish they would stop anointing him as a great president. I think greatness would be agreed by everybody.


Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

The Reagan years were weird, at a certain point, because everyone was saying that the economy was doing great, while I, and people I knew like me, weren't visibly better off. He was elected while I was in college, and I went from college to a recession (where I learned that the newspapers start telling you the economic indicators are improving way before there are more actual jobs, and that all the comfortably employed people then immediately start saying, "oh, now's a good time for you to be looking for work, isn't it" while all the companies are continuing their layoffs and hiring freezes) to work as a computer operator.

Now, of course, I'm doing OK, all these years later - it's not as if I was set up to be poor. But at the time people were gushing about the good economy, it really hadn't trickled down very far.

Libertine said...

The only thing that "trickle down" meant to me was that I was getting pissed on by those above.

Hathor said...

It seemed to me that many people were just maintaining the status quo and the poor did not disappear, discounting those on welfare. The trickling down, created a lot of jobs overseas. This is when many manufacturing jobs moved off shore. Why spend on more efficient equipment when there are dirt cheap hands to do the labor. The real world application supplanted the economic theories. The job created here were to manipulate the market.

Reagan's charisma and speech seem to mesmerize many people into believing the world was the same for all. Part of his adoration came from the fact those so many of those people see the "cowboy" as an icon; representative of true American values and masculinity. For men who would be men and the women who would love them. Mind you, only the movie version.

It really gets me when someone says now, the poor are even better off. What does that mean? You have one less hole in your sock.