People's History: Ronald Reagan (Chap 21)

Smiling Faces, The Undisputed Truth
Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen (Reagan's 1984 theme song)
Money, Pink Floyd
Money (That's What I Want), The Flying Lizards

Summary
The Reagan years took money from the poor,
unleashed the businessmen, made people sure
that nukes were coming, hankered to foment
a war, and ravaged the environment.

Chapter
The Reagan years: a time of smaller government,
big business, lower taxes, with the argument
of "trickle down" from rich to poor, conservative
judicial system, social programs cut (don't give
a penny to the indolent!), the battering
of unions, and the military shattering
the budget. Cold War over, but the national
consensus was continued fear, irrational
but nurtured by the paranoia in the house
of Reagan -- "Star Wars" (SDI), designed to douse
our fears of monsters; and the Trident sub, no use
to anyone except in wars that might produce
the end of humankind. The whole environment
was threatened, too, as Reagan's anti-government
agenda turned to voluntary industry
compliance. We rejected an ecology
convention. Under Reagan, unemployment rose,
the deficit went up. Society now chose
to compensate the money men instead of those
producing goods. And hurriedly, amidst the throes
of struggle for the poor, came triumph for the rich,
free enterprise engendering a fever pitch
of greed. And on the global stage we ventured out:
Grenada, saving students who without a doubt
were safe; and Libya, to fight the 'terrorist'
Khadafy; Nicaragua, where the populist
and Marxist Sandinistas had to fight against
the US-funded 'contras' when our leaders sensed
a 'communist' affair. And all of these were based
on policies of paranoia: we embraced
the "call of freedom," voices sounding sure and shrill
while snuffing other countries' independent will.

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