In 1970 a headline in the “Hundred Flowers” read, “The Sun Sets on Ronald Reagan,” when Reagan failed to get nominated as the Republican candidate for the presidency. Unfortunately, this was one time the perspicacious Eddie Felien got it wrong.
Reagan plundered on and earth, future and our country’s fortune was devastated. Reagan came back in 1980, promising a big tax cut, and exploiting President Carter’s problems with OPEC and the hostages in Iran, he beat (Jimmy) Carter and (Walter) Mondale in a landslide. Talk about tax and spend.
His tax cut nearly tripled our national debt which we paid for in the following decades and he spent money like a drunken sailor on “defense,” with windfall profits going to the arms merchants, stepping up the worlds arms race big time.
The Russians offered a huge cut in defense spending at the summit in Reykjavik, but Reagan was reluctant to go along, since nuclear bomb-making corporations like General Electric (his old sponsor) would stand to lose billions in nuclear bomb making contracts.
His first act as president was to take down the solar panels on the White House and end the token 10-percent tax breaks for renewable energy technology. We could have maybe slowed global warming a tad. Reagan was not exactly an environmentalist.
Can you remember his famous words, “trees pollute”? Cancer is now a pandemic and is becoming the leading cause of death across the country. But the most tragic legacy will have to be his choice of vice president. We are still seeing the waste, death and destruction as a result of that choice.
Ronald Reagan will have to go down as one of the great American tragedies, probably the greatest of all time, and we will be paying for his colossal blunders the rest of our lives.