I say it a lot, but it’s true. One thing that really needs tackled by everyone is the myth of Ronald Reagan. He’s attained truly legendary status to the right, but based on, apparently, what they imagine he did versus the reality of his actions. And Krugman really nails is here.
Why was government spending much stronger under Reagan than in the current slump? “Weaponized Keynesianism” — Reagan’s big military buildup — played some role. But the big difference was real per capita spending at the state and local level, which continued to rise under Reagan but has fallen significantly this time around.
And this, in turn, reflects a changed political environment. For one thing, states and local governments used to benefit from revenue-sharing — automatic aid from the federal government, a program that Reagan eventually killed but only after the slump was past. More important, in the 1980s, anti-tax dogma hadn’t taken effect to the same extent it has today, so state and local governments were much more willing than they are now to cover temporary deficits with temporary tax increases, thereby avoiding sharp spending cuts.
Possibly my greatest qualm with the American media-ocracy (not to be confused with American mediocrity) is that the echo chamber has people voting based on completely incorrect assertions concerning the candidates, leaving the people getting their “information” based mostly on which media source best lines up with their inherent biases. Democracy is rooted in everyone voting and having a say, but that only works when their votes are educated, and so few are.
Bit of a digression there, but every time I read an article about Reagan (and I want to point out that this is one of the instances where I actually think ol’ Ronnie did a good job) it just reminds me of how twisted and distorted all talk of him has become and its affect on current policy.