Reagan Democrats Meet Trump Republicans

11 thoughts on “Reagan Democrats Meet Trump Republicans”

  1. The problem is that the fallout from Reaganism and its successors, embodying supply side, trickle down, laissez-faire, regressive tax cuts, was entirely predictable. Yet voters still haven’t connected the dots from what they elected to what befell them, hence Trump. I doubt they will ever figure it out.

  2. I mostly agree. When I was young I was an extremist like most young people — initially socialist, peacenik, feminist hater of racism, homophobia, etc, and eventually I became a libertarian with many “conservative” sympathies and views as my eyes were gradually opened to more facts about individuals and societies.

    Eventually, I developed a more, I hope, broad Will Durantesque detachment about the details of political ideologies and perceive that one of the great strengths of our system is a slow sort of flexibility and an awesome imperfect protection of out-of-power thought that allows inevitable excesses in the totalitarian impulses in both “the Left” and “the Right” to be countered with a minimal amount of violence. The left and right tend to be BOTH correct in their ways, and one side tends to be more correct during certain times than the other. In a flexible, responsive to the people society, there will always be a high level of inequality, and there will always be a debate about how much inequality is acceptable—– but when the impulse to over-engineer society makes the economy and thought too sclerotic to produce enough new wealth, a flexible culture can change course to push the pendulum back toward freedom even if even mainstream liberals are befuddled by the majority’s desire for change before Utopia has been realized —— and the same goes for when the increase in freedom produces an inevitable increase in economic inequality —-eventually the majority sees the degree of economic inequality as the bigger problem, even though even some mainstream libertarians remain befuddled.

    These days, I am a bit repelled by those who fetishize or even idolitrize “Freedom” or “Equality”.

  3. I think the assumption that Reaganomics did exactly what it promised is…questionable. Or that a lot of what happened is overall positive. (especially for the majority, as you point out). Plus, a lot of the deregulation can be laid at the feet of the Great Empath, whose War Pig wife wants to be the next Maximum Leader. Unless we like having an economy is primarily focused on casino gambling in which already wealthy people game the system to be even wealthier.

    But I agree with you on the Trump demographic. Ironic that a billionaire who inhereited his money is their voice.

    1. I think it’s important to acknowledge that the increase in personal, corporate, and government debt at all levels of American society has taken a hockey stick J curve off the graphs since Baby Boomers took control of the reigns of power starting right around 1980. Conservative… Liberal… It was a generational shift away from the savers and builders of WWII toward Boomer spenders and borrowers. Reagan was a great retro front man for a movement of younger people and policies that rejected responsibility and long term obligations. The prosperity that was enjoyed was on loan from the future. Well, welcome to that future. It’s here now. And it wants its cash back – with compounded interest. And guess what? The money isn’t there and we’re all going to have to suck it up.

      1. You’re misunderstanding how debt works. Society as a whole can’t borrow. A debt requires a borrower *and* a saver. What’s happened since 1980 is not that overall there’s less saving – there’s actually more. What’s happened is that the saving is being done by a comparatively small group – basically the upper 10% and corporations – who are saving vastly more than their counterparts 40 years ago, while the rest of society borrows more.

        1. I disagree. One society can borrow from another.

          Americans have been spending more than we save for decades. That’s true of individuals, businesses, and all levels of government. In part we have no discipline. (I’m talking to you Boomers.) In part, we’ve experienced stagnant wages and borrowed to make up the difference. We’ve off-shored saving to other countries, Japan and China in particular, who buy our debt and underwrite our spending. They’ll probably never see that money again…

          You are correct that the top ten percent are doing all the domestic saving. They have the education to compete for high wage jobs. The less educated population (the other 90%) have been made redundant in a global cheap labor market.

  4. Interesting post. But actually, reaganomics arguably did not “do exactly what it promised.” Growth under Reagan was pretty similar to what it was under Carter, and notably less than it was under Clinton. It’s not at all clear that Reagan had a big impact on the economy one way or the other. But if you are talking not about what actually happened but only about what people think happened, you may be right on the money.

    1. Actually, the Clinton era inherited the benefits of Reaganomics, as did the Bush I era. The left likes to cherry pick data during the “Clinton Era” ( and, if anyone brings up the dot com bubble, blame is tossed to the republican controlled congress, but none of the prosperity is — THAT was all Clinton-Gore’s doing. Likewise the left only focuses on the debt of the Reagan years and not the rise in overall prosperity that began and was inherited by the Neoliberals.

      Of course, the Right are expert cherry Pickers themselves.

      1. I interpret things a bit differently. The modern globalized industrial economy is a product of abundant cheap energy – mostly in the form of oil. When oil flows freely at a low price we have economic growth and political leaders (Reagan/Thatcher – Alaska and North Sea oil bonanza came on line) are hailed as geniuses. When oil is expensive (Nixon/Ford/Carter – Arab embargo, Iranian revolution) history isn’t kind to them. The crash of 2008 just happened to coincide with $147 a barrel oil and Bush II was booted out. I wouldn’t want to be in office when the last dregs of North Dakota fracking is played out just as the House of Saud goes up in flames.

        1. I agree that there is more complexity than the complexity that I have inserted. That’s why there’s jobs for “economists” and also why they seem to so rarely agree…

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