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The America That Reagan Built by J. David Woodard
affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, colonial rule, Columbine, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, friendly fire, glass ceiling, global village, Gordon Gekko, gun show loophole, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, Live Aid, Marc Andreessen, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, new economy, postindustrial economy, Ralph Nader, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, The Predators' Ball, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional
The epoch began with World War II’s ‘‘Greatest Generation’’ in charge, and ended with their children running things. George Herbert Walker Bush and his son George W. Bush were a metaphor for leadership change in the whole country. But it was Ronald Reagan who set the tone for politics in the twentyfive years since his election in 1980. At his funeral in June of 2004, President George W. Bush said in the eulogy, ‘‘Ronald Reagan belongs to the ages now, but we preferred it when he belonged to us.’’ The Reagan legacy remained. His 248 Epilogue President George W. Bush bows at the casket of former President Ronald Reagan after giving a eulogy at the funeral service for President Ronald Reagan at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, June 11, 2004. (White House photo by Tina Hager) foreign and domestic policies were the template for all his successors. The words on Reagan’s Georgian gray granite headstone could sum up the twentyfive years of American political history discussed here.
Presidents matter, but so do governors, Supreme Court justices, and legislators. The election of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, the governorship of George W. Bush in Texas, the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the ‘‘Contract with America’’ all changed the course of politics for the nation as a whole. Their outcome, ratified or rejected in elections, also influenced the cultural agenda for a time. Prologue xi Almost without exception, election outcomes are the chapter divisions in this book. The most important one was 1980, when Ronald Reagan forged a conservative governing coalition that changed the course of American politics. While every personality discussed in this book had an influence, Ronald Reagan towered over them all. His election and re-election, both by landslide margins, ended a string of five failed presidencies.
Vanderbilt Television News Archive, July 20, 1982. 59. New York Times, January 21, 1981. 60. New York Times, January 21, 1983. 61. Dinesh D’Souza, Ronald Reagan (New York: Touchstone Books, 1997), p. 109. 62. Vanderbilt Television News Archive, June 11, 1984. 63. Peter Schweizer, Reagan’s War (New York: Doubleday, 2002), p. xi. 64. Peter Schweizer, Reagan’s War (New York: Doubleday, 2002), p. 15. 65. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, ‘‘Speeches,’’ March 8, 1983. 66. Peter Schweizer, Reagan’s War (New York: Doubleday, 2002), p. 144. 67. New York Times, June 21, 1984. 68. New York Times, October 26, 1982. 69. Lawrence I. Barrett, Gambling with History (New York: Penguin Books, 1983), pp. 73–74. 70. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, ‘‘Speeches,’’ May 9, 1982. 71. Seymour M. Hersch, The Target Is Destroyed (New York: Random House, 1986). 72.
Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980 by Rick Perlstein
"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, affirmative action, airline deregulation, Alistair Cooke, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, business climate, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, death of newspapers, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, energy security, equal pay for equal work, facts on the ground, feminist movement, financial deregulation, full employment, global village, Golden Gate Park, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, kremlinology, land reform, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, oil shock, open borders, Potemkin village, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, traveling salesman, unemployed young men, union organizing, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, wages for housework, walking around money, War on Poverty, white flight, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, yellow journalism, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
., Reagan: A Life in Letters (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004) RPV: Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson, eds., Reagan’s Path to Victory: The Shaping of Ronald Reagan’s Vision: Selected Writings (New York: Free Press, 1994) RRB: Reagan radio broadcast tapes, Hoover Archives, Stanford University RRC: Ronald Reagan syndicated newspaper column RRIHOH: Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson, eds, Reagan in His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan That Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America (New York: Free Press, 2001). RRPL: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California, Ronald Reagan Pre-Presidential Files RVA: Richard V. Allen Papers, Hoover Archives, Stanford University UPI: United Press International newspaper syndicate USNWR: U.S. News and World Report VTVNA: Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Nashville, Tennessee WS: Washington Star WP: Washington Post WSJ: Wall Street Journal W&G: Jules Witcover and Jack Germond syndicated column CHAPTER ONE Reagan blamed “Reagan Ties Ford Loss to Watergate Movie,” St.
The performer recited his lines precisely four seconds more expeditiously. MacDougall recorded his awe at how good he looked, “that tanned Texas face, the silver hair, the clean white shirt.” The man was not Ronald Reagan. He was John Connally of Texas. Ronald Reagan was the front-runner among Republicans in every presidential poll. But pundits said this was misleading—that in the earliest innings of a presidential race, first place was a bad place to be. George Romney had been in first place for the Republican nomination in 1967. Edmund Muskie in 1971, and Scoop Jackson in 1975, had been the first-place Democrats. All fell on their faces early in the election year. Ronald Reagan, all agreed, was if anything more vulnerable. At sixty-eight years old, any gaffe, any utterance too far out in right field, any wire-service photo of him falling asleep at some interminable Republican banquet, would be all it would take to finish him.
Because of the closure of the Hoover Institution and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library during the COVID-19 crisis, it was impossible to confirm some of the citations; these will be updated online when it becomes possible to do so, and in future editions. Scholars having problems finding documents cited here should contact me directly at Reaganland2020@gmail.com, for assistance. ABBREVIATIONS AA: Annelise Anderson Papers, Hoover Institution, Stanford, California ABCIA: 1980 ABC News transcripts, Internet Archive AP: Associated Press newspaper syndicate APP: American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucbs.edu BG: Boston Globe CFTRN: Citizens for the Republic Newsletter, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Ronald Reagan Presidential Campaign Papers, boxes 38–39. CT: Chicago Tribune DH: Deaver and Hannaford Papers, Hoover Institution, Stanford, California ENIR: Rowland Evans and Robert Novak “Inside Report” column HE: Human Events LAT: Los Angeles Times MFTVE: The Made-for-TV Election, 1986 documentary by William Brandon Shanley.
Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War by Ken Adelman
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, F. W. de Klerk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haight Ashbury, Kitchen Debate, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, old-boy network, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Sinatra Doctrine, War on Poverty, Yogi Berra
The five-star general made a surprise appearance in Reykjavik and led the Soviet arms team in making unprecedented concessions during an all-night Saturday session. (Ronald Reagan Library) The official U.S. residence in Reykjavik, which the ambassador had to vacate for the president’s stay, was filled with the antlers of assorted animals the ambassador had shot. Amid all the antlers, the president frequently called Nancy back home, calls that always cheered him up. (Ronald Reagan Library) Downtime for the U.S. team in Reykjavik came only at the outset of meals. Here Reagan was joking while, to his right, Shultz and Poindexter prepared a paper to present over lunch. To the president’s left is Don Regan. Nearest the camera are Max Kampelman on the left and the author on the right. (Ronald Reagan Library) Late Sunday afternoon on the second floor of Hofdi House, Reagan read over the U.S. final offer.
Bush wished him well, and then issued a statement from the White House praising Gorbachev for working with Reagan “boldly and decisively to end the Cold War and liberate the Soviet people from Communist dictatorship.” From his home in California, Ronald Reagan issued a statement saying that Gorbachev “will live forever in history” and that freedom-loving people should forever be grateful to him. Late that afternoon, with the Moscow winter sky already dark, the red hammer and sickle flag was lowered from the pole at the top of the Kremlin. A white, blue, and red flag of the Russian Federation was raised in its place. The Cold War thus ended just as Ronald Reagan had said it would. We won. They lost. Chapter 10 Reflections and Conclusions on Reykjavik If, as stated in the introduction, the Reykjavik summit resembles a classic mystery thriller à la Agatha Christie, then the question naturally arises, “Who done it?” In this case, we know who—Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. But we are less sure of the “it.”
This assessment was shared by the U.S. and Soviet ambassadors—Arthur Hartman in Moscow and Yuri Dubinin in Washington—during separate meetings in Shultz’s inner office. Secure in our assessment, we had no problem with the grip-and-grin session we came to expect, if that would indeed help Gorbachev. After all, nobody was better at gripping and grinning than Ronald Reagan. THE AIR FORCE ONE carrying Reagan to Iceland—Sam 27000—had joined the presidential fleet in 1972. Although it was small compared with the 747 that would replace it, it had a history and a scale that Reagan loved. It was good that he did, since he would log more miles on it (630,000) than any of his predecessors. Fittingly, that plane now resides in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, seeming almost airborne on display in its own pavilion. Behind the presidential quarters were the staff conference area and a handful of seats for top presidential aides and secretaries.
Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics by Glenn Greenwald
Unfortunately for then vice president George Herbert Walker Bush, political pundits and other opinion makers of the 1980s, like those of the 1880s, did not take kindly to aristocratic manners, generally seeing them as feminine…. This was a perception held as much—if not more—by Republicans as by Democrats. Alexander Haig, Ronald Reagan’s close friend Senator Paul Laxalt, and even Reagan himself regarded Bush as effete and unmanly. Newspaper articles appeared describing his life as one devoted to pleasing others. Conservative columnist George Will dismissed Bush as “lap dog” with a “thin tinny arf.” There are multiple levels of irony here, beginning with the fact that Ronald Reagan, depicted as the epitome of salt-of-the-earth, manly courage, avoided combat during World War II, remaining instead in Hollywood as a coddled actor, while George H. W. Bush, by all accounts, heroically served his country during that war as a fighter pilot.
This functions exactly the same as the images of moral purity that they work so hard to manufacture, whereby the leaders they embrace—such as Gingrich, Limbaugh, Bill Bennett, even the divorced and estranged-from-his-children Ronald Reagan and Coulter herself (with her revolving door of boyfriends and broken engagements)—are plagued by the most morally depraved and reckless personal lives, yet still parade around as the heroes of the “Values Voters.” Just as what matters is that their leaders present themselves as moral (even while deviating as far as they want from those standards), what matters to them also is that their leaders playact as strong and masculine figures, even when there is no basis, no reality, to the playacting. Like John Wayne, Ronald Reagan never got anywhere near war (claiming eyesight difficulties to avoid deployment in World War II), and he spent his life as a Hollywood actor, yet to this day, conservatives swoon over his masculine role-playing as though he was some sort of super-brave military hero.
As McGovern put it in a 2007 Los Angeles Times editorial, responding to accusations from Dick Cheney equating “McGovernism” with cowardice and surrender: In the war of my youth, World War II, I volunteered for military service at the age of 19 and flew 35 combat missions, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross as the pilot of a B-24 bomber. By contrast, in the war of his youth, the Vietnam War, Cheney got five deferments and has never seen a day of combat—a record matched by President Bush. While Republicans have ensured that virtually every asset of America bears the name of Ronald Reagan—including a glorious battleship, the USS Ronald Reagan—right-wing tough guys who never spent a day in the military protested and mocked endlessly when it was announced, in 2005, that a submarine would be named after the Navy veteran Jimmy Carter. Carter is a graduate of the Naval Academy, having attended during World War II. In the Navy he became a submariner, serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, and he rose to the rank of lieutenant.
The Year That Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Michael Meyer
Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, call centre, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, haute couture, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, union organizing
Peter Robinson’s fascinating book, How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, 2003, was a key source for the background on Reagan’s immortal speech. Additional references: Hoover Digest, “Tearing Down That Wall,” by Peter M. Robinson, reprinted from the Weekly Standard, June 23, 1997. Also by Robinson, “Why Reagan Matters,” Speech to the Commonwealth Club, January 7, 2004. Ronald Reagan: Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, June 12, 1987; Address to the Students of Moscow University, May 31, 1988. I cite James Mann’s masterly history of the George W. Bush administration’s foreign policy and its ideological antecedents, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet, 2004, further elaborated in “Tear Down That Myth,” a New York Times op-ed, June 10, 2007. An excellent analysis of Ronald Reagan’s transition from intransigent Cold War warrior to flexible partner in peace can be found in Bradley Lightbody’s The Cold War, 1999.
For them, the revolutions of 1989 became the foundation of a new post–Cold War weltanschauung: the idea that all totalitarian regimes are similarly hollow at the core and will crumble with a shove from the outside. If its symbol is the Berlin Wall, coming down as Ronald Reagan famously bid it to do in a speech in Berlin in 1987, the operational model was Nicolae Ceausescu’s Romania. “Once the wicked witch was dead,” as Francis Fukuyama, the eminent political economist, has put it, “the munchkins would rise up and start singing joyously about their liberation.” It is true that instead of seeking to contain the former Soviet Union, as previous administrations had done, the United States under Ronald Reagan chose to confront it. He challenged Mikhail Gorbachev not only to reform the Soviet system from within but to “tear down this wall.” Yet other factors figured in this equation, not least a drop in oil prices from roughly $40 a barrel in 1980 to less than $10 a decade later, not to mention the Soviet leader’s own actions.
Among those who swung their hammers to bring it down, said Bush, there was no doubt: “The hardest blow had been struck by President Ronald Reagan.” As Bush saw it, Reagan’s world was one of moral absolutes—right and wrong, black and white. As Reagan stood up to confront communist tyranny, so would he stand up to a more modern challenge. The “evil empire” became the new president’s “war on terror,” the “axis of evil.” Yet the essential narrative of a grand struggle against an implacable enemy of freedom remained unchanged. Standing aboard the USS Lincoln on May 1, 2003, Bush declared “mission accomplished” in Iraq, a triumph for liberty in the tradition of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, the Truman Doctrine and “Ronald Reagan’s challenge to an evil empire.” In a 2005 speech to the National Endowment for Democracy (delivered in the Reagan Amphitheater), he spoke of how the fight against Islamic radicalism “resembles the struggle against communism in the last century.”
Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein
affirmative action, Alistair Cooke, American ideology, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, East Village, European colonialism, full employment, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, immigration reform, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, indoor plumbing, Joan Didion, Kitchen Debate, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, walking around money, War on Poverty, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog
De Groot, “Ronald Reagan and Student Unrest in California, 1966–1970,” Pacific Historical Review 65, no. 1 (1996). More or less, Brown was doing: “Reagan Called Brown Choice for Nomination,” LAT, January 4, 1966. “‘Bring him on’”: Bill Boyarsky, The Rise of Ronald Reagan (New York: Random House, 1968), 113. A young assistant was sent: Ibid., 112. Pat was not the most inspiring: Lou Cannon, Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power; Jack Langguth, “Political Fun and Games in California,” NYTM, October 16, 1966. Reagan punditry fixated: David Broder and Stephen Hess, The Republican Establishment: The Present and Future of the GOP (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), 246. An editorial cartoon depicted Goldwater: Ibid., 276. Elizabeth Taylor, Borax Boy: Ibid., 246. Lassie, Liberace: “Ronald Reagan to the Rescue!”
The Los Angeles Times columnist Paul Coates described the panicked calls he was getting from readers: “My wife just called. Said she heard five was dead. And they’re spreading out all over town. This time I’m gonna get me a gun.” At his announcement in January of his candidacy for California governor, Ronald Reagan had blamed the original Watts riot on the “philosophy that in any situation the public should turn to government for the answer.” Now he denounced Governor Brown. And the New York Times—which had last taken note of the California governor’s race in mid-February, commenting on how little attention the actor Ronald Reagan had been able to garner since “his dramatic and carefully rehearsed television entry into the race” (the paper had sent its Hollywood correspondent to cover it, and he had dwelled on the living-room set with the crackling fire, and props such as the bottle Reagan waved while warning how “social tinkering had caused the layoff of 200 workers in ketchup factories”)—now reported, “A withering crossfire of political accusations emerged today after Tuesday’s violent outbreak.”
The Chicago Trib responded, “When American soldiers are dying daily in Vietnam, demonstrations that block traffic on busy streets are very likely to lead to violence”—and that this would be the demonstrators’ fault. Ronald Reagan maneuvered to force Berkeley president Clark Kerr’s resignation. Evidence suggests it may have been quid pro quo to J. Edgar Hoover. Reagan’s security clearance form as governor required him to answer the question “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of any organization which has been designated by the United States Attorney General under the provisions of Executive Order 10450?” and warned that “any false statement herein may be punished as a felony.” Reagan answered no, untruthfully, but the FBI looked the other way. Hoover was like most conservatives: they tended to cut Ronald Reagan slack. Though he had just proposed the largest tax increase in California history, they were promoting him for president.
The Profiteers by Sally Denton
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, clean water, corporate governance, crony capitalism, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, G4S, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joan Didion, Kitchen Debate, laissez-faire capitalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, nuclear winter, profit motive, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, urban planning, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons, William Langewiesche
ISBN 978-1-4767-0646-7 ISBN 978-1-4767-0648-1 (ebook) Photo Credits: Insert One: 1) Manis Photograph Collection, 01000045. Courtesy: Special Collections, University Library, UNLV. 2) Elton and Madelaine Garrett Collection, 000644. Courtesy: Special Collections, University Libraries, UNLV. 3) Photo Collection, 004500. Courtesy: Special Collections, University Libraries, UNLV. 4) C3954504. Courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. “Chronology of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency.” 5) C38108-15. Courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. “Chronology of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency.” 6) C10593-21A. Courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. 7) Courtesy of Nixon Presidential Library. 8) Courtesy of Nixon Presidential Library. 9) Courtesy of Nixon Presidential Library. 10) Courtesy of Nixon Presidential Library. 11) Photo by Mark Wolfe, January 2, 2006. Courtesy of FEMA. 12) Photo by Cecil Stoughton. Courtesy of Lyndon B.
Defense Official Korb to Make Case for Pollard’s Release at Knesset,” Jerusalem Post, December 19, 2010. “predilection to support Saudi Arabia” . . . “Weinberger believes”: Zatuchni and Drooz, “Back Door to the PLO.” “Weinberger’s anti-Israel tilt”: Joe Conason, “ ‘Most Antagonistic’ Toward Israel? That Would Be Ronald Reagan’s Defense Secretary,” Creators Syndicate, January 10, 2013, https://www.creators.com/liberal/joe-conason/-most-antagonistic-toward-israel-that-would-be-ronald-reagan-s-defense-secretary.html. “Others believed it was more complicated”: Ibid. “redirect” . . . “seem to have differing assessments” . . . “of being hostile” . . . “neglected its ties”: Bernard Gwertzman, “Reagan Aides at Odds,” New York Times, February 15, 1982. “Bechtel oil group”: Kondracke, quoted in Jewish Telegraphic Agency, August 18, 1981.
“LANL, Other Nuke Facilities Under Renewed Scrutiny.” Associated Press, September 12, 2013. Cockburn, Alexander, and Jeffrey St. Clair. “The Truth About the Bohemian Grove.” Counterpunch, June 19, 2001. www.counterpunch.org/2001/06/19/the-truth-about-the-bohemian-grove/print. Conason, Joe. “ ‘Most Antagonistic’ Toward Israel? That Would Be Ronald Reagan’s Defense Secretary.” Creators Syndicate, January 10, 2013. https://www.creators.com/liberal/joe-conason/-most-antagonistic-toward-israel-that-would-be-ronald-reagan-s-defense-secretary.html. Cooper, Helene. “Obama Turns to Biden to Reassure Jewish Voters, and Get Them to Contribute Too.” New York Times, September 30, 2011. Corpwatch, Global Exchange and Public Citizen. “Bechtel: Profiting from Destruction. Why the Corporate Invasion of Iraq Must be Stopped.” June 2003. www.corpwatch.org.
What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . And What Other Countries Got Right by George R. Tyler
8-hour work day, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, blood diamonds, blue-collar work, Bolshevik threat, bonus culture, British Empire, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, lake wobegon effect, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, pirate software, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game
Until the Tea Party election of 2010, almost all Congressional Republicans went along, as Rothbard noted: “conservative Republicans … found themselves adjusting rather easily to the new era of huge permanent deficits.”27 Republican Party Budget Deficits Ronald Reagan’s attributes, especially his joviality, his ability to inspire, and his fear of nuclear weapons, demand admiration. But balancing a checkbook was obviously not one of his talents. Ronald Reagan proved no more resistant to the siren call of deficit spending and easy credit than the most spendthrift Pharaoh, Roman emperor, or Oriental potentate shaving silver coins to debase their monetary base. In the Dark Ages, as trade dwindled and copper mines closed, coins became so shaven that some claimed they could float, like Jackson dollars 600 years later.28 In aping that behavior, Ronald Reagan was just another in a long line of irresponsible spendthrifts. His deliberate decision to pursue deficits of choice repudiated the foundation of the golden age, replacing it with the notion that America could somehow routinely prosper beyond its means by borrowing from its children.
Nothing that this nation, or any other nation, has done in modern economic history compares in difficulty with the selling job that must now be done to make people accept the new reality.”44 A showman of extraordinary ability, ideally unschooled in economic history, was required if families were to be convinced to vote against their own economic interest. That leadership was provided by the charismatic and trusted Ronald Reagan. Much of the subsequent success in stripping economic sovereignty from families that we discuss shortly lies with the advocacy role of Friedman and his powerful ability to appeal to wealthy executive suites and, through them, to Ronald Reagan. Similar to prominent twentieth-century scientists such as Francis Crick or Linus Pauling, Friedman’s professional accomplishments lent undue weight to his personal philosophical musings. With the test of time, however, his Reaganomics has proven no more credible than Crick’s flirtation with eugenics or Pauling’s belief in megadoses of vitamin C.
BUSH, President, November 2008 “The economics literature, based on correlation or regression coefficients, suggests that the United States may, indeed, be exceptional, but not in having more mobility, but in having less, a finding our results support.”2 MRAKUS JÄNTTI, et al, University of Oslo, 2005 [College in America] “Rich, stupid children are more likely to graduate than poor, clever ones.”3 Economist, April 17, 2010 [The dominant role of parental wealth] “… very manifestly displays the anti-meritocracy in America—the reproduction of social class without the inheritance of any innate ability.”4 DALTON CONLEY, Director, Center for Advanced Social Science Research, New York University, December 2007 America is the only rich democracy in the twenty-first century where birth remains destiny—and I think it’s because Ronald Reagan never understood John Ford. I can understand him not appreciating Jean-Jacques Rosseau, maybe John Locke, or even Frank Capra. But John Ford? It’s all there in the greatest Western of all, My Darling Clementine. President Reagan loved his cowboys, especially stories about individual heroes like Wyatt Earp. He watched Clementine but didn’t see it, and proved clueless when it came to Ford’s evocative message. After all, it was the community that hired Earp and sparked the gunfight at the OK Corral, banding together in joint action to improve their lives by creating new opportunity, their eyes set on the future. In contrast, the politician Ronald Reagan chose to demonize the communitarian spirit and the notion that the business community has broad responsibilities to society.
Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety by Gideon Rachman
Asian financial crisis, bank run, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global reserve currency, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, price stability, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sinatra Doctrine, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, Thomas Malthus, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, zero-sum game
Campbell, Iron Lady, 243. 16. Ibid., 253. 17. Thatcher, Downing Street, 804. 18. Ibid., 687. 19. Campbell, Iron Lady, 260. 20. Ibid. 21. Thatcher, Downing Street, 485. 3. THE UNITED STATES, 1980: THE REAGAN REVOLUTION 1. Ronald Reagan, An American Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990), 227. 2. Roger Rosenblatt, “Man of the Year 1980: Ronald Reagan,” Time, January 2, 1981, 3. 3. Reagan wrote in his diary in 1982 that the press was wrong to argue that he was taking aim at the New Deal, and that his real target was the Great Society. See Dinesh D’Souza, Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997), 61. 4. Reagan, American Life, 230. 5. D’Souza, Reagan, 89. 6. Sean Wilentz, The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974–2008 (New York: HarperCollins, 2008), 144.
They are queuing up to obtain the new British cure.”15 In even more grandiloquent mode, she claimed as early as 1982 that Britain was “teaching the nations of the world how to live.”16 On a visit as prime minister to Mikhail Gorbachev’s Russia in 1990, she noted wryly that the new mayor of Moscow appeared to be a disciple of her own economic guru, Milton Friedman.17 In her memoirs she boasted proudly, “Britain under my premiership was the first country to reverse the onward march of socialism.”18 By the end of her period in office, Thatcher was increasingly worried that the European Union posed a threat to her free-market policies in Britain. She was, by contrast, an unabashed admirer of the United States in general and of Ronald Reagan in particular. Her speechwriter Ronnie Miller remarked, “She loved America … and America loved her back.”19 John Campbell, her biographer, believes that “a part of her would really rather have been American.”20 As the Soviet bloc began to crumble, the partnership of Thatcher and Reagan took on a global significance. Thatcher was not exaggerating hugely when she wrote in her memoirs, “The West’s system of liberty, which Ronald Reagan and I personified in the eastern bloc, was increasingly in the ascendant; the Soviet system was showing its cracks.”21 While Thatcher and Reagan’s support of democracy in Eastern Europe fits a narrative in which the advances of economic and political freedom throughout the 1980s were essentially inseparable, elsewhere things were more complicated.
Thatcher notoriously referred to Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress as a “terrorist” organization—and there are warm references in her memoirs to dictators such as Suharto of Indonesia and General Augusto Pinochet in Chile. But while Thatcher may have exaggerated the extent to which she and Ronald Reagan always represented “freedom,” there is no doubt about the potency and importance of their transatlantic partnership and their promotion of free markets. Together with Mikhail Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping, Thatcher and Reagan were the dominant figures of the Age of Transformation. 3 THE UNITED STATES, 1980 THE REAGAN REVOLUTION All new American presidents seek to capture the spirit of the age in their inaugural addresses. Ronald Reagan did it more completely than most when he stood facing west behind the Capitol building in January 1981 and proclaimed, “In the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.”
The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics by Mark Lilla
affirmative action, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Gordon Gekko, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, New Urbanism, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley
There is already excited talk about winning back House and Senate seats in midterm elections, and the presidency three years down the road. The search for candidates has begun and no doubt some staffers are already dreaming of the offices they will occupy in the West Wing of the White House. If only American politics were so simple. Lose the flag, capture the flag. We liberals have played this game before and sometimes won. We have had Democratic presidents in four of the ten terms that followed Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1980, and there were significant policy victories during the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But scratch below the surface of presidential elections, which seem to follow their own historical rhythm, and things turn very dark, very fast. Clinton and Obama were elected and then reelected with messages that were long on hope and change. But they were stymied at almost every turn by self-confident Republicans in Congress, a right-leaning Supreme Court, and a steadily growing majority of state governments in Republican hands.
My frustration has its source in an ideology that for decades has prevented liberals from developing an ambitious vision of America and its future that would inspire citizens of every walk of life and in every region of the country. A vision that would orient the Democratic Party and help it win elections and occupy our political institutions over the long term, so we might effect the changes we want and America needs. Liberals bring many things to electoral contests: values, commitment, policy proposals. What they don’t bring is an image of what our shared way of life might be. Ever since the election of Ronald Reagan the American right has offered one. And it is this image—not money, not false advertising, not fearmongering, not racism—that has been the ultimate source of its strength. In the contest for the American imagination, liberals have abdicated. The Once and Future Liberal is the story of that abdication. Its argument can be briefly summarized. I suggest that American political history over the past century can be usefully divided into two “dispensations,” to invoke the Christian theological term.
All the slogans inherited from the New Deal and Great Society, all the old convictions, all the old approaches, bore a deathly pallor. They convinced and motivated no one. A new generation of well-educated conservative intellectuals had serious, fresh ideas about reforming (not abolishing) government that they really believed in, making them seem the brightest kids in the class. But it wasn’t careful study of their arguments that convinced millions of Americans to vote for Ronald Reagan. It was the imaginative connection he made with the public that transformed those ideas into an epiphany, a vision of a new way of national life, masquerading as an old one. And this allowed him to cast himself as a homespun, aw-shucks John the Baptist. In the year before the election seven out of eight Americans said they were dissatisfied with the way things were going in the country. By 1986 only a quarter felt that way.
Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present by Jeff Madrick
accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, desegregation, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, financial deregulation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Akerlof, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, inventory management, invisible hand, John Meriwether, Kitchen Debate, laissez-faire capitalism, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, MITM: man-in-the-middle, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, technology bubble, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, union organizing, V2 rocket, value at risk, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Y2K, Yom Kippur War
In contrast, Wriston favored marking stocks to market because there was a true market for them. 25 HE TURNED AGAINST VOLCKER: Ibid., pp. 737, 760. 26 LEAST NOTICED WAS THE PLIGHT: Paul Krugman, “LDC Debt Policy,” in Feldstein, ed., American Economic Policy in the 1980s, p. 719. CHAPTER 7: RONALD REAGAN 1 HIS PROTESTANT MOTHER, THE DO-GOODER: Ronald Reagan with Richard G. Hubler, Where’s the Rest of Me?: The Ronald Reagan Story (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1965), pp. 7–8. 2 ACCORDING TO RONALD REAGAN: Ibid., pp. 8–9. Also on Jack’s anger, see Robert Dallek, Ronald Reagan, The Politics of Symbolism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984), Chapter 1 in general. Dallek also makes much of Reagan’s fear of a loss of self-control, a more spurious claim, at least to the degree Dallek stresses it. 3 “HE SUCCEEDED IN EVERYTHING HE TRIED”: Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), p. 33. 4 HE SHOWED LITTLE OF THE DEEPER EMOTION: Garry Wills, Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home (New York: Doubleday, 1987), pp. 305–6. 5 REAGAN RETAINED: Edmund Morris, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan (New York: Random House, 1999), pp. 157–60. 6 “THE PROFITS OF CORPORATIONS HAVE DOUBLED”: Dallek, Ronald Reagan, p. 27. 7 GARRY WILLS ARGUES PERSUASIVELY: Wills, Reagan’s America, pp. 288–97. 8 “THE COMMUNIST PLAN”: Reagan and Hubler, Where’s the Rest of Me?
High, highdzn v3.1 For Kim Contents Cover Title Page Copyright Dedication Introduction One REVOLUTION Prologue: Lewis Uhler Believer 1. Walter Wriston Regulatory Revolt 2. Milton Friedman Proselytizer 3. Richard Nixon and Arthur Burns Political Expediency 4. Joe Flom The Hostile Takeover and Its Consequences 5. Ivan Boesky Wanting It All 6. Walter Wriston II Bailing Out Citibank 7. Ronald Reagan The Making of an Ideology 8. Ted Turner, Sam Walton, and Steve Ross Size Becomes Strategy 9. Jimmy Carter Capitulation 10. Howard Jarvis and Jack Kemp Tapping the Anger 11. Paul Volcker, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan Revolution Completed Two THE NEW GUARD 12. Tom Peters and Jack Welch Promises Broken 13. Michael Milken “The Magnificent” 14. Alan Greenspan Ideologue 15. George Soros and John Meriwether Fabulous Wealth and Controversial Power 16. Sandy Weill King of the World 17. Jack Grubman, Frank Quattrone, Ken Lay, and Sandy Weill Decade of Deceit 18.
During the recession, Reed had slashed expenses, fired tens of thousands of employees, and made Citibank a more cautious and conservative lender, but Alan Greenspan cut interest rates sharply beginning in 1991, producing an economic recovery. Citibank returned to profitability. Now profits returned with economic recovery. By the mid-1990s, Reed had remade his reputation and saved the bank’s independence, but he was still not certain the giant bank could survive without a major partner. 7 Ronald Reagan THE MAKING OF AN IDEOLOGY In the 1960s, Ronald Reagan, well into his fifties, became the political leader of the conservative movement. To almost everyone’s surprise, the former actor won election as governor of California in 1966, even as political conservatives were defeated around him. One of his main strengths had been his understanding of the needs and fears of working people, of which he never lost sight. Sympathizing with them, he could convince them of his views, even if his policies ultimately conspired against them.
The Economists' Hour: How the False Prophets of Free Markets Fractured Our Society by Binyamin Appelbaum
"Robert Solow", airline deregulation, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, battle of ideas, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, greed is good, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, John Markoff, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, low cost airline, manufacturing employment, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, profit motive, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, starchitect, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus
Bentsen also convened the long awaited hearings on economic models, forcing Rivlin to surrender in classic Washington fashion — by pretending there had never been a dispute. “We are intensely interested in the supply side,” she said.52 Reaganomics Ronald Reagan made little mention of taxation during his failed 1976 presidential campaign, nor in the early months of his 1980 campaign. But after losing the Iowa caucuses to George H. W. Bush, Reagan headed into the New Hampshire primary in February 1980 needing a victory to reestablish himself as the front-runner. He found traction with voters by promising to cut taxes, debuting a series of ads that proved hugely popular. Announcer: Ronald Reagan believes that when you tax something, you get less of it. We’re taxing work, savings and investment like never before. As a result, we have less work, less savings and less invested.
Reagan, wittingly or otherwise, was espousing a version of a theory that enjoyed a season in the sun in the 1940s after a British economist named Colin Clark published a paper asserting that nations crumbled if public spending exceeded about 25 percent of the economy. Clark was a pioneer in the development of national income accounting, but he got a little too excited about the uses of his measuring stick. 60. Ronald Reagan, “Reflections on the Failure of Proposition #1,” National Review, December 7, 1973. 61. Dart broke into the drugstore business by marrying Charles Walgreen’s daughter. After they were divorced, he left Walgreen’s to run Rexall. His second wife, Jane Bryan, was an actress who had appeared in several movies with Reagan, and the two couples became close friends. 62. Ronald Reagan, “Taxation,” November 28, 1978, reprinted in Reagan, in His Own Hand, ed. Kiron K. Skinner et al. (New York: Free Press, 2001). 63. David Stockman, The Triumph of Politics (1986; repr., New York: PublicAffairs, 2013), 53. 64.
Jagdish Bhagwati, one of the profession’s most forceful and uncompromising advocates of free trade, is another longtime opponent of the free movement of capital. See John Williamson and Molly Mahar, A Survey of Financial Liberalization, Essays in International Finance (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Department of Economics, 1998). 58. Ronald Reagan, “Milton Friedman and Chile,” December 22, 1976. See Kiron K. Skinner et al., Reagan’s Path to Victory: The Shaping of Ronald Reagan’s Vision; Selected Writings (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004), 98. 59. Economists, even those who disagreed with Friedman’s politics, generally regarded him as a deserving laureate for his academic work. Two letters opposing Friedman’s selection, by laureates in other disciplines, appeared in the New York Times on October 24, 1976.
The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan by Sebastian Mallaby
"Robert Solow", airline deregulation, airport security, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, balance sheet recession, bank run, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bretton Woods, business cycle, central bank independence, centralized clearinghouse, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency peg, energy security, equity premium, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, full employment, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, inventory management, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, paper trading, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, price stability, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, savings glut, secular stagnation, short selling, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, unorthodox policies, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y2K, yield curve, zero-sum game
“Right Move at the Eleventh Hour: Time Board of Economists Generally Backs Fed’s Decision,” Time, October 22, 1979, 24. 20. “Will the Last Remain First? A Cooler Ronald Reagan Enters the Race,” Time, November 26, 1979. 21. “‘President Reagan,’” New Republic, December 1, 1979. For further doubts about Reagan’s seriousness, see “Where Did He Get Those Figures? G.O.P. Front Runner Seems to Pluck Facts from Thin Air,” Time, April 14, 1980. 22. Notes from a meeting with Milton Friedman, January 21, 1980, folder “Meese, Ed—Campaign Planning—Meetings, January 1980,” Box 103, Ronald Reagan Campaign Papers, Ronald Reagan Governor’s Papers, 1965–1980, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. 23. Arthur Laffer, “The Laffer Economic Report,” January 11, 1980, Research Policy (Hopkins/Bandow)—[Correspondence], box 453, Ronald Reagan 1980 Campaign Papers, Ronald Reagan Library. Emphasis original. 24. David A.
Skinner, Annelise Graebner Anderson, and Martin Anderson, eds., Reagan: A Life in Letters (New York: Free Press, 2003), 298–99. Quoted in Silber, Volcker: The Triumph, 195. 28. Ronald Reagan to Murray L. Weidenbaum, “Handwritten Note on Gordon Luce Correspondence,” 1981, box FG 143033198, Ronald Reagan Library. The author is grateful to Jerry L. Jordan for bringing this evidence to his attention. 29. Murray L. Weidenbaum to Ronald Reagan, memorandum, August 11, 1981, box FG 143033198, Ronald Reagan Library. The author is grateful to Jerry L. Jordan for providing a copy of this document. 30. Ronald Reagan to Gordon Luce, letter, August 14, 1981, Ronald Reagan Library. Copy obtained from Jerry L. Jordan. 31. Hobart Rowen, “Reagan Might Just Join the New Gold Rush,” Washington Post, August 20, 1981. 32.
For Anderson’s discussion of how he persuaded advisers to help Reagan, see Martin Anderson, Revolution: The Reagan Legacy (Stanford, CA: Hoover Press, 1990), 168. 40. See Edwin Meese, “Campaign Planning Meeting Notes,” n.d., all April and May 1979 Notes, Meese, Ed—Campaign Planning—Meetings, April 1979/May 1979, Box 103, 1980 Campaign Papers, Ronald Reagan Governor’s Papers, Ronald Reagan Library. 41. Martin, Greenspan: The Man Behind Money, 141. 42. Edwin Meese, “Notes and Agendas from Meeting on Public Policy Issues,” September 8, 1979, Meese, Ed—Campaign Planning—Meetings, September 1979, box 103, 1980 Campaign Papers, Ronald Reagan Governor’s Papers, Ronald Reagan Library. The following account derives from these sources. 43. Greenspan, interview by the author, April 11, 2011. CHAPTER ELEVEN 1. In January 1978, Burns had lamented, “We need an anti-inflation policy on the part of the Administration,” as though it were not the Fed’s responsibility to deliver one.
Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–1990 by Kristina Spohr, David Reynolds
anti-communist, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, computer age, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, liberal capitalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nixon shock, oil shock, open borders, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shared worldview, Thomas L Friedman, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
Simon Miles, ‘“Quiet Diplomacy:” The Reagan Administration’s Initial Engagement with the Soviet Union’, unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Lexington, Kentucky, 21 June 2014; James Mann, The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War (New York, 2009). 4. ‘National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 75: US relations with the USSR, 17 January 1983’, in Jason Saltoun-Ebin, ed., The Reagan Files: Inside the National Security Council (Santa Barbara, CA, 2nd edn, 2014), 217. 5. David E. Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy (New York, 2009), 44. 6. ‘Minutes, NSC Meeting, Sanctions, 18 June 1982’, in Saltoun-Ebin, The Reagan Files, 185. 7. ‘Letter, Ronald Reagan to Liuba Vaschenko, 11 October 1984’, in Kiron Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson, eds, Reagan: A Life in Letters (New York, 2003), 380. 8. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley CA (henceforth RRPL), Robert McFarlane files, Reorganized Archival Collection (henceforth RAC) Box 3, Memorandum, Shultz to Reagan: USG-Soviet relations, 3 March 1983. 9.
Helsinki summit, Finlandia Hall, 1 August 1975 (AP) 5.1. Summitry on the Beach: Schmidt, Carter, Callaghan, and Giscard at Guadeloupe, 5 January 1990 (Jimmy Carter Library) 5.2. G7 Summit, Bonn, 17 July 1978 (Bundesbildstelle) 5.3. A Sweet Embrace, and SALT II: Carter and Brezhnev in Vienna, 18 June 1979 (AP) 6.1. Reagan and Gorbachev in Red Square, 31 May 1988 (Ronald Reagan Library) 6.2. Reagan-Gorbachev fireside chat at Fleur d’Eau, Geneva, 19 November 1985 (Ronald Reagan Library) 7.1. Bush and Deng in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, 26 February 1989 (AP) 7.2. Gorbachev overshadowed in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, 15 May 1989 (AP) 8.1. On Tree Trunks in the Caucasus: Kohl and Gorbachev, 15 July 1990 (Bundesbildstelle) 8.2. ‘The Bonn/Moscow Alliance: The War is Over’ (Der Spiegel, 23 July 1990) List of Abbreviations ABM Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty CBMs confidence-building measures CCP Chinese Communist Party CDU Christian Democratic Union of Germany (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) CPSU Communist Party of the Soviet Union CSCE Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe CSU Christian Social Union (Christlich-Soziale Union) CTBT Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty DMZ De-Militarized Zone DRV Democratic Republic of Vietnam EC European Community EU European Union ERWs enhanced radiation warheads FBS forward-based systems FRC Foreign Relations Committee, US Senate FRG Federal Republic of Germany GDR German Democratic Republic GLCM ground-launched cruise missiles G7 Group of Seven HVA Main Directorate for Reconnaissance, GDR (Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung) ICBMs intercontinental ballistic missiles INFs intermediate-range nuclear forces MAD Mutual Assured Destruction MBFR mutual and balanced force reduction (talks) MFN Most Favoured Nation trade status MIRVs multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization NORAD North American Aerospace Defense Command NSC National Security Council NSDD National Security Decision Directive NVA National People’s Army of the GDR (Nationale Volksarmee) PRC People’s Republic of China SALT Strategic Arms Limitation Talks SDI Strategic Defense Initiative SED Socialist Unity Party of Germany (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) SLBMs submarine-launched ballistic missiles SPD Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) SRINFs shorter-range INFs UN United Nations List of Contributors James Cameron is a Stanton Research Fellow at Fundação Getulio Vargas in Brazil.
Five years earlier, President Ronald Reagan had likened the USSR to an ‘evil empire’, which exported communist revolution even as it crushed dissent within the Soviet bloc. Yet on that spring day in 1988 he sang a new tune. When asked by one American reporter whether he still believed that his hosts were ‘the evil empire’, he recanted: ‘I was talking about another time, another era.’ Standing beside him, Mikhail Gorbachev felt vindicated; via backchannels in March he had urged Reagan to make precisely such a statement. The president’s words signalled an acknowledgement that a new Soviet Union was emerging thanks to Gorbachev’s reforms. The Soviet leader uttered a single word in reply: ‘Right.’1 Fig. 6.1. Reagan and Gorbachev in Red Square, 31 May 1988 (Ronald Reagan Library) That moment in Red Square was the high-water mark of an amazing odyssey for each leader.
The Abandonment of the West by Michael Kimmage
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, City Beautiful movement, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global pandemic, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Peace of Westphalia, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Thomas L Friedman, transatlantic slave trade, urban planning, Washington Consensus
Its oversized, anachronistic neoclassicism could be said to underscore the West of Woodrow Wilson and the West of Ronald Reagan, putting them in close proximity to the West of the National Mall. (Wilson and Reagan were both fans of free and international trade.) If so, the Ronald Reagan Building makes these associations with the West without creativity, amounting to an architecturally elevated place for work, for conventions and for the tourists passing through en route to the city’s true monuments and memorable set-piece buildings. It is not a real contribution to the iconic narrative downtown Washington was designed to convey. It lacks the stateliness of Daniel Burnham’s Union Station and the spare loveliness of John Russell Pope’s National Gallery. A troglodytic tribute to the West, the Ronald Reagan Building turns its back on the modern city around it.
This equation of Greco-Roman or Western civilization with legalized cooperation, an increase in the number of enlightened nations and the spread of international law has been among the most durable impulses in American foreign policy. Many American presidents saw in the twentieth-century United States the Kantian superstate of the modern era, the law-giving guarantor of a pax americana.14 Since the 1890s, the messianic and the legalistic strains of Western liberty have combined and collided in American foreign policy. The most eagerly messianic presidents were John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, though Ronald Reagan started no major war during his presidency and found a way to conduct arms control and other negotiations with the despised Soviets. JFK, LBJ and George W. Bush all indulged in high-level military adventures, wars of choice or wars dictated by a love of liberty. Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman were messianic-legalistic, balancing military ventures with the furtherance of international order and the construction of multilateral arrangements and institutions.
Their architects got the commissions to put them on the National Mall, and so they did. To be sure, neoclassicism is no longer the answer. The 1998 Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center stands near the National Mall and is an entirely uninspired assertion of the neoclassical style. It completes the Federal Triangle project of 1929 to 1938, which added a suite of heavy neoclassical buildings to the space between the White House and the National Mall. The enormous Department of Commerce occupies one point on this triangle. It was completed in 1932, and the 1935 Department of Justice grimly occupies another corner. The Ronald Reagan Building of Pei, Cobb, Freed and Parthers hints mutely at a presidential and diplomatic narrative. It contains a Woodrow Wilson Plaza and is home to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky
"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate personhood, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, liberation theology, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, one-state solution, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, wage slave, WikiLeaks, working-age population
Significantly, he adds: “The astonishing feature of the federal fiscal position is that revenues are forecast to be a mere 14.4 per cent of GDP in 2011, far below their postwar average of close to 18 per cent. Individual income tax is forecast to be a mere 6.3 per cent of GDP in 2011. This non-American cannot understand what the fuss is about: in 1988, at the end of Ronald Reagan’s term, receipts were 18.2 per cent of GDP. Tax revenue has to rise substantially if the deficit is to close.” Astonishing indeed, but deficit reduction is the demand of the financial institutions and the superrich, and in a rapidly declining democracy, that’s what counts.21 Though the deficit crisis has been manufactured for reasons of savage class war, the long-term debt crisis is serious, and has been ever since Ronald Reagan’s fiscal irresponsibility turned the United States from the world’s leading creditor to the world’s leading debtor, tripling the national debt and raising threats to the economy that were rapidly escalated by George W.
., who led U.S. counterinsurgency and internal defense planning from 1961 to 1966, describes the unsurprising consequences of the 1962 decision as a shift from toleration of “the rapacity and cruelty of the Latin American military” to “direct complicity” in their crimes, to U.S. support for “the methods of Heinrich Himmler’s extermination squads.”19 One major initiative was a military coup in Brazil, backed by Washington and implemented shortly after Kennedy’s assassination, that instituted a murderous and brutal national security state there. The plague of repression then spread through the hemisphere, encompassing the 1973 coup that installed the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile and later the most vicious of all, the Argentine dictatorship—Ronald Reagan’s favorite Latin American regime. Central America’s turn—not for the first time—came in the 1980s under the leadership of the “warm and friendly ghost” of the Hoover Institution scholars, who is now revered for his achievements. The murder of the Jesuit intellectuals as the Berlin Wall fell was a final blow in defeating the heresy of liberation theology, the culmination of a decade of horror in El Salvador that opened with the assassination, by much the same hands, of Archbishop Óscar Romero, the “voice for the voiceless.”
Secretary of State George Shultz informed Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir that Washington “had considerable sympathy for the Israeli action,” which, to general approbation, he termed “a legitimate response” to “terrorist attacks.”9 A few days later, the UN Security Council unanimously denounced the bombing as an “act of armed aggression” (with the United States abstaining).10 “Aggression” is, of course, a far more serious crime than international terrorism. But giving the United States and Israel the benefit of the doubt, let us keep to the lesser charge against their leadership. A few days after, Peres went to Washington to consult with the leading international terrorist of the day, Ronald Reagan, who denounced “the evil scourge of terrorism,” again to general acclaim from “the world.”11 The “terrorist attacks” that Shultz and Peres offered as the pretext for the bombing of Tunis were the killings of three Israelis in Larnaca, Cyprus. The killers, as Israel conceded, had nothing to do with Tunis, though they might have had Syrian connections.12 Tunis was a preferable target, however; it was defenseless, unlike Damascus.
The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory by Andrew J. Bacevich
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, clean water, Columbian Exchange, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, gig economy, global village, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, illegal immigration, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Occupy movement, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, price stability, Project for a New American Century, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, school choice, Silicon Valley, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, WikiLeaks
For a concise overview, see Ken Hughes, “Richard Nixon: Domestic Affairs,” Miller Center, https://millercenter.org/president/nixon/domestic-affairs, accessed October 27, 2017. 9. Paul Lewis, “Nixon’s Economic Policies Return to Haunt the G.O.P.,” New York Times (August 15, 1976). 10. Ronald Reagan, “Remarks Announcing Candidacy for the Republican Presidential Nomination” (November 13, 1979); “Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Detroit” (July 17, 1980). 11. Ronald Reagan, “Inaugural Address” (January 20, 1981). 12. Ronald Reagan, “Farewell Address to the Nation” (January 11, 1989). 13. An image of the ad is available at https://www.buzzfeed.com/ilanbenmeir/that-time-trump-spent-nearly-100000-on-an-ad-criticizing-us?utm_term=.dhXAnvnL6#.wdRK878aR, accessed October 28, 2017. 14.
Those who had remained on the sidelines paid no penalty. As the war faded into memory, much of the energy stoked by the events of the Sixties dissipated or was redirected toward trivial pursuits. The nation moved on, only superficially changed by the turmoil it had endured. Dick and Ron Put Things Right Nothing better illustrates the process by which postwar normalcy was restored than the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. During the Cold War, only three presidents managed to win two terms. Nixon and Reagan were two of those three. Their electoral success was well deserved: Nixon and Reagan were, in fact, the nation’s two most consequential chief executives of the late twentieth century, even if more recent events have greatly diminished their legacies. Many Americans today revile Nixon; as many remember Reagan fondly.
Although tensions between the United States and the USSR eased in the mid-1980s, few observers possessed the imagination to conceive of a world in which the Cold War might become a mere memory. For national security professionals, especially those charged with thinking unthinkable thoughts about World War III, the one thought that remained truly beyond the pale was the prospect of the Cold War actually ending. As late as 1988, even with President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev acting like best buddies, Pentagon propagandists were still insisting that the Kremlin’s “long-standing ambition to become the dominant world power” remained intact, as did its commitment to “a basically adversarial relationship” dictated by the “Marxist dialectic.” Having “amassed enormous military power, far in excess of what might be required for defense,” the Soviets were even then continuing to “expand their military power,” in large part to “satisfy their imperialist urge.”
The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David Hoffman
active measures, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, failed state, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, standardized shipping container, Stanislav Petrov, Thomas L Friedman, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, zero-sum game
It was the craziest thing I had ever heard of: Simply put, it called for each side to keep enough nuclear weapons at the ready to obliterate each other, so that if one attacked, the second had enough bombs left to annihilate its adversary in a matter of minutes. We were a button push away from oblivion." Ronald Reagan, An American Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990), p. 13. 7 Ronald Reagan, The Reagan Diaries (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), June 7, 1981. 8 Martin Anderson, presentation, Oct. 11, 2006, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, "Implications of the Reykjavik Summit on Its Twentieth Anniversary." Also, communication with author, Sept. 10, 2008. 9 Tony Thomas, The Films of Ronald Reagan (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1980), pp. 98-99. 10 Laurence W. Beilenson, The Treaty Trap: A History of the Performance of Political Treaties by the United States and European Nations (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1969), pp. 212, 219-221. 11 The author covered the Reagan campaign as a reporter for Knight-Ridder newspapers, and never picked up on Reagan's nuclear abolitionist views.
In the years leading up to the Soviet collapse, he kept detailed notebooks, filled with technical information about weapons systems and key decisions. Here, he attends a May Day celebration, date unknown. [Ksenia Kostrova] Katayev in the 1990s. [Ksenia Kostrova] A Katayev drawing on modular missiles. [Hoover Institution Archives] President Ronald Reagan and the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed the concept of missile defense on February 11, 1983. The president wrote in his diary that night, "What if we tell the world, we want to protect our people, not avenge them...?" [Ronald Reagan Library] Reagan unveiled his vision for the Strategic Defense Initiative in a televised speech on March 23, 1983. [Ray Lustig/Washington Post] The nuclear accident at Chernobyl in April 1986 was a turning point for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. [Reuters] Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, chief of the Soviet General Staff, played a key role in Gorbachev's drive to slow the arms race.
[RIA Novosti] A poster outlining Gorbachev's proposal in 1986 to eliminate all nuclear weapons by the year 2000. Akhromeyev is identified on the reverse as the main author. [Hoover Institution Archives] At the Reykjavik summit, October 11-12, 1986, Gorbachev and Reagan came closer than any other leaders of the Cold War Period to agreements that would slash nuclear arsenals. [Ronald Reagan Library] They parted without a deal after Reagan insisted that his cherished dream of missile defense could not be limited to research in the laboratory. [Ronald Reagan Library] Yevgeny Velikhov (right), an open-minded physicist, helped break through the walls of Soviet military secrecy. With Thomas B. Cochran of the Natural Resources Defense Council, near the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, July 1986. [RIA Novosti] Velikhov and Cochran arranged an unprecedented joint experiment to verify the presence of a nuclear warhead on a missile aboard the Slava, a Soviet cruiser off the coast of Yalta, July 1989.
1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink by Taylor Downing
active measures, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear paranoia, nuclear winter, RAND corporation, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Stanislav Petrov, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, Yom Kippur War
Reed concluded, ‘I have no doubt that on that Monday in March, Ronald Reagan came to understand exactly what a Soviet nuclear attack on the US would be like.’17 That evening, Reagan again descended to the Situation Room to participate in the exercise. He was given a full briefing on the SIOP options. It was explained how he would have to call the Pentagon using special codes to identify himself as the President. This seems to have been as intimidating for Reagan as the earlier session. It was made clear to the President that ‘with a nod of his head all the glories of Imperial Russia, all the hopes and dreams of the peasants in Ukraine, and all the pioneering settlements in Kazakhstan would vanish. Tens of millions of women and children who had done nothing to harm American citizens would be burned to a crisp.’18 Courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library A serious Reagan, who had just witnessed a simulation of a nuclear attack on the US, with William Rogers who played the part of the President in the rest of the Ivy League 82 war game, 1 March 1982.
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009. Key Sources NSA The National Security Archive is a non-governmental research and archive organisation located at George Washington University, Washington DC. The NSA publishes vast numbers of documents in series of Workbooks, many of which are available online. See: www.nsarchive.gwu.edu REAGAN The Public Papers of Ronald Reagan are held in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. All his speeches can be found online in date order. See: www.reaganlibrary.archives.gov/archives/speeches CARTER The key speeches of Jimmy Carter are available online at the American Presidency Project at the University of California. See: www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ BUSH The key speeches of George H. W. Bush are available online at the American Presidency Project at the University of California.
By the time the film came out this possibility had been closed off, allowing the US Air Force to claim that events depicted in the film could never happen. 11 Excellent accounts of the Cuban missile crisis can be found in Michael Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight; Michael Beschloss, Kennedy Versus Khrushchev; Robert Smith Thompson, The Missiles of October; and from the Soviet side Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, ‘One Hell of a Gamble’. 12 Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, p.245ff. 13 Ronald Reagan, An American Life, p.257 & p.13. 14 See the Acknowledgements for a more detailed outline of the making of the television documentary and the work of the National Security Archive. 15 Octopussy, directed by John Glen, produced by Albert Broccoli, written by George MacDonald Fraser, Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum, and starring Roger Moore and Maud Adams with Steven Berkoff as General Orlov; see Jeremy Black, The World of James Bond. 1 Reagan 1 REAGAN: Inauguration Address, 20 January 1981; and see Edmund Morris, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, pp.410–12. 2 The films were Knute Rockne, All American (1940), in which he played a football player, George Gipp, who died of pneumonia, and which gave him one of his most famous lines–‘Win one for the Gipper’; Santa Fe Trail (1940); and Kings Row (1942), during which, after awaking from an operation in which both his legs had been amputated by a sadistic doctor, he screamed the famous question ‘Where’s the rest of me?’
Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies by Judith Stein
"Robert Solow", 1960s counterculture, activist lawyer, affirmative action, airline deregulation, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, desegregation, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial deregulation, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, income per capita, intermodal, invisible hand, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Martin Wolf, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-industrial society, post-oil, price mechanism, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, union organizing, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yom Kippur War
Other scholars trace rightward trends, culminating in the election of conservative Ronald Reagan as president in 1980. Since 1992, when Michael Kazin enjoined historians to write more about conservatism, the profession has answered the call.5 Because most historians today are closer to the left than to the right, many treat their subjects the way anthropologists do theirs. A few argue that post-World War II political culture was never as liberal as assumed. They write about conservative communities or conservatives in general, a new Right, leading up to the 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater.6 But the key fact about Goldwater was not that he presaged a future but that he lost massively in 1964. If Goldwaterites were the only people who voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, he would have lost. There is a thread that links conservative ideas.
It followed only half of the German model. Yes, the government of Helmut Schmidt pursued tight money. But it was active in the microeconomy, ensuring that its industries were able to thrive in the new conditions. Just as the Fed did, Carter initially focused simply on inflation. But Republican Ronald Reagan and primary challenger Edward Kennedy argued that Carter had no real plan to improve the economy, and they were right. The upcoming election forced him to face the nation’s problems that the Fed could ignore. CHOOSING CANDIDATES IN HARD TIMES Ronald Reagan emerged from a large field of Republican contenders who sensed the president’s vulnerability in 1980. Perennial candidate Harold Stassen thought that his time was now. Congressman John Anderson of Illinois ran for president in 1980 because he had become too liberal for his Rockport district.
Germond and Jules Witcover, Blue Smoke and Mirrors: How Reagan Won and Why Carter Lost the Election of 1980 (New York: Viking, 1981), 320. 5. Andrew E. Busch, Reagan’s Victory: The Presidential Election of 1980 and the Rise of the Right (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005), 130. 6. Washington Post, Nov. 6, 1980, Bi. 7. During his first term, defense outlays increased by one third. 8. Ronald Reagan, “Address to the Nation on the Economy,” Feb. 5, 1981, in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1982), 78–83. 9. Ronald Reagan, “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Program for Economic Recovery,” Feb. 18, 1981, in Public Papers (1981), http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=43425. 10. Don Fullerton, “Inputs to Tax Policy-Making: The Supply Side, the Deficit, and the Level Playing Field,” in American Economic Policy in the 1980s, ed.
America in the World by Robert B. Zoellick
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Corn Laws, coronavirus, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, hypertext link, illegal immigration, immigration reform, imperial preference, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, Paul Samuelson, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty
Sestanovich, Maximalist, 203 (Reagan quote); Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, 617 (unreliable partner). 101. Kissinger, Diplomacy, 742–47; Sestanovich, Maximalist, 207. Chapter 16. Ronald Reagan: The Revivalist 1. Robert C. Rowland and John M. Jones, Reagan at Westminster: Foreshadowing the End of the Cold War (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2010), 63; Charles Moore, Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, vol. 1, From Grantham to the Falklands (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), 580. For the full address, see Ronald Reagan, “Address to Members of the British Parliament,” June 8, 1982, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum (hereafter Reagan Library), https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/research/speeches/60882a. 2. See “The Royal Gallery,” United Kingdom Parliament, https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/palace/architecture/palace-s-interiors/royal-gallery/. 3.
See Hayward, Age of Reagan, 295 for Shultz reaction. 59. Ronald Reagan, The Reagan Diaries, vol. 1, ed. Douglas Brinkley (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 212 (emphasis in original); Wilson, Triumph of Improvisation, 74. 60. Wilson, Triumph of Improvisation, 76–78; Brands, Making the Unipolar Moment, 69, 88–96; Hayward, Age of Reagan, 343 (on 1984). 61. See Ronald Reagan, “Address to the Nation and Other Countries on United States–Soviet Relations,” January 16, 1984, Reagan Library, https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/research/speeches/11684a; Skinner, Turning Points, 34–37; Hayward, Age of Reagan, 346–47. 62. Reagan, “Address to the Nation and Other Countries on United States–Soviet Relations”; Hayward, Age of Reagan, 346–47. 63. See Ronald Reagan, “Remarks on East-West Relations at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin,” June 12, 1987, Reagan Library, https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/research/speeches/061287d; Sestanovich, Maximalist, 227 on RR quote; Wilson, Triumph of Improvisation, 85 on RR wanting to meet; Hayward, Age of Reagan, 1–2 on staff debate and RR decision and 593–94 on reusing phrase; Rowland and Jones, Reagan at Westminster, 116 on strategy.
Yet Kissinger’s vulnerability, Sestanovich concluded, stemmed from the secretary of state’s inability to “keep the center with him.” After eight years at the pinnacle of power, Kissinger’s weakness understandably reflected the accumulations of enemies, mistakes, envy, and honest differences.101 The realpolitik of Nixon and Kissinger also needed a complementary blend of ideas from other American diplomatic traditions. CHAPTER 16 Ronald Reagan The Revivalist The Journey to Westminster President Ronald Reagan arrived at the Royal Gallery in London’s Palace of Westminster around noon on June 8, 1982. Earlier that warm summer day, the president had toured the grounds of Windsor Great Park on horseback with Queen Elizabeth II. Reagan had originally hoped to speak at Parliament’s Westminster Hall, but the Labour Party and others blocked the president from that venue.
The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? by Michael J. Sandel
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, coronavirus, COVID-19, Credit Default Swap, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, global supply chain, helicopter parent, High speed trading, immigration reform, income inequality, Khan Academy, laissez-faire capitalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Washington Consensus
Eisenhower quoted the visitor as follows: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good—and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” 48 Although these sentences do not appear in Tocqueville’s work, 49 they proved popular with subsequent presidents, especially Republicans. Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush all used them on inspirational occasions, often when speaking to religious audiences. 50 In a 1984 address to a convention of Christian evangelicals, Ronald Reagan drew explicitly on the providential basis of the slogan: All our material wealth and all our influence have been built on our faith in God and the bedrock values that follow from that faith. The great French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, 150 years ago, is said to have observed that America is great because America is good.
Eisenhower, “Address at the New England ‘Forward to ’54’ Dinner,” Boston, Massachusetts, September 21, 1953, at presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/address-the-new-england-forward-54-dinner-boston-massachusetts . 49 . See John Pitney, “The Tocqueville Fraud,” The Weekly Standard , November 12, 1995, at weeklystandard.com/john-j-pitney/the-tocqueville-fraud . 50. Counting variations of the quote, Gerald R. Ford used it six times as president, Ronald Reagan used it ten times, and George H. W. Bush used it six times. Incidence of use was calculated using the searchable document archive of the American Presidency Project, University of California, Santa Barbara, at presidency.ucsb.edu/advanced-search . 51. President Ronald Reagan, “Remarks at the Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Columbus, Ohio,” March 6, 1984, at presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/remarks-the-annual-convention-the-national-association-evangelicals-columbus-ohio . 52. Incidence of use was calculated using the searchable document archive of the American Presidency Project, University of California, Santa Barbara, at presidency.ucsb.edu/advanced-search .
See also pp. 273, 292. 12. Gerhard Schröder, December 31, 2002, quoted in Yascha Mounk, The Age of Responsibility: Luck, Choice, and the Welfare State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017), pp. 220–21. Translated by Mounk. See also pp. 1–6. 13. Mounk, ibid., quote at p. 30; see generally pp. 28–37. 14. Ronald Reagan, “Remarks at a White House Briefing for Black Administration Appointees,” June 25, 1984, the American Presidency Project, presidency.ucsb.edu/node/260916 ; Ronald Reagan, “Radio Address to the Nation on Tax Reform,” May 25, 1985, the American Presidency Project, presidency.ucsb.edu/node/259932 . 15. William J. Clinton, “Remarks to the Democratic Leadership Council,” December 3, 1993, the American Presidency Project, presidency.ucsb.edu/node/218963 ; Obama used some version of the phrase 50 times during his presidency, Reagan 15 times, Clinton 14 times, George W.
The End of the Cold War: 1985-1991 by Robert Service
active measures, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier
Detail of the 1988 map of Soviet medium- and short-range nuclear-missile sites (Kataev Papers, Hoover Institution Archives) 14. Reagan’s letter to Gorbachëv, 11 March 1985 (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Archives) 15. Gorbachëv’s letter to Reagan on 10 June 1985 (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Archives) 16. Fireside conversation between Reagan and Gorbachëv: Geneva, November 1985 (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images) 17. Sergei Akhromeev’s poster (January 1986) offering his plan for the stage-by-stage global elimination of all nuclear weapons (Kataev Papers, Hoover Institution Archives) 18. Tête-à-tête discussion between Gorbachëv and Reagan: Reykjavik, 11 October 1986 (Images Gro/REX Shutterstock) 19. Reykjavik summit talks around the table, 11 October 1986 (Images Gro/REX Shutterstock) 20. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: 15 November 1986, Camp David (By courtesy of the Reagan Library) 21.
THE FIFTH MAN 33. THE OTHER CONTINENT: ASIA 34. EPITAPH FOR WORLD COMMUNISM 35. REVOLUTION IN EASTERN EUROPE 36. THE MALTA SUMMIT 37. REDRAWING THE MAP OF EUROPE 38. THE NEW GERMANY 39. BALTIC TRIANGLE 40. THE THIRD MAN BREAKS LOOSE 41. A NEW WORLD ORDER? 42. ENDINGS POSTSCRIPT Select Bibliography Notes Index List of Illustrations 1. Ronald Reagan at his inauguration in January 1981 (By courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Library) 2. Secretary of State George Shultz in 1985 (Photo by Diana Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images) 3. General Secretary Yuri Andropov (Photo by ADN-Bildarchiv/ullstein bild via Getty Images). 4. Konstantin Chernenko with Boris Ponomarëv and Haile Mariam Mengistu in December 1984 (AFP/Getty Images) 5. General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachëv (Photo by Sasha Stone/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)) 6.
Stepanov-Mamaladze Papers Edward Teller Papers Understanding the End of the Cold War: Reagan/Gorbachev Years: An Oral History Conference 7–10 May, 1998, Brown University: a compendium of declassified documents and chronology of events, comp. and ed. V. Zubok, C. Nielsen, G. Grant (Providence, RI: Watson Institute, Brown University, 1998) Dmitri A. Volkogonov Papers Zelikow-Rice Papers National Security Archive, George Washington University, Washington DC Ronald Reagan Presidential Papers (CD-Rom: BACM Research) (abbreviated as RRPP) Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California (abbreviated as RRPL) Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Sotsial’no-Politicheskoi Istorii, Moscow (abbreviated as RGASPI) Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford University (abbreviated as RESCA) Anatoli Chernyaev Papers Online sources CIA, At Cold War’s End: US Intelligence on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, 1989–1991, www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/at-cold-wars-end-us-intelligence-on-the-soviet-union-and-eastern-europe-1989-1991/art-1.html End of the Cold War Forum (abbreviated as ECWF) B.
What's the Matter with White People by Joan Walsh
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, banking crisis, clean water, collective bargaining, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, full employment, global village, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, invisible hand, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, mass immigration, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, urban decay, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
After Carter, Ronald Reagan sounded themes of American unity and optimism. Just as Nixon had learned some of his law-and-order, culture-war tactics from Reagan’s divisive 1966 campaign, Reagan learned from Nixon’s fall. He mostly shed his nasty culture-warrior persona of the sixties to become the man who would awaken us to “Morning in America.” Reagan could afford to move to higher ground; Nixon had done the job of dividing us. And Democrats, running away from their own history, had no message to unite us. Part III The Loneliness of the Reagan-Era Do-Gooder Chapter 13 Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. —Ronald Reagan, August 1986 Ronald Reagan wiped the political slate clean, erasing the history of American class conflict and the Democratic Party’s legacy of standing with the common man.
Suddenly, cable news shows that had been obsessing over the deficit “crisis” and President Obama’s latest poll numbers were explaining how decades of tax cuts and deregulation unraveled the social contract established in the New Deal. It had been accepted by every American president for thirty years afterward, until Richard Nixon brilliantly divided the New Deal coalition, largely around race. In the early days, polls showed that the Occupy movement’s grievances were broadly shared, even by the white working class, which Nixon and then Ronald Reagan had lured to the GOP. Yet how long before the 99 percent would cleave back into the 51 and the 48 percent? I couldn’t know. For the moment, though, it was amazing to see such broadly shared political discontent surfacing at all. As I headed down the dark canyon of Wall Street itself, I decided to climb the steps of Federal Hall to get a better view of blue-helmeted cops behind barricades, waiting for trouble that never came that day.
When Romney released 2010 tax returns showing that while he made $21 million off investments, he only paid a 13.9 percent tax rate—a lower rate than middle-class workers—he offered the nation a crash course in our plutocratic tax policy. Unfortunately, some of the politicians who’d worked hardest to protect Romney’s low investment tax rate were Democrats, a complication that hinders the party’s attempt to channel the interests of the 99 percent. Even some of the white working class, the group Ronald Reagan had turned into Reagan Democrats by railing against “welfare queens” everyone knew were black, seemed to be waking up. Right-wing author Charles Murray, who in the 1980s blamed government for encouraging sloth and single parenthood in the black community, published a best seller that said the same thing about the white “lower class”: they were suffering from declining wages and higher unemployment not because of a changed economy, but because they had come to prefer slacking and shacking up to hard work and marriage.
The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties by Christopher Caldwell
1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, computer age, crack epidemic, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, desegregation, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, George Gilder, global value chain, Home mortgage interest deduction, illegal immigration, immigration reform, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, libertarian paternalism, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, mortgage tax deduction, Nate Silver, new economy, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, pre–internet, profit motive, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game
The American public had come to see the political project of the 1960s as dangerously utopian. They brought California governor Ronald Reagan to power to put an end to it. Instead, in ways that neither his supporters nor his detractors have ever fully understood, he rescued it. Part II THE NEW CONSTITUTION 5 Debt The counterculture in middle age—Reaganism: a generational truce—Reaganomics: a political strategy—What did the debt buy?—Immigration, inequality, and debt—Immigration and the failure of democracy—The changing spirit of civil rights—“People of color” and “African-Americans”—Immigration and inequality—The quest for a new elite The victory of Ronald Reagan in the presidential election of 1980 was not just the reaction of an older America against Baby Boom enthusiasms. On the contrary, it brought almost the whole of the Baby Boom generation into the electorate.
the Obama administration would pay her: Jason Furman and Jim Stock, “New Report: The All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy as a Path to Sustainable Economic Growth,” White House press release, May 29, 2014. “an implicit deal”: William Strauss and Neil Howe, Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 (New York: Quill, 1991), 14. “The national debt tripled under Reagan”: John Patrick Diggins, Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History (New York: Norton, 2007), 178. “The answer to a government”: Ronald Reagan, “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Program for Economic Recovery,” April 28, 1981. Online at reaganlibrary.gov. Its origins in a restaurant: “Laffer Curve Napkin,” National Museum of American History. Online at americanhistory.si.edu. “embrace the role of Scrooge”: Quoted in Bruce Bartlett, “Taxes and a Two-Santa Theory,” National Observer, March 6, 1976.
Yes, this was for a special purpose—to fight racism—but the Griggs decision made clear that the government was now authorized to act against racism even if there was no evidence of any racist intent. This was an opening to arbitrary power. And once arbitrary power is conferred, it matters little what it was conferred for. That seemed to worry people. Skepticism about the civil rights revolution spread quickly in the wider public, if slowly among opinion leaders. In 1966, former B-movie actor Ronald Reagan, an opponent of both the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, unseated California governor Edmund “Pat” Brown, a popular public servant and master campaigner. The episode was so bewildering to the educated classes that Commentary magazine commissioned the Harvard political scientist James Q. Wilson, himself a native Californian of humble origins, to write a “Guide to Reagan Country” for its readers.
The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis
American ideology, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, full employment, land reform, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine
., #11 (Winter, 1998), 5–14. 62 Interview, CNN Cold War, Episode 19, “Freeze.” 63 I have drawn, in the following two sections, upon arguments developed in further detail in Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, pp. 353–79. 64 Speech at Notre Dame University, May 17, 1981, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1981 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1982), p. 434. 65 Speech to members of the British Parliament, London, June 8, 1982, Reagan Public Papers, 1982, pp. 744—47. For the drafting of this speech, see Richard Pipes, Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), pp. 197–200. 66 Speech to the National Association of Evangelicals, Orlando, Florida, March 8, 1983, Reagan Public Papers, 1983, p. 364; Ronald Reagan, An American Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990), pp. 569–70. 67 The figures are in Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, pp. 393–94. 68 Lettow, Ronald Reagan, p. 23; Reagan, An American Life, p. 13. 69 Radio-television address, March 23, 1983, Reagan Public Papers, 1983, pp. 442—43. 70 Ibid., p. 364.
English and Elizabeth Tucker (University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), p. 46; Mikhail Gorbachev, Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), pp. 69–70. 81 For more on the movie, see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086637/. 82 Lettow, Ronald Reagan, pp. 179–86. 83 Chernyaev diary, January 16, 1986, in Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev, pp. 45—46. 84 See Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, p. 359. 85 Gorbachev, Memoirs, pp. 191, 193. 86 Lettow, Ronald Reagan, pp. 217–26; Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, p. 366n. 87 Gorbachev, Memoirs, p. 419. 88 Remarks on Signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, December 8, 1987, Reagan Public Papers, 1987, p. 1208. 89 See the Chernyaev transcript of the Bush-Gorbachev meeting at Malta, December 3, 1989, CWIHP Bulletin, #12/13 (Fall/Winter, 2001), p. 236.
The danger of war between the United States and the Soviet Union—two superpowers instead of the three Orwell had anticipated—seemed greater than it had for many years. And the apparently permanent conflict known as the “Cold War,” which began while Orwell was still alive, showed not the slightest signs of ending. But then, on the evening of January 16, 1984, an actor Orwell would have recognized from his years as a film reviewer appeared on television in his more recent role as president of the United States. Ronald Reagan’s reputation until this moment had been that of an ardent Cold Warrior. Now, though, he envisaged a different future:Just suppose with me for a moment that an Ivan and an Anya could find themselves, say, in a waiting room, or sharing a shelter from the rain or a storm with a Jim and Sally, and that there was no language barrier to keep them from getting acquainted. Would they then deliberate the differences between their respective governments?
America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy by Francis Fukuyama
affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, European colonialism, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Internet Archive, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus
It is thus not surprising that most neo-conservatives were broadly supportive of Ronald Reagan's effort to remoralize the struggle between Soviet communism and liberal democracy and did not wince in embarrassment when he spoke of the Soviet Union as an "evil empire." On the other hand, from the late 1970s on it became increasingly hard to disentangle neoconservatism from other, more traditional varieties of American conservatism, whether based on small-government libertarianism, religious or social conservatism, or American nationalism. Even identifying who qualified as a neoconservative became difficult. This was true for two reasons. First, many neoconservative ideas were wholeheartedly adopted by mainstream conservatives and, indeed, by a broader American public. Ronald Reagan may have offered anecdotes of "welfare queens," but the debate about welfare turned much more serious when the link between social programs like AFDC and welfare dependency was supported by empirical social scientists in the pages of The Public Interest.
Neoconservatives were in their origin (mostly) Jewish intellectuals who loved to read, write, argue, and debate; in a sense, it was their intellectual brilliance, their ability to reflect, and the nuance and flexibility associated with intellectual debate that was most notable about them, and what set them apart from the paleoconservatives. Of the two presidents in question, Ronald Reagan in my view more clearly qualifies as a neoconservative. Much as his enemies are loath to admit it, Ronald Reagan was an intellectual of sorts: in the first decade or so of his career, all he had to offer were ideas and arguments about communism and the free market, American values, and the defects of the reigning liberal orthodoxy. He also bore a similarity to the City College crowd insofar as he came to anticommunism from the left: he started out as a Democrat and an admirer of Franklin Roosevelt and was a labor leader as president of the Screen Actors Guild.
During the late 1970s and 1980s, Wohlstetter turned his attention to the Persian Gulf, Iraq, the Iran-Iraq war, and the burgeoning problem of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. He and his students thus played a critical role in translating a broad, general set of neoconservative ideas into specific foreign policy preferences. Through Wohlstetter's influence on people like Robert Bartley, the long-time Wall Street Journal opinion page editor, these preferences came to define the hard-line alternative to Kissinger and detente and were incorporated into policy when Ronald Reagan was elected president. The Neoconservative Legacy A constant thread running throughout Wohlstetter's work was the impact on warfare of increasing targeting precision. At the nuclear level, multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) made possible a counterforce strike at hardened missile silos, while in conventional warfare precision targeting made obsolete the need to flatten entire cities and their civilian populations as occurred during the Allied bombing campaigns against Germany and Japan.
Free Market Missionaries: The Corporate Manipulation of Community Values by Sharon Beder
anti-communist, battle of ideas, business climate, corporate governance, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, income inequality, invisible hand, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, old-boy network, popular capitalism, Powell Memorandum, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, risk/return, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, spread of share-ownership, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Torches of Freedom, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, young professional
In an era when the ‘limits to growth’ were proclaimed, the gnostic supply-siders made claims to knowing the secret of endless wealth: the magic of the market place . . . a theory for the multitude of go-getters, promising that the cornucopia was bottomless.35 This optimism helped Ronald Reagan to get elected, despite George Bush labelling supply-side theories as ‘voodoo economics’ when he was a rival candidate for presidential nomination in the 1980 primaries. Reagan’s campaign advertisements promised tax cuts that would make everyone better off: Ronald Reagan believes that when you tax something, you get less of it. We’re taxing work, savings, and investment like never before. As a result, we have less work, less savings, and less invested.36 Like monetarism, supply-side economics failed to deliver on its promises in practice.
Coors spent a further $300,000 on a building to house it, and committed millions of dollars to its ongoing operations.3 This commitment enabled it to collect further funds from other corporate donors, such as petroleum tycoon Edward Noble. Coors was on the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), managed plants where unions were banned, and was a staunch Reagan supporter. UK newspaper The Guardian referred to Coors as an ‘ultraconservative businessman who, for all practical purposes, bought the White House for Ronald Reagan in 1980’. Coors supported Ronald Reagan from the 1960s and Reagan often visited the Coors’ family home. The Coors Corporation sponsored Reagan’s radio shows, while the Heritage Foundation supplied him with many of his policy ideas. After Reagan was elected president, ‘Joe became a member of his Kitchen Cabinet, offering stafﬁng and policy suggestions . . .’.4 The initial leadership of the Heritage Foundation was drawn from the youthful staff of conservative politicians in Washington, including Paul Weyrich, who served as the foundation’s ﬁrst president, and Edward Feulner, who has been the foundation’s long-term president since 1977.
Early on it brought in Friedman, then a little known economist, as adviser. One White House ofﬁcial told The Atlantic that the AEI played a large part in getting Ronald Reagan elected by making ‘conservatism intellectually respectable’. Its promotion of deregulated markets found expression in Reagan policies. By 1985, it employed 176 people, boasted 90 adjunct scholars and a budget of $12.6 million, 45 per cent from some 600 major corporations.45 The Heritage Foundation was also extremely inﬂuential during the Reagan years. It provided information to members of Congress, and most of its policy recommendations, outlined in a document entitled Mandate for Change, were adopted by the Reagan administration. Feulner received a Presidential Citizen’s Medal from Ronald Reagan for being ‘a leader of the conservative movement . . . who has helped shape the policy of our Government’.
Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan
Cass Sunstein, computer age, data acquisition, drone strike, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, game design, hiring and firing, index card, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, John von Neumann, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, national security letter, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, Y2K, zero day
That night’s feature: During his eight years as president, at Camp David and in the White House screening room, Reagan watched 374 movies, an average of nearly one a week, though often more. (“Movies Watched at Camp David and White House,” Aug. 19, 1988, 1st Lady Staff Office Papers, Ronald Reagan Library.) WarGames was an unusual choice; he usually watched adventures, light comedies, or musicals. But one of the film’s screenwriters, Lawrence Lasker, was the son of the actress Jane Greer and the producer Edward Lasker, old friends of Reagan from his days as a Hollywood movie star. Lawrence used his family connections to get a print to the president. (Interviews.) The following Wednesday morning: Office of the President, Presidential Briefing Papers, Box 31, 06/08/1983 (case file 150708) (1), Ronald Reagan Library; and interviews. This meeting is mentioned in Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), 38, but, in addition to getting the date wrong, Cannon depicts it as just another wacky case of Reagan taking movies too seriously; he doesn’t recount the president’s question to Gen.
CHAPTER 2 “It’s All About the Information” CHAPTER 3 A Cyber Pearl Harbor CHAPTER 4 Eligible Receiver CHAPTER 5 Solar Sunrise, Moonlight Maze CHAPTER 6 The Coordinator Meets Mudge CHAPTER 7 Deny, Exploit, Corrupt, Destroy CHAPTER 8 Tailored Access CHAPTER 9 Cyber Wars CHAPTER 10 Buckshot Yankee CHAPTER 11 “The Whole Haystack” CHAPTER 12 “Somebody Has Crossed the Rubicon” CHAPTER 13 Shady RATs CHAPTER 14 “The Five Guys Report” CHAPTER 15 “We’re Wandering in Dark Territory” Acknowledgments About the Author Notes Index for Brooke Gladstone CHAPTER 1 * * * “COULD SOMETHING LIKE THIS REALLY HAPPEN?” IT was Saturday, June 4, 1983, and President Ronald Reagan spent the day at Camp David, relaxing, reading some papers, then, after dinner, settling in, as he often did, to watch a movie. That night’s feature was WarGames, starring Matthew Broderick as a tech-whiz teenager who unwittingly hacks into the main computer at NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and, thinking that he’s playing a new computer game, nearly triggers World War III.
And because of the seamless worldwide network, the packets, and the Internet of Things, cyber war would involve not just soldiers, sailors, and pilots but, inexorably, the rest of us. When cyberspace is everywhere, cyber war can seep through every digital pore. During the transitions between presidents, the ideas of cyber warfare were dismissed, ignored, or forgotten, but they never disappeared. All along, and even before Ronald Reagan watched WarGames, esoteric enclaves of the national-security bureaucracy toiled away on fixing—and, still more, exploiting—the flaws in computer software. General Jack Vessey could answer Reagan’s question so quickly—within a week of the meeting on June 8, 1983, where the president asked if someone could really hack the military’s computers, like the kid in that movie—because he took the question to a man named Donald Latham.
Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History by Kurt Andersen
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, always be closing, American ideology, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Burning Man, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, centre right, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate raider, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, game design, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, High speed trading, hive mind, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, Joan Didion, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, Naomi Klein, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Picturephone, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Seaside, Florida, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, Wall-E, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, éminence grise
*6 By the end of the 1970s, we’d gotten the 1 percent’s share back down to that egalitarian early American level, but since then it has more than doubled, so U.S. economic unfairness in 2020 is similar to British economic unfairness in 1830. By the time the election came around in 1980—after Iranians took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran and kept fifty-two Americans hostage for a year, and a brief economic recession sealed the deal—it wasn’t a big shock when Ronald Reagan won. But exactly what was that election’s “mandate” concerning the political economy? The campaign had run a TV ad with an excellent supply-side-for-dummies voice-over. “Ronald Reagan believes that when you tax something, you get less of it. We’re taxing work, savings, and investment like never before. As a result we have less work, less savings, and less invested.” See, if you pay less in taxes—and only if you pay less in taxes—America’s economic prosperity and stability will be restored.
But every time they had nominated an uninspiring tool, losing twice against the exceptional, probably unbeatable Ronald Reagan, and then against a moderate Republican incumbent vice president, George H. W. Bush. More fundamentally, continuing Democratic dominance in Congress during the 1980s meant the economic right could use the federal government to remake the political economy only to the extent that Democrats let them. As the 1980s approached, even liberal Democrats were already cooperatively moving right—-more skeptical of unions and government oversight of business, open to lower taxes on the rich—so when the time came, Democrats definitely did let them. Too many confused the singular appeal of Ronald Reagan personally with massive popular approval of pro-business, pro-rich Reaganism, and their reaction was to cower, essentially disavowing their New Deal social democratic past.
By dressing up their mean new rich-get-richer system in old-time patriotic drag. By portraying low taxes on the rich and unregulated business and weak unions and a weak federal government as the only ways back to some kind of rugged, frontiersy, stronger, better America. And by choosing as their front man a winsome 1950s actor in a cowboy hat, the very embodiment of a certain flavor of American nostalgia. Of course, Ronald Reagan didn’t cheerfully announce in 1980 that if Americans elected him, private profit and market values would override all other American values; that as the economy grew nobody but the well-to-do would share in the additional bounty; that many millions of middle-class jobs and careers would vanish, along with fixed private pensions and reliable healthcare; that a college degree would simultaneously become unaffordable and almost essential to earning a good income; that enforcement of antimonopoly laws would end; that meaningful control of political contributions by big business and the rich would be declared unconstitutional; that Washington lobbying would increase by 1,000 percent; that our revived and practically religious deference to business would enable a bizarre American denial of climate science and absolute refusal to treat the climate crisis as a crisis; that after doubling the share of the nation’s income that it took for itself, a deregulated Wall Street would nearly bring down the financial system, ravage the economy, and pay no price for its recklessness; and that the federal government he’d committed to discrediting and undermining would thus be especially ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic and its consequences.
The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America by Margaret O'Mara
"side hustle", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, Byte Shop, California gold rush, carried interest, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer age, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deindustrialization, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Frank Gehry, George Gilder, gig economy, Googley, Hacker Ethic, high net worth, Hush-A-Phone, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Paul Terrell, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the market place, the new new thing, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, transcontinental railway, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K
On Pat Brown’s defeat and its implications, see Matthew Dallek, The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan’s First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics (New York: The Free Press, 2000). 16. McKenna, interview with the author, December 3, 2014. 17. Edmund G. Brown Jr., State of the State Address, January 8, 1981; “Governor Brown Boosts Microelectronics,” Science 211, no. 4483 (February 13, 1981): 688–89. 18. William D. Marbach, “High Hopes for High Tech,” Newsweek, February 14, 1983, 61. 19. California Commission on Industrial Innovation, “Winning Technologies: A New Industrial Strategy for California and the Nation,” September 2, 1982, Silicon Valley Ephemera Collection, Series 1, Box 4, FF 21, SU. 20. Ronald Reagan, “Executive Order 12428—President’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness,” June 28, 1983. 21.
Instead of exhausted middle managers and embittered hard hats, there were flashy executives like James “Jimmy T” Treybig of Tandem Computers, who threw weekly beer parties for his staff and held alfresco press briefings beside the company swimming pool. There were CEOs like Jerry Sanders of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), who bought a Rolls Royce one week and a top-of-the-line Mercedes the next. And of course there were Steve Jobs of Apple and Bill Gates of Microsoft, who came to exemplify a new sort of corporate leader: young, nonconformist, and astoundingly rich. Then there was the man who gave his name to the era, Ronald Reagan, crusader against big government, defender of deregulated markets, standard-bearer of what he called “the decade of the entrepreneur.” For the Great Communicator, no place or industry better exemplified American free enterprise at work than Silicon Valley, and he was particularly enthusiastic about extolling its virtues to foreign audiences. During his historic visit to the Soviet Union in the spring of 1988—the first appearance of an American president there in fourteen years and a stunning move for a leader who had referred to the USSR as an “evil empire” only a few years earlier—Reagan stood before an audience of 600 computer science students at Moscow State University and rhapsodized about the glories of the American-made microchip.
From Horatio Alger to Andrew Carnegie to Henry Ford, politicians and journalists lifted up the figure of the ingenious, bootstrapping entrepreneur as an example and inspiration of what Americans could and should do. Only in America could you rise from rags to riches. Only in America could you be judged on your own merits, not your pedigree. In this telling, Silicon Valley seemed just like the latest and greatest example of the American Revolution in action. * * * — Ronald Reagan was right. The high-tech revolution was an only-in-America story. And he and so many others were right to laud people like Jobs and Gates and Hewlett and Packard as entrepreneurial heroes. Silicon Valley could never have come to be without the presence of visionary, audacious business leaders. Reagan and his conservative allies also were right when they argued that overly regulated markets and nationalized industries could present big hurdles to entrepreneurial innovation—many of the globe’s would-be Silicon Valleys attest to that.
Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker
addicted to oil, anti-communist, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bob Geldof, buy low sell high, card file, clean water, collective bargaining, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, drone strike, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, South China Sea, stem cell, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, working poor, Yom Kippur War
Yet how could he tell Cheney no? How could he reject his partner of two terms on the one thing Cheney cared about most? For a man who valued loyalty above almost all else, it cut against the grain. To help make a decision, Bush personally asked White House lawyers to reexamine the case to see if a pardon was justified. Fred Fielding, the White House counsel who had also served in the same role for Ronald Reagan, and William Burck, his deputy who had been a federal prosecutor in New York, pored over trial transcripts and studied evidence that Libby’s lawyers had raised. Now they were in the Oval Office to report back that the jury had ample reason to find Libby guilty. “I don’t know. I wasn’t there,” Burck was saying to Bush, tempering his “he did it” judgment just a bit. “But if I were on that jury, I would probably have agreed with them.
He could be unguarded with friends, “but if he told you something and it leaked and he suspected you leaked it, you didn’t get a second chance. Finished.” Bush at that point had yet to win public office and was still evolving into the politician he would later become. When he visited the West Wing in those days, he would stop by offices of aides he knew, plop down on a couch, and put his cowboy boots on the coffee table. Ronald Reagan, who had met the Bush children, thought that if any of them had a bright political future, it would be George’s brother Jeb. Their brother Marvin once gave his assessment of each sibling. “George?” he said. “George is the family clown.” Indeed, after their father won the presidency, the younger George attended a state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II, lifted his pant legs to show her his cowboy boots, and proudly declared that he was the black sheep in the family.
“He didn’t care much for me, because I was the roadblock to his doing what he wanted to do and thought ought to be done, because everything got filtered through me and he never liked the outcome of those policy debates,” Cheney said years later. He also thought a vice president should not participate in meetings of advisers because it would warp the discussion. Heading into a difficult election year with Ford facing a challenge from Ronald Reagan on the right, Cheney and Rumsfeld decided the White House had grown dysfunctional and drafted a blistering twenty-six-page memo urging Ford to stop speaking bureaucratically, “be presidential,” and “fire someone visably [sic].” To clear the way, they offered their own resignations. “The bulk of the problems,” they wrote, “involve Hartmann, the Vice President or Kissinger.” Hartmann “simply seems not to work well with other people,” Cheney and Rumsfeld wrote.
Inflated: How Money and Debt Built the American Dream by R. Christopher Whalen
Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, debt deflation, falling living standards, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global reserve currency, housing crisis, interchangeable parts, invention of radio, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, non-tariff barriers, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, special drawing rights, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, women in the workforce
And by inviting his adversary to share the platform with him that night, Jerry Ford fulfilled his stewardship as the unelected president and gave the future of the Republican Party to Ronald Reagan, whatever happened in the election that year.11 Even as the Ford–Dole ticket went down to a close defeat in 1976, with 297 electoral votes for Carter to 241 for Ford, the seeds of the Reagan revolution were already starting to grow. By the mid-term election in 1978, the insurgent conservatives in the Republican Party were beginning to effectively target liberal Democrats in Southern states with the basic Reagan message of tax cuts and smaller government. Only weeks before the election in 1978, a New York Congressman named Jack Kemp and Senator William Roth of Delaware won initial approval of a 25 percent across the board cut in tax rates, but the measure was dropped from the legislation. It would take four more years and the election of Ronald Reagan for the Kemp–Roth tax cut to be adopted by Congress.
These crises were made inevitable because Reagan and the presidents who came before and after his eight years in office found it impossible to rein in spending. No amount of tax cuts will save American consumers from the ravages of inflation if Congress refuses to eliminate fiscal deficits. Even Ronald Reagan, with all of his rhetoric about scaling back the size of government, was reluctant to pay the political price of confronting Congress over spending. The bubble economy was simply passed to the next generation. The Crisis Managers Volcker, a self-described “Brooklyn Democrat” who was born in Cape May, N.J., was inherited by Ronald Reagan, a converted Democrat and former labor leader and California governor. Reagan understood the connection between money and inflation. During a talk to the Prosperity Caucus in Washington in the early 1990s, syndicated columnist Robert Novak revealed that Reagan’s favorite economist was Fredric Bastiat, a nineteenth-century French economic philosopher and author of The Law.
But it was also a passive recognition of the political tide in America and of the fact that the federal regulators have been captured by the banking industry. While Big Government was rhetorically demonized by Ronald Reagan, government in fact continued to grow nonetheless. Greenspan made Americans believe that they could have a normal, stable economy despite the growing debt load and continuing red ink. Just as past Fed chairmen have given past Presidents their way with respect to monetary policy, Greenspan did so and more. He gave Americans what they wanted to see, namely the appearance of economic prosperity, without forcing Congress and successive presidents to address fiscal problems. There was no need for Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, or Bush to encourage Greenspan to provide easy money as Ronald Reagan and James Baker had done so bluntly with Paul Volcker in 1984. Greenspan was leading the easy-money parade from the outset.
Farewell by Sergei Kostin, Eric Raynaud
That France was capable of providing the United States with information that would play a critical role in the orientation of the alliance activities and the consolidation of its means of defense was an entirely new situation, and I was especially aware of it.”13 Marcel Chalet was not mistaken about the impact of the file he had transmitted. When Ronald Reagan was eventually informed by his friend William Casey about the importance of the dossier, he was totally astounded. “This is the biggest fish of that kind caught since the war!” he acknowledged, even though this admission was obviously not to the advantage of American secret services.14 This dossier, indeed, made it necessary to revise many of the certitudes held by the free world. The American president, who was no fan of communist regimes, was thus encouraged to be yet more forceful with the Eastern Bloc. Ronald Reagan’s opinion of François Mitterrand changed radically. By sharing the information he had, the socialist president clearly demonstrated his attachment to the Western camp and its values.
The Cold War, Reagan, and the Strange Dr. Weiss CHAPTER 29. The Gulag Prisoner CHAPTER 30. Portrait of the Hero as a Criminal CHAPTER 31. Unveiled CHAPTER 32. The Game Is Up CHAPTER 33. “The Network” CHAPTER 34. The Farewell Affair Under the Magnifying Glass of the KGB and DST CHAPTER 35. Hero or Traitor? FOREWORD BY RICHARD V. ALLEN In 1976, five years before the Farewell case, Ronald Reagan nearly unseated President Gerald Ford for the Republican presidential nomination. The major salient of his attack on Ford was on foreign and national security policy. Reagan rejected “détente,” not because he opposed a relaxation of tensions with the Soviet Union, but because under Nixon, Ford, and Kissinger “détente” had taken on a special, nearly theological meaning—a supposedly ineluctable process of gradually making the Soviets completely dependent on trade and technology from the West, hence causing them to moderate their behavior in terms of global expansion and military procurement.
He knew perfectly well that this was not militant communism making a spectacular breakthrough within the Western Bloc. To the contrary, the West was now enjoying a major advance into Soviet front lines. For the past few months, France had had a mole, code name “Farewell,” operating at the heart of one of the most sensitive divisions of the KGB. During a face-to-face meeting, Mitterrand shared this secret with Ronald Reagan and revealed to him the scope of global Soviet industrial pillage. At the time, the American president did not fully understand the impact of the dossier, but he was a fast learner. Soon after, he would refer to it as “the greatest spy story of the twentieth century.” Mitterrand-Reagan private conversation in Ottawa on July 19, 1981. The two presidents are relaxed and already in connivance: the disclosure of the Farewell dossier changed entirely the attitude of the leader of the Western Bloc toward the Socialist president.
Servant Economy: Where America's Elite Is Sending the Middle Class by Jeff Faux
back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, disruptive innovation, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kickstarter, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, McMansion, medical malpractice, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, new economy, oil shock, old-boy network, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, South China Sea, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working poor, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War
If the market is no longer delivering the prosperity promised the citizen in the American dream, then the political system bears more responsibility than our leaders want to admit for the relentless redistribution of income and wealth from the bottom and the middle of the pyramid to the top. Most dangerous of all, such an acknowledgment encourages discussion about who our political representatives actually represent. The Democrats are no more eager to have this conversation than the Republicans are. Ronald Reagan’s election, like Franklin Roosevelt’s half a century earlier, profoundly changed the way that Americans think collectively about the future. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed thoroughly discredited the system of unregulated financial speculation that had driven the country and the world to its economic knees. In response, the New Deal not only expanded the role of government in managing the market and protecting the public from the hard edges of laissez-faire, it also established a presumption of collective responsibility for the future.
In effect, while the Republicans were consolidating the alliance between big business and right-wing populism, the Democrats were breaking up their old alliance between Southern politicians (social conservatives and economic populists) and Northern liberals. Increasingly sophisticated attacks from the Republican Right and the growing indifference from within the Democratic Party itself put the New Deal on the defensive. Its intellectual energy sputtered just as the country needed to address the market signals of the erosion of U.S. economic power. Jimmy Carter was the transitional figure. He prepared the ideological ground for Ronald Reagan just as Herbert Hoover had prepared it for Franklin Roosevelt. Contrary to popular impression, Hoover was not a laissez-faire conservative. As secretary of commerce in the 1920s, he increased the regulation of business, advocated more progressive taxation of the rich, and supported a pension for every American. Faced with the Great Depression in his first year in office, he increased public works and initiated a number of programs that Roosevelt would later build on.
He hired Paul Volcker to be the chairman of the Federal Reserve, who immediately raised interest rates and plunged the economy into stagflation: a politically deadly combination of rising unemployment and rising prices. Carter cut domestic spending. But to impress conservatives, he also cut taxes for business and increased military spending. On election day of 1980, despite the daily headlines about the crisis of the Americans being held hostage in Iran (including Carter’s botched rescue attempt), the voter exit polls showed that the economic woes were the chief reasons voters gave for voting for Ronald Reagan. Two months before the election, 62 percent of voters had cited the “high cost of living” as the most important problem facing the nation. Fully 52 percent of American voters supported the imposition of wage-price controls. In his history of Carter’s economic policies, Georgia Institute of Technology economist W. Carl Biven concluded, “The Iranian crisis and the split in the Democratic Party were contributing factors in the electoral outcome, but the inflation that dogged the Administration from its first days in office, and which crested in 1980, was probably the decisive reason for his defeat.”12 In January 1981, Stuart Eizenstat, Carter’s chief domestic policy adviser, was asked by a historian from the National Archives what he thought the administration should have done differently.
No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein
Airbnb, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collective bargaining, Corrections Corporation of America, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy transition, financial deregulation, greed is good, high net worth, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, income inequality, Internet Archive, Kickstarter, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transatlantic slave trade, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban decay, women in the workforce, working poor
Trump Organization: no new deals for foreign properties “Full Transcript of Trump Press Conference,” BBC.com, January 11, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38536671. Reagan’s Prophecy Fulfilled New Yorker: Trump golf cover Françoise Mouly, “Cover Story: ‘Broken Windows,’ By Harry Blitt,” New Yorker, March 31, 2017, http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cover-story/cover-story-2017-04-10. Ronald Reagan: “government is not the solution, it is the problem” Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, “The Reagan Presidency,” accessed April 10, 2017, https://reaganlibrary.gov/sreference/facts-admin. Rob Ford and smoking crack “Raw Video Released of Rob Ford Smoking Crack,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), August 11, 2016, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/news-video/video-raw-video-released-of-rob-ford-smoking-crack/article31375481/.
Indeed, a lawsuit making this allegation has already been launched. But the Trumps seem unconcerned. A near-impenetrable sense of impunity—of being above the usual rules and laws—is a defining feature of this administration. Anyone who presents a threat to that impunity is summarily fired—just ask former FBI director James Comey. Up to now in US politics there’s been a mask on the corporate state’s White House proxies: the smiling actor’s face of Ronald Reagan or the faux cowboy persona of George W. Bush (with Dick Cheney/Halliburton scowling in the background). Now the mask is gone. And no one is even bothering to pretend otherwise. This situation is made all the more squalid by the fact that Trump was never the head of a traditional company but has, rather, long been the figurehead of an empire built around his personal brand—a brand that has, along with his daughter Ivanka’s brand, already benefited from its merger with the US presidency in countless ways.
That private is better than public. And if that’s all true, why not wreck the place before you leave—figuratively if not literally. It’s a reminder that Trump’s political career would have been impossible without the degradation of the whole idea of the public sphere, which has been unfolding over decades. It could never have happened without the idea that “government is not the solution, it is the problem,” as Ronald Reagan famously put it. And it could never have happened had that message not been followed up with decades of deregulation that essentially legalized bribery, with outrageous sums of corporate money flowing into politics. It’s absolutely true that the system is corrupt. It is a swamp. And people know it. They know that the rewriting of the rules in favor of a small group of corporate interests and the one percent has been a bipartisan process—that it was Bill Clinton who deregulated the banks, setting the stage for the 2008 collapse, and it was Obama who chose not to prosecute the bankers, and that the Democratic candidate running against Trump would almost surely have done no different.
The Secret World of Oil by Ken Silverstein
business intelligence, clean water, corporate governance, corporate raider, Donald Trump, energy security, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Google Earth, offshore financial centre, oil shock, paper trading, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War
A WikiLeaked cable offered a less flattering description of Aliyev, comparing him to Sonny Corleone, the fictional mobster from The Godfather. • Neil Bush, the son of one American president and the brother of another, who one newspaper observed ran numerous business ventures that had “a history of crashing and burning in spectacular fashion.” Nonetheless, Bush’s family name has led various natural resource companies to hire him to broker deals in Asia and Africa. • Bretton Sciaroni, a portly American and former ideologue of Ronald Reagan’s White House who played a little-known but vital role in the Iran–Contra scandal but now resides in Phnom Penh, where he is an official adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, a one-time Khmer Rouge cadre, and opens doors for Western natural resource firms. In large part because they inhabit the shadows of the energy world, the oil literature has largely consigned such middlemen and other characters to the margins of attention, or omitted them entirely.
From early on, Rich cultivated ties to monarchs and presidents, diplomats and intelligence agencies, especially Iran’s SAVAK under the shah. During the Arab oil embargo of the early 1970s Rich brokered a deal by which Iran secretly supplied Israel, which proved to be a vital economic lifeline.6 Rich also periodically lent a hand to the Mossad’s clandestine operations, among them the evacuation of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the 1980s. Rich made a fortune by buying oil from Iran during the hostage crisis and from Libya when Ronald Reagan’s administration imposed a trade embargo on Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, as well as from supplying oil to apartheid South Africa. An inveterate sanctions-buster, Rich used offshore front companies and corporate cutouts to try to stay below the radar. He also pioneered the practice of commodity swaps, like the uranium-for-oil deals he brokered in the 1980s between apartheid South Africa and Iran.
One Western investor I talked to described the situation as “a nightmare,” saying, “Anything having to do with licenses, natural resources, or concessions—that’s where you have problems and where you always have military and government officials looking for money.” For major Western companies trying to navigate this complicated and perilous investment climate, this is where Bretton Sciaroni comes in. The portly Sciaroni makes a most unusual power broker in contemporary Cambodia. A former ideologue of Ronald Reagan’s White House, he played a little-known but vital role in enabling Oliver North’s weapons shipments and assistance to the Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980s. Yet now he is an official adviser to the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, a one-time Khmer Rouge cadre. The Cambodian government has bestowed upon Sciaroni the titles of minister without portfolio and his excellency. He is the chairman of the International Business Chamber (IBC), an association that includes most of the multinational corporations in Cambodia and which is the most important business group in the country.
A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney
1960s counterculture, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate personhood, Corrections Corporation of America, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, equal pay for equal work, failed state, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kitchen Debate, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, medical bankruptcy, Menlo Park, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, operation paperclip, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, school choice, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Snapchat, source of truth, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, survivorship bias, TaskRabbit, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, War on Poverty, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
The Boomers did; they sold it off piece by piece. And so let us begin with one more question. If the nation had been unblighted by Boomer sociopathy, how well could we have been doing? Shockingly well, as it turns out. INTRODUCTION The difference between an American and any other kind of person is that an American lives in anticipation of the future because he knows it will be a great place. —Ronald Reagan (1979)1 The Gipper believed many silly things—in voodoo economics and, in the case of his White House astrologer, just plain voodoo—but one thing Reagan truly knew was that the Americans he would lead were optimistic people, and that their optimism made an otherwise disparate and divided land a functional and thriving nation. In 1979, Reagan was right; he was still right when he left office in 1989.
Those disasters required a certain generation to summon them, and that generation was just rolling off the production line. Thanks to the competent stewardship of prior generations—a mix of the Greatest Generation, the earlier Silents, and a few nineteenth-century fossils—the optimism that led to the Boom in the first place found seemingly endless confirmation in American success. In the three decades following World War II, it would have been ridiculous to pose the question, as Ronald Reagan would when seeking the presidency in 1980, “Are you better off [now] than you were four years ago?”5 The answer was “yes,” always and emphatically. The Boomers’ first decades saw rapid and near-continuous gains in prosperity, education, health, technology, and civil justice, the products of revolutionary choices by earlier generations, underwritten by their saving and sacrifice. Even the 1970s, the supposedly dismal era in which many Boomers reached adulthood, weren’t that bad; in economic terms, they were better for many workers than the past decade has been.
., “I did it but so did you”), which had the perverse effect of forcing couples who were mutually adulterous, cruel, and, theoretically, even completely insane, to stay together. Spouses could and did collude to work the system, with one falsely alleging cruelty and the other admitting to it, a strategy that while effective required no little perjury. The whole system was unworkable and in 1969, California pioneered “no-fault” divorces, which allowed spouses to part based solely on irreconcilable differences. This law was signed by then governor Ronald Reagan, whose own divorce had paved the way to union with Nancy (or “Mommy,” as he took to calling her).28 Easier divorce was certainly a social good—and one pioneered by earlier generations, not the Boomers. The frequency with which Boomers resorted to divorce, however, proved alarming and generationally unusual. It suggested some combination of growing impulsivity about entering a union, unwillingness to expend the effort necessary to make relationships work, and perhaps a fundamental incompatibility between an antisocial Boomer culture and the state of matrimony which, after all, is a society of two.
Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, anti-communist, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, Burning Man, California gold rush, Celebration, Florida, centre right, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, failed state, Ferguson, Missouri, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, high net worth, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, large denomination, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, McMansion, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Snapchat, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, young professional
If the new hypercapitalism was working well for you, even if you had no fervent ideological faith in markets, what had previously come across as simple selfishness could now be cloaked in righteousness. “Greed is good,” the fictional Gordon Gekko declared in 1987, but now real people insisted that their moneymaking lust and skill were not merely useful in the aggregate but made them virtuous individually. The year after Wall Street came out, Reagan was reelected in one of the biggest landslides in history. Oh, Ronald Reagan, lovable, shrewd, twinkly, out-of-it, blithe, brilliant Ronald Reagan. The transmutation of presidential politics and governing into entertainment had started a generation earlier, in the 1960s, with John Kennedy. JFK was like a movie star and like a fictional character. He was young and dashing, witty and sexy. He’d been a war hero, and Hollywood made a movie about those heroics, PT 109, while he was president, a production on which he gave notes.
America was created by true believers and passionate dreamers, by hucksters and their suckers—which over the course of four centuries has made us susceptible to fantasy, as epitomized by everything from Salem hunting witches to Joseph Smith creating Mormonism, from P. T. Barnum to Henry David Thoreau to speaking in tongues, from Hollywood to Scientology to conspiracy theories, from Walt Disney to Billy Graham to Ronald Reagan to Oprah Winfrey to Donald Trump. In other words: mix epic individualism with extreme religion; mix show business with everything else; let all that steep and simmer for a few centuries; run it through the anything-goes 1960s and the Internet age; the result is the America we inhabit today, where reality and fantasy are weirdly and dangerously blurred and commingled. I hope we’re only on a long temporary detour, that we’ll manage somehow to get back on track.
A large fraction of Americans wanted or needed to believe they lived in an enchanted time and place, that the country swarmed with supernatural wonders, and that mid-nineteenth-century America was like the Holy Land of the early first century, when Jesus was only one among many itinerant prophets and wizards and healers wandering the eastern Mediterranean. And indeed, at the height of the First Great Delirium, the strangest and most astoundingly successful new American religion arose. * * * *1 A century later, in a commencement address at his alma mater, a celebrity alumnus told the story as actual eyewitness history, attributing it to Thomas Jefferson. The 1957 commencement speaker was Ronald Reagan. Later, as president, when he repeated the story at length in a Fourth of July essay he published, his handlers evidently persuaded him to call it a “legend” and delete the Jefferson attribution. *2 It was a high-strung time and place. Two miles away and six years later, former U.S. senator and future president Andrew Jackson won a duel with a man who’d called him a coward and suggested his wife was a slut
The Accidental Theorist: And Other Dispatches From the Dismal Science by Paul Krugman
"Robert Solow", Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate raider, declining real wages, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, life extension, new economy, Nick Leeson, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, trade route, very high income, working poor, zero-sum game
To say that America was a far more unequal society in 1989 than it was in 1973 is a simple statement of fact, not an attack on Ronald Reagan. Think about the parable of the fishermen and the prospectors: The greater inequality of the latter society did not come about because it has worse leadership but because it lives in a different environment. And changes in the environment—in world markets, or in technology—might change a society of middle-class fishermen into a society with dismaying extremes of wealth and poverty, without it necessarily being the result of deliberate policies. In fact, it’s pretty certain that this is what has happened in the United States. Ronald Reagan did not single-handedly cause the incomes of the rich to soar and those of the poor to decline. He did cut taxes at the top and social programs at the bottom, but most of the growth in inequality took place in the marketplace, in the pretax incomes of families.
I’m not saying that Clinton’s policies led to that result—they accounted for only part of the good news about the deficit, and hardly any of the rest. But the point is that the supply-siders were absolutely sure that his policies would produce disaster—and indeed, if their doctrine had any truth to it, they would have. Nor, I would argue, do supply-side views spread because they are good politics. True, Ronald Reagan won on a supply-side platform—but one suspects he would have won on almost any platform, and that the taunts of “voodoo economics” actually cost him some votes. Today, the supply-side label is a clear liability. Even promoters of the concept shy away from the label. In 1994, Republican leaders like Gingrich and Dick Armey chose to conceal the extent of their tax-cutting fervor from the voters, who they judged would not trust an economic program based on supply-side assumptions.
I can’t help admiring the fortitude of veteran supply-sider Paul Craig Roberts—who recently declared in his BusinessWeek column that the prosperity of the American economy under Bill Clinton proves the validity of, yes, supply-side economics. After all, back in 1993 Roberts, in lockstep with other supply-siders, predicted nothing but disaster from Clintonomics: “a bigger deficit, higher unemployment, rising inflation, and a currency crisis to boot.” Faced with the reality of a Dow near 8,000, the lowest unemployment rate in a generation, and the smallest deficit since, well, Ronald Reagan’s first budget, some people would have tried to change the subject. Roberts, however, is made of sterner stuff. But then, what choice did he have? The standard (and true) riposte to Clintonian triumphalism is that Clinton presides over a prosperity he did not create, that the credit for the good news belongs partly to Alan Greenspan but mainly to the resilience and flexibility of America’s private sector.
The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah
assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, Branko Milanovic, business cycle, call centre, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, feminist movement, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, moral hazard, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, positional goods, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, rent control, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, upwardly mobile, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War
Foreign policy intellectuals furrowed their brows over Eurocommunism, and feminists still believed they had a decent shot at adding an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. It was a different reality. But incomes were growing more unequal in America then, and they continue to grow more unequal in America today. That story hasn’t changed at all. What did change over the years were the speculative explanations as to why incomes were becoming more unequal. It was Ronald Reagan’s fault. No, it was the inevitable result of a maturing global economy. No, it was caused by computers. No, it was caused by the twin epidemics of teenage pregnancy and divorce. Some people denied the Great Divergence was happening at all. Others said it was a fleeting phenomenon. Still others said all would be well once the economy became more productive (i.e., once there was a significant increase in output per hour worked).
Corporate profits had been in decline since the mid-1960s, and per capita GDP growth had dropped from about 3 percent in the late 1960s and early 1970s to below 1 percent during the late 1970s.26 The share of national income going to the richest 1 percent had slipped from about 11 percent in 1965 to about 9 percent in 1975, and it stayed there for three more years. Even if you could get a raise, it had to be pretty big to keep up with inflation, which averaged more than 9 percent during the second half of the 1970s. This was largely due to oil prices, which continued to rise briskly even after the oil embargo was halted early in 1974.27 In short, the economy was lousy for everyone. All Ronald Reagan really had to do to win the 1980 general election was say the following (in his debate with President Jimmy Carter): When he was a candidate in 1976, President Carter invented a thing he called the misery index. He added the rate of unemployment and the rate of inflation, and it came, at that time, to 12.5% under President Ford. He said that no man with that size misery index has a right to seek reelection to the Presidency.
—Former Procter & Gamble lobbyist Bryce Harlow, in a 1984 essay describing the business of corporate representation LEFT-OF-CENTER POLITICIANS AND ACTIVISTS have long argued that the federal government caused the Great Divergence. And by “federal government,” they generally mean Republicans, who have controlled the White House for most of the past thirty years. According to this narrative, the policy changes initiated by President Ronald Reagan and carried forward by the Bush presidencies, père et fils, effected a long-term shift in American demographics. The leftist intellectual Michael Harrington, author of The Other America, once summarized these policies as “a bizarre anti-welfare-state Keynesianism for the rich.” There can be no question that Reagan and his Republican White House successors, in attempting to reduce government’s size, made it less beneficial to people at lower income levels and more accommodating to people at higher income levels.
Milton Friedman: A Biography by Lanny Ebenstein
"Robert Solow", affirmative action, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price stability, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, school choice, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, stem cell, The Chicago School, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, zero-sum game
Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, vol. 1 (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1976), 456, 426. 8. Memoirs, 480. 9. FTC, i. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. 12. Memoirs, 605. 13. Ibid., 503. 14. Ibid., 504. CHAPTER 21 1. Memoirs, 209–210. 2. Martin Anderson, Revolution (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988), 164. 3. Ronald Reagan, Reagan: In His Own Hand (New York: Free Press, 2001), 267. 4. Ronald Reagan, Speaking My Mind: Selected Speeches (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 96. 5. Milton Friedman, “The Path We Dare Not Take,” Reader’s Digest (March 1977), 110. 6. Milton Friedman, “What Is America?” Saturday Evening Post (October 1978), 16. 7. Milton Friedman, “Will Freedom Prevail?” Newsweek (November 19, 1979), 142. 8. Milton and Rose Friedman, The Tyranny of the Status Quo (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984), 1. 9.
He was never really comfortable with the indexation idea, in large part because it merely treats the symptoms of inflation rather than addressing inflation itself, a much preferred course. A significant outcome stemming in part from the indexation idea, though, was the indexation of tax brackets to account for inflation. Previously, as a result of inflation, individuals’ tax rates effectively rose with higher average prices (taxpayers were pushed into higher brackets of income taxation). When, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, indexation of tax brackets was implemented as part of the Tax Reduction Act of 1981, a major systemic demand for inflation by politicians was removed. Since then inflation has markedly declined and stayed low, though there is no direct cause-and-effect relationship between indexed tax rates and inflation. Friedman’s views on taxes, spending, balanced government budgets, and government deficit spending have evolved over the decades.
According to Friedman, an advantage of a flat tax is that it would “release all of us from the unpaid bookkeeping we are forced to engage in... and make available for productive use the highly skilled accountants and lawyers who now devote their... talents to advising their clients how to avoid taxes.”20 As a second best alternative to a flat-rate tax, which he believes would be politically difficult to achieve, he supports a reduction in top tax rates. He remarked during Jimmy Carter’s presidency that “reducing oppressively high marginal rates would do far more to promote effective use of resources” than Carter’s economic plans. He also said at that time, in response to a question about what to do to increase productivity: “Reduce the top rate of the personal income tax (from 70 percent) to 25 percent.”21 During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the top income tax rate was reduced to 28 percent. Friedman writes of the “disastrous effects on incentives”22 of high tax rates. He has always been a “supply-sider”—a term that came in vogue in the late 1970s to contrast with the Keynesian emphasis on demand—as he favors reduction in tax rates to increase productivity and advocates a stable monetary environment. He has never adopted the idea of the Laffer curve, however, whereby tax cuts pay for themselves.
Two Nations, Indivisible: A History of Inequality in America: A History of Inequality in America by Jamie Bronstein
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mandatory minimum, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration
In the worst formulation, they described the poor as devious “welfare queens.”100 As the next chapter will show, Ronald Reagan, long an opponent of welfare programs, made those associations and claims central tenets of his administration. Under the pressure of neoliberalism, the Great Compression quickly began to unravel. CHAPTER 7 The Triumph of Neoliberalism: 1979–1999 Stagflation and the oil shocks of the 1970s had brought economic malaise to the United States, setting the stage for widespread acceptance of a new, “neoliberal” theory of prosperity, divorced from both equality of condition and equality of opportunity. Over the course of the next decade, Ronald Reagan’s severe tax cuts and George H. W. Bush’s “trickle-down” economics promoted the idea that Americans should nurture and cultivate “job creators,” the wealthiest Americans, who, it was assumed, would reinvest in the economy and cause growth that would benefit all.
When the Family Assistance Plan stalled and died, the political will to broaden the social safety net evaporated under economic pressure. Stagflation, the oil shocks of the 1970s, and deindustrialization brought malaise to the United States. These conditions enabled widespread acceptance of an alternative theory of prosperity, discussed in Chapter 7. Divorced from both equality of condition and equality of opportunity, Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts, military spending, safety-net slashing, and “trickle-down” economics promoted the idea that the freest markets were most efficient, and the most efficient markets produced the most prosperity. Although direct subsidies to income only represented a very small percentage of the annual U.S. budget, welfare programs and the people who used them came under attack. The formerly deserving poor, mothers with children, had now become “welfare queens,” and Bill Clinton, a Democratic president, collaborated with the Republican Congress to create time limits and work requirements for those on income support.
The discourse around the proposal demonstrated that conservatives feared the government was overreaching and that federalized child care threatened the sanctity of the family.78 By the mid-1970s, the residual poverty that remained was largely concentrated in states that had set lower standards for themselves for helping the poor, and the programs were funded by more generous states. Unsurprisingly, residents of wealthier states resented the differential. WELFARE REFORM IN THE CARTER ADMINISTRATION As economic conditions in the United States worsened throughout the 1970s, resentment of welfare expenditure grew. Former California governor Ronald Reagan, running in the 1976 Republican presidential primary, hit on a winning formula by transforming one particular welfare recipient, 47-year-old Linda Taylor, into the embodiment of everything that was wrong with government aid. Reagan never mentioned Taylor’s name on the campaign trail but always invoked a litany of her crimes: “She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 social security cards and is collecting veterans’ benefits on four nonexistent deceased husbands.”
Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics by Nicholas Wapshott
"Robert Solow", airport security, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, collective bargaining, complexity theory, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, if you build it, they will come, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, New Journalism, Northern Rock, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, price mechanism, pushing on a string, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trickle-down economics, War on Poverty, Yom Kippur War
Goldwater with Jack Casserley, Goldwater (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1988), p. 140. 15 Goldwater, Conscience of a Conservative, p. 44. 16 Milton Friedman, “The Goldwater View of Economics,” The New York Times, October 11, 1964. 17 Paul Samuelson, The New York Times, October 25, 1964. 18 Ronald Reagan (1911–2004), Hollywood actor, California governor, and 40th president of the United States. 19 Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, The Reagan Revolution (E. P. Dutton, New York, 1981), p. 237. 20 Ibid. 21 Ronald Reagan, “Time for Choosing,” address broadcast on television, October 27, 1964. 22 Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich (1943– ), born Newton Leroy McPherson. After completing a doctoral dissertation on Belgian education policy in the Congo from 1945 to 1960, he taught at West Georgia College before being elected to the House of Representatives in 1978.
ALSO BY NICHOLAS WAPSHOTT Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage (2007) Older: The Biography of George Michael with Timothy Wapshott (1998) Carol Reed: A Biography (1994) Rex Harrison (1991) The Man Between: A Biography of Carol Reed (1990, in United Kingdom) Thatcher with George Brock (1983) Peter O’Toole: A Biography (1981; in United Kingdom, 1983) KEYNES HAYEK Nicholas Wapshott W. W. NORTON & COMPANY NEW YORK ■ LONDON TO ANTHONY HOWARD CONTENTS PREFACE ONE The Glamorous Hero How Keynes Became Hayek’s Idol, 1919–27 TWO End of Empire Hayek Experiences Hyperinflation Firsthand, 1919–24 THREE The Battle Lines Are Drawn Keynes Denies the “Natural” Order of Economics, 1923–29 FOUR Stanley and Livingston Keynes and Hayek Meet for the First Time, 1928–30 FIVE The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Hayek Arrives from Vienna, 1931 SIX Pistols at Dawn Hayek Harshly Reviews Keynes’s Treatise, 1931 SEVEN Return Fire Keynes and Hayek Lock Horns, 1931 EIGHT The Italian Job Keynes Asks Piero Sraffa to Continue the Debate, 1932 NINE Toward The General Theory The Cost-Free Cure for Unemployment, 1932–33 TEN Hayek Blinks The General Theory Invites a Response, 1932–36 ELEVEN Keynes Takes America Roosevelt and the Young New Deal Economists, 1936 TWELVE Hopelessly Stuck in Chapter 6 Hayek Writes His Own “General Theory,” 1936–41 THIRTEEN The Road to Nowhere Hayek Links Keynes’s Remedies to Tyranny, 1937–46 FOURTEEN The Wilderness Years Mont-Pèlerin and Hayek’s Move to Chicago, 1944–69 FIFTEEN The Age of Keynes Three Decades of Unrivalled American Prosperity, 1946–80 SIXTEEN Hayek’s Counterrevolution Friedman, Goldwater, Thatcher, and Reagan, 1963–88 SEVENTEEN The Battle Resumed Freshwater and Saltwater Economists, 1989–2008 EIGHTEEN And the Winner Is . . .
He imposed price controls on fuel, leading to long lines at filling stations. He appointed as chairman of the Federal Reserve a lifelong Democrat, Paul Volcker,96 with a mission to raise interest rates to choke off the demand that was thought to be the root of inflation. Carter’s failure to bring prices under control in time for the November 1980 election was a gift to his Republican rival, the handsome, affable, twinkle-eyed Ronald Reagan, who asked voters, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” The answer was a resounding no. It was not only Carter who was on trial, but also John Maynard Keynes. Thirty-four years after the great man’s death and more than forty after publication of his General Theory, Keynesianism appeared to have run its course. Like the overuse of a wonder drug, dispensers of his remedy appeared to have applied too much of the elixir too often.
Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle by Jeff Flake
4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, cognitive dissonance, crony capitalism, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global supply chain, immigration reform, impulse control, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, obamacare, Potemkin village, race to the bottom, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, uranium enrichment, zero-sum game
That experience taught me the value of standing alone sometimes, and it has everything to do with why I am now writing this book. And for the ultimate example in standing alone, we conservatives owe a great debt to a towering figure from Arizona, Senator Barry Goldwater, who more than fifty years ago stood alone when it was extremely difficult to do so, and in so doing started a movement of conservatives that twenty years later would see the election of one of our greatest presidents, Ronald Reagan. That this book takes its name from Senator Goldwater’s seminal book is an homage to both his fierce independence and his visionary leadership. Goldwater’s fight was for the soul of the country, and so, too, is ours. When he wrote this in his own time, he may as well have been writing it in ours: “Though we Conservatives are deeply persuaded that our society is ailing, and know that Conservatism holds the key to national salvation—and feel sure the country agrees with us—we seem unable to demonstrate the practical relevance of Conservative principles to the needs of the day.”
The laws of God, and of nature, have no dateline….These principles are derived from the nature of man, and from the truths that God has revealed about His creation….To suggest that the Conservative philosophy is out of date is akin to saying that the Golden Rule, or the Ten Commandments or Aristotle’s Politics are out of date. —BARRY GOLDWATER, The Conscience of a Conservative, 1960 Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. —RONALD REAGAN, March 1961 AS A KID, for as long as I can remember, a 3x5 card, stained with vegetable oil, cookie dough, and brownie mix, was pasted on our refrigerator. It read: “Assume the best, Look for the good.” To-do lists, wedding invitations, school pictures, ribbons from the county fair came and went over the years, but that card remained. “Assume the best, Look for the good” was as close to a motto as our family had.
And if there is a thing under the sun I relish less than lecturing friends, I can’t think of it just now. But if I didn’t know better, I would say that we had not been in our right minds in the days leading up to the presidential election in 2016. What does it say about conservatives that our message by then was so different from the words that my parents taught me, so different as to amount to a rejection of the optimistic vision of Ronald Reagan or the extraordinary decency of George H. W. Bush, or the principled constitutionalism of Barry Goldwater? What does it say that we had instead succumbed to what can only be described as a propaganda-fueled dystopian view of conservatism? And what does that, in turn, say about our stewardship of America and its institutions? What it says is that we are as capable as anyone of forgetting our priorities, of putting politics before patriotism, and of putting party before country.
The Cost of Inequality: Why Economic Equality Is Essential for Recovery by Stewart Lansley
"Robert Solow", banking crisis, Basel III, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mittelstand, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working-age population
It is no coincidence that in both these countries finance became an increasingly dominant force as the process of de-industrialisation accelerated. Indeed the fortunes of these two sectors have been moving in opposite directions—as finance has triumphed, manufacturing has slumped. The economic policies pursued by both Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan—from a high exchange rate to financial and labour market de-regulation—were highly favourable to finance. One of the effects of Reaganomics was an overvalued dollar, hardly dream conditions for exporters. William Benedetto, head of corporate finance for Dean Witter Reynolds—one of America’s largest stock brokerage and securities’ firms—called Ronald Reagan’s eight-year Presidency ‘an investment banker’s dream world.’96 But while Wall Street flourished, key industrial sectors from timber and steel to chemicals and high-technology, sweated. Between 1970 and 1990, American employment in manufacturing shrank from 27 to 17 per cent of the workforce.
Then in early 1992, the debate became public when the findings were published in an article in the New York Times by the American academic, Paul Krugman, later to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on trade theory. The article caused something of a storm. The question of inequality was and remains a sensitive one in the United States, a nation that likes to see itself as having created the most opportunistic society in the world. ‘Even mentioning income distribution leads to angry accusations of “class warfare”’ is how Krugman put it.17 In 1989, George H W Bush had succeeded Ronald Reagan as President and continued the broad economic policies of his predecessor—a mix of freer markets, smaller government and lower taxes. Republican administrations from the 1980s had long claimed that ‘Reaganomics’—as President Reagan’s free-market experiment was known—had been highly successful, helping to boost growth and prosperity for all. These new findings challenged a key aspect of this claim—that all Americans had benefited from the new economic direction.
‘In its wake was a growing disillusion with the Keynesian economists, the Fabian planners, the postBeveridge social engineers, the consensual liberal positivists who had governed the realm like so many conquistadors for a quarter of a century.’49 Although Mrs Thatcher was, at heart, a conviction politician, she quickly came under the spell of this small group of thinkers on the right. Under their influence, she came to believe that Britain had created an economic model that killed incentives and stifled enterprise, that only freer markets and personal wealth accumulation would bring a more efficient, entrepreneurial and prosperous nation. A year after coming to power she was joined in this crusade by an even more powerful soul-mate, Ronald Reagan. The new American President, who was also heavily influenced by neoconservative thinkers, shared Mrs Thatcher’s belief in the dangers of big government and the virtues of a weakened state and low taxes. Central to this new economic philosophy was the idea that the rich should be allowed to get richer. For British advocates, improved rewards at the top, it was claimed, would correct for the failings of post-war welfare capitalism, lift Britain out of its tepid entrepreneurial culture and bring renewed economic dynamism.
The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank
affirmative action, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business cycle, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, edge city, financial deregulation, full employment, George Gilder, guest worker program, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, P = NP, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Telecommunications Act of 1996, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, War on Poverty
This vast stream of dollars flooding into Washington, the story goes, is then diverted by the know-it-all government to people it deems worthier than you. And when Washington’s bureaucrats aren’t wasting your tax dollars on idiotic projects that they always bungle, they are telling you how to run your business, compiling regulation upon regulation into a bookshelf of legalese that no one can ever hope to understand or obey. “Every businessman has his own tale of harassment,” thundered Ronald Reagan in 1964. “Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.” It has been forty-five years now since Reagan’s electrifying vision of homegrown tyranny fueled Barry Goldwater’s run for the nation’s highest office; it has been four decades since a diluted version of it propelled Richard Nixon to the presidency.
Admittedly, cynicism seems like an unlikely quality to find in a movement whose rank and file get misty-eyed contemplating the flag, the family, the founding fathers, and the Boy Scouts, and who can be moved to hold candlelight vigils to protect Ten Commandments monuments. Change the subject to government, though, and you will have opened the floodgates of sarcasm, disbelief, contempt, and ridicule. It was sunny Ronald Reagan who claimed to find terror in the phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” And it was Reagan’s economic adviser David Stockman who, in 1981, penned this bitter verdict on the Carter administration that he was preparing to terminate. “Much of the vast enterprise of American government was invalid, suspect, malodorous,” he wrote with disgust. The “projects and ministrations” of liberalism “were not spawned from higher principles . . . ; they were simply the flotsam and jetsam of a flagrantly promiscuous politics, the booty and spoils of the organized thievery conducted within the desecrated halls of government.”8 Conservative antigovernment cynicism can be found in many forms.
To fill the main supporting role in this great freedom-fest, meanwhile, the organizers turned to apartheid South Africa, a place where only a small, correctly complexioned percentage of the population possessed the most basic democratic rights. But there was also a certain cynical brilliance to it. Jamba was officially sponsored by a long-forgotten Washington group called Citizens for America whose leading members were typical conservative plutocrats: oil barons, Wall Street kings, and agribusiness lords. The group’s founder, Jack Hume, was one of the California millionaires who had funded Ronald Reagan’s political career from the beginning. (“He made a substantial investment and has backed Reagan ever since” is one apt description.)46 To represent its conservatism to the world, though, this 24-karat group did not choose a contented white yachtsman snoozing in an easy chair, but a black African fond of camouflage and handguns; a ferocious warrior who single-handedly kept a real rebellion burning against the government of his country year after year.
Keeping at It: The Quest for Sound Money and Good Government by Paul Volcker, Christine Harper
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business cycle, central bank independence, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, Donald Trump, fiat currency, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, forensic accounting, full employment, global reserve currency, income per capita, inflation targeting, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, margin call, money market fund, Nixon shock, Paul Samuelson, price stability, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, secular stagnation, Sharpe ratio, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, too big to fail, traveling salesman, urban planning
The delay in the attack on inflation certainly didn’t help President Carter’s campaign for a second term. To his credit, only once did he express concern about our tightening of policy. Ronald Reagan: A New President By the beginning of 1981, with a new Republican president in office, we were back in the trenches, fighting to restrain monetary growth. The much predicted recession finally arrived in full force. But it was hard to see progress on the inflation front. Interest rates and the money supply, while increasing at a slower rate, remained stubbornly high. The Fed board remained determined to carry on. There had been, of course, much speculation about President Ronald Reagan, a former Hollywood actor and California governor, and his new administration’s attitude toward economic policy. Arthur Burns, almost apoplectic, had urgently returned to Washington to warn me about a meeting he had attended where efforts were under way, supported by Milton Friedman, Walter Wriston, Bill Simon, and others, to rein in the Fed, not just in monetary policy but as an institution.
Kilborn, “Volcker Suggests Federal Reserve May Shift Tactics,” New York Times, October 10, 1982, 1, https://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/10/us/volcker-suggests-federal-reserve-may-shift-tactics.html. The president recorded that: see entry for Tuesday, June 7, 1983 in Ronald Reagan, “The Reagan Diaries” (HarperCollins, 2007), 158. It split symmetrically: CQ Almanac, 1983, https://library.cqpress.com/cq almanac/document.php?id=cqal83-1198874. I was summoned to a meeting: The 3:30 p.m. July 24, 1984, meeting in the library is recorded in Reagan’s daily schedule, although it says Edwin Meese, Richard Darman, and Michael Deaver were present and to my memory they were certainly not. Reagan didn’t write anything about the meeting in his daily diary. See https://www.reaganfoundation.org/ronald-reagan/white-house-diaries/diary-entry-07241984/. Chapter 9. Financial Crises, Domestic and International He famously complained: “Bank Failures Lag; Patman Is Worried,” New York Times, June 17, 1963, 48, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1963/06/17/89537226.pdf.
April 28, 1980 First Pennsylvania Bank announces it has received a $1.5 billion rescue, sponsored by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Federal Reserve. May 22, 1980 In midst of sudden recession, Fed rolls back most of the credit controls implemented in March. October 2, 1980 Monetary policy tightening ahead of the election incites mild presidential criticism. November 4, 1980 Ronald Reagan elected president. January 20, 1981 Reagan takes office, nominates Donald Regan as Treasury secretary. January 23, 1981 Volcker has lunch with Reagan at the Treasury Department along with Donald Regan, Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) chief Murray Weidenbaum and others. June 30, 1982 Mexico is world’s largest borrower, with $21.5 billion owed to US banks alone. Fed agrees to short-term swap line, conditional on the willingness of the new Mexican president to work with the IMF.
The Long Boom: A Vision for the Coming Age of Prosperity by Peter Schwartz, Peter Leyden, Joel Hyatt
American ideology, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, centre right, computer age, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, hydrogen economy, industrial cluster, informal economy, intangible asset, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, life extension, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shock, open borders, Productivity paradox, QR code, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, Y2K
That's based on estimates that do not factor in the higher growth rates we think will become prevalent soon. The next President will determine the most productive investments for this extraordinary national wealth. This election highlights the difference between looking forward to the future or looking backward to the past. Bush tends to look toward the past, primarily by resurrecting the formula Ronald Reagan rode to power twenty years ago. Cutting taxes may have been appropriate back then to stimulate an economy in recession, but cutting taxes significantly in our high growth economy of today is unwise. The Federal Reserve Bank is seeking to do the opposite—tightening credit to slow growth and ward off inflation. And most of the new government spending that Bush proposes is to beef up the military, again something that was more compelling in Reagan's time when we had an "evil empire" to battle.
The communist USSR, too, had an anemic economy, but we didn't find out until later because they put out phony statistics. What we could see was that they had invaded Afghanistan the year before and seemed bent on expanding their empire. Meanwhile, the United States couldn't get Iranian revolutionaries to release American hostages held for more than a year. Jimmy Carter was the president in 1980, running against Ronald Reagan, whose campaign slogan was "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" The resounding answer was no, and Reagan won in a Republican landslide. Four years later, he changed the slogan of his reelection campaign to "It's morning again in America." Reagan was onto something with that slogan, apart from showing the power of confidence and optimism. After all the darkness of the 1970s, some rays of hope started to break out in the 1980s.
But Thatcher is just scrapping the whole approach, She's selling off publicly owned companies to rich people at bargain prices, She's deregulating big business and letting it run rampant. How can you trust those guys? They're going to completely exploit the situation, grind the workers into the ground, squeeze every last penny out of the consumer, and then leave us living in a cesspool of pollution. It's going to be an utter disaster. And the disaster is not just looming here in England. You guys must be seeing the same thing happening back in the states. For god's sake, Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States a month ago. What are Americans thinking by electing a bad movie actor as leader of the Free World? He's going to out-Thatcher Thatcher, plus get the world into a war. He's promising to build up the military and take on the Soviets, Give me a break—the Soviet Union has 40,000 nuclear bombs. What kind of a world are we living in? I spent my life raised in middle-class middle America—in a strict Catholic household no less.
Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda by Noam Chomsky
His atrocities were revealed in this book so conclusively that "only the most light-headed and cold-blooded Western intellectual will come to the tyrant's defense," said the Washington Post. Remember, this is the account of what happened to one man. Let's say it's all true. Let's raise no questions about what happened to the one man who says he was tortured. At a White House ceremony marking Human Rights Day, he was singled out by Ronald Reagan for his courage in enduring the horrors and sadism of this bloody Cuban tyrant. He was then appointed the U.S. representative at the U.N. Human Rights Commission, where he has been able to perform signal services defending the Salvadoran and Guatemalan governments against charges that they conduct atrocities so massive that they make anything he suffered look pretty minor. That's the way things stand.
It was distributed by the Marin County Interfaith Task Force. The national press refused to cover it. The TV stations refused to run it. There was an article in the local Marin County newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, and I think that's all. No one else would touch it. This was a time when there was more than a few "lightheaded and cold-blooded Western intellectuals" who were singing the praises of Jose Napoleon Duarte and of Ronald Reagan. Anaya was not the subject of any tributes. He didn't get on Human Rights Day. He wasn't appointed to anything. He was released in a prisoner exchange and then assassinated, apparently by the U.S.-backed security forces. Very little information about that ever appeared. The media never asked whether exposure of the atrocities-instead of sitting on them and silencing them-might have saved his life.
In August we suddenly turned against Saddam Hussein after having favored him for many years. Here was an Iraqi democratic opposition who ought to have some thoughts about the matter. They would be happy to see Saddam Hussein drawn and quartered. He killed their brothers, tortured their sisters, and drove them out of the country. They have been fighting against his tyranny throughout the whole time that Ronald Reagan and George Bush were cherishing him. What about their voices? Take a look at the national media and see how much you can find about the Iraqi democratic opposition from August through March (1991). You can't find a word. It's not that they're inarticulate. They have statements, proposals, calls and demands. If you look at them, you find that they're indistinguishable from those of the American peace movement.
Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich
Berlin Wall, business cycle, declining real wages, delayed gratification, Doha Development Round, endowment effect, full employment, George Akerlof, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, job automation, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mortgage debt, new economy, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, sovereign wealth fund, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, World Values Survey
.: Economic Policy Institute, 2008), pp. 220–24. 6 More than half of all the money: See Lawrence Bebchuk, “The Growth of Executive Pay,” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 21, no. 2 (2005): 283–303. 7 By 2007, financial and insurance companies: See Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) Tables, Section I: Domestic Product and Incomes, “Real Gross Value Added by Industry,” 2009. 8 In 2009, the twenty-five best-paid hedge-fund managers: See AR: Absolute Return + Alpha, annual survey, 2009. 9 in 2007, Ford’s financial division: Securities and Exchange Commission Filings. 10 according to presidential candidate Ronald Reagan: Ronald Reagan campaign address, “A Vital Economy: Jobs, Growth, and Progress for Americans,” October 24, 1980. 11 Moreover, they had no clear memory: See Technology Triumphs, Morality Falters, Section 5: “America’s Collective Memory,” the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, January 3, 1999. 8. HOW AMERICANS KEPT BUYING ANYWAY: THE THREE COPING MECHANISMS 1 Coping mechanism #1: See U.S.
The argument does not acknowledge the consequences for an economy when the middle class lacks the means to buy what it produces. Others see the reversal of the pendulum as the inevitable result of declining confidence in government. In their view, the era that began with the Vietnam War and continued with the Watergate scandal culminated in the tax revolts and double-digit inflation of the late 1970s—which, according to presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, occurred not because Americans were living too well but “because the government [was] living too well.” Confidence in government did drop, but proponents of this view have cause and effect backward. The tax revolts that thundered across America starting in the late 1970s were not so much ideological revolts against government—Americans still wanted all the government services they had had before, and then some—as against paying more taxes on incomes that had flattened.
But the average market holdings of middle-class Americans remained tiny compared to those of wealthy Americans.) The rich and powerful also had substantial influence “in conditioning the attitude taken by people as a whole toward [the] rules,” as Eccles wrote in describing the pre-Depression years. They generously financed think tanks, books, media, and ads designed to persuade Americans that free markets always know best. Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Alan Greenspan, Milton Friedman, and other apostles of free-market dogma reiterated a simple story: The choice was between a free market and big government. Government was the problem. Free markets were the solution. But how could the public have been so gullible as to accept this story? After all, America had gone through a Great Depression, suffering the consequences of an unfettered market and unconstrained greed.
Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy by David Frum
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-globalists, Bernie Sanders, centre right, coronavirus, currency manipulation / currency intervention, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, employer provided health coverage, illegal immigration, immigration reform, labor-force participation, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, QAnon, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley
Jeremy Diamond, “Trump Praises Saddam Hussein’s Efficient Killing of ‘Terrorists,’ Calls Today’s Iraq ‘Harvard for Terrorism,’” CNN, July 6, 2016, https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/05/politics/donald-trump-saddam-hussein-iraq-terrorism/index.html. 43. “Playboy Interview: Donald Trump,” Playboy, March 1990, https://www.playboy.com/read/playboy-interview-donald-trump-1990. 44. Donald Trump, “Remarks by President Trump to the People of Poland,” July 6, 2017, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-people-poland/. 45. Ronald Reagan, “Radio Address to the Nation on the Canadian Elections and Free Trade,” November 26, 1988, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/research/speeches/112688a. Chapter Four: White Terror 1. Jenna Johnson, “Donald Trump Seems to Connect President Obama to Orlando Shooting,” Washington Post, June 13, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/06/13/donald-trump-suggests-president-obama-was-involved-with-orlando-shooting/. 2.
They foment hatred to position themselves as the victims of hatred. V. S. Naipaul astutely said of Eva Perón: “Even when the money ran out, Peronism could offer hate as hope.”34 But Trump lacked the emotional toughness of Evita. Trump desperately craved the elite admiration that a more astute demagogue would have despised and refused. Trump could have made political capital out of being the first president since Ronald Reagan not to have attended Yale or Harvard. But no. Instead of seizing the opportunity to identify more closely with his supporters, Trump revealed himself, as journalist Jonathan Chait bitingly observed, as a snob who secretly despised his supporters. Chait spotted an especially revealing moment at a Trump rally in West Virginia in 2018. We’re the smart ones, remember. I say it all the time. You hear the elite.
If the people responsible for the institutions of democracy will not do the job, the job will not be done. While the job goes undone, the United States and the world careen toward conflict and crisis. Chapter Three World War Trump American presidents have more power over foreign affairs than domestic policy. Much more than at home, it is abroad that a president can define the United States according to his own ideas. Those ideas—Jimmy Carter’s commitment to human rights; Ronald Reagan’s anticommunism—shape the world and the future. Donald Trump, too, had a vision, and we all will be coping with those consequences for many years to come. For Donald Trump, life is a struggle for dominance. In every encounter, one party must win, the other must lose. The tough will prevail. The weak will be victimized—and they will deserve it. He explained his philosophy in a 2007 speech. It’s called “Get Even.”
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities by John Cassidy
"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, asset allocation, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, different worldview, diversification, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, incomplete markets, index fund, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, mental accounting, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Network effects, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, paradox of thrift, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price discrimination, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, unorthodox policies, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, zero-sum game
Slight, quick-witted, and irascible, he viewed the tortuous derivations of general equilibrium theory as largely a waste of time and effort: to him, the efficacy of free markets was self-evident. Martin Anderson, one of Ronald Reagan’s economic advisers, has described Friedman as “the most influential economist since Adam Smith.” That may be an exaggeration, but nobody did more than Friedman to resurrect laissez-faire ideas. In academic venues, in his long-running column in Newsweek, and in two much-read books, Capitalism and Freedom, first published in 1962, and Free to Choose, which he and his wife, Rose, put out in January 1980, just as Ronald Reagan was beginning his successful run for the White House, Friedman furnished conservative politicians with a consistent and well-articulated set of ideas and policy proposals. After Friedman’s death in 2006, even Paul Krugman, the liberal Princeton economist and New York Times columnist, saluted his achievements, writing, “I regard him as a great economist and a great man.”
In many parts of the country, home prices had started falling, and the number of families defaulting on their mortgages was rising sharply. But among economists there was still a deep and pervasive faith in the vitality of American capitalism, and the ideals it represented. For decades now, economists have been insisting that the best way to ensure prosperity is to scale back government involvement in the economy and let the private sector take over. In the late 1970s, when Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan launched the conservative counterrevolution, the intellectuals who initially pushed this line of reasoning—Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Arthur Laffer, Sir Keith Joseph—were widely seen as right-wing cranks. By the 1990s, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and many other progressive politicians had adopted the language of the right. They didn’t have much choice. With the collapse of communism and the ascendancy of conservative parties on both sides of the Atlantic, a positive attitude to markets became a badge of political respectability.
Frank Nothaft, the chief economist at Freddie Mac, ran through a list of “economic fundamentals” that he said justified high and rising home prices: low mortgage rates, large-scale immigration, and a modest inventory of new homes. “We are not going to see the price of single-family homes fall,” he said bluntly. “It ain’t going to happen.” As the housing boom continued, Nothaft’s suggestion that nationwide house prices were unidirectional acquired the official imprimatur of the U.S. government. In April 2003, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, in Simi Valley, California, Alan Greenspan insisted that the United States wasn’t suffering from a real estate bubble. In October 2004, he argued that real estate doesn’t lend itself to speculation, noting that “upon sale of a house, homeowners must move and live elsewhere.” In June 2005, testifying on Capitol Hill, he acknowledged the presence of “froth” in some areas, but ruled out the possibility of a nationwide bubble, saying housing markets were local.
Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe by Serhii Plokhy
“Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Soviet Nuclear Reactor Accident at Chernobyl,” May 3, 1986, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Public Papers of the President, www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1986/50386a.htm; “Implications of the Chernobyl Disaster,” CIA Memo, April 29, 1986, www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document _conversions/17/19860429.pdf. 11. “Implications of the Chernobyl Disaster,” April 29, 1986. 12. “Nuclear Disaster: A Spreading Cloud and an Aid Appeal; U.S. Offers to Help Soviet in Dealing with Accident,” New York Times, April 30, 1986; Alex Brummer, “Reagan Offers U.S. Help,” Guardian, April 25, 2005, www.theguardian.com/world/2005/apr/25/nuclear.uk. 13. “Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Soviet Nuclear Reactor Accident at Chernobyl,” May 1, 1986, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Public Papers of the President, www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1986/50186b.htm. 14.
Stuart and his team decided to see the place for themselves. Vita, our animated young Ukrainian guide, first takes us to the 30-kilometer exclusion zone and then to the more restricted 10-kilometer one—two circles, one inside the other, with the former nuclear power plant at their center and a radius of 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) and 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), respectively. We get to see the Soviet radar called Duga, or Arch—a response to Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative—by today’s standards a low-tech system. It was designed to detect a possible nuclear attack from the East Coast of the United States. From there we proceeded to the city of Chernobyl, its nuclear power station, and the neighboring city of Prypiat, a ghost town that once housed close to 50,000 construction workers and operators of the destroyed plant.
The Central Intelligence Agency in the United States had made even grimmer estimates, putting the growth rate at 2 to 3 percent, and later reducing even that estimate to approximately 1 percent.3 With its goals for communism nowhere in sight, the economy in a tailspin, the Chinese launching their economic reforms by introducing market mechanisms, and the Americans rushing ahead not only in economic development but also in the arms race, under the leadership of the unfailingly optimistic Ronald Reagan, the Soviet leadership had lost its way. The people, ever more disillusioned with the communist experiment, had become despondent. And yet, with the communist religion in crisis, it suddenly appeared to have found a new messiah in a relatively young, energetic, and charismatic leader: Mikhail Gorbachev. This was to be the fifty-four-year-old Gorbachev’s first congress as general secretary of the party, and he was well aware that the eyes of the party leadership, of Soviet citizens—and indeed, of the entire world—were on him.
The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War by Norman Stone
affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, central bank independence, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, illegal immigration, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, long peace, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, price mechanism, price stability, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, V2 rocket, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War, éminence grise
It was not necessary: the debt was simply not paid, or, rather, the American taxpayer paid it. The West, in the summer of 1979, was in poor condition, and Europe was not producing the answers. Creativity would have to come from the Atlantic again, and it did. Margaret Thatcher emerged in May, and Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980. 21 Atlantic Recovery: ‘Reagan and Thatcher’ Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher each brought to bear some of the core beliefs of their civilization, which included (among others) Hollywood and a belief in facts. Ronald Reagan had been an actor, a Rooseveltian Democrat, and he had escaped from a past in a way that commanded respect - his father a drunken failure, his mother a shrew. He had pushed his way forward, via a degree in simple-minded verities at an obscure college, through sports-commentating, to Hollywood.
General Galtieri (centre) with Admiral Lambruschini (left) and Brigadier General Graffigna, Buenos Aires cathedral, May 1980; Arthur Scargill, Orgreave colliery, May 1984 44. and 45. Couples. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, June 1984; Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu with folkloric Romanian children, c. 1985 46. and 47. More couples. Elizabeth II and Rupert Murdoch, Wapping, February 1985; General Wojciech Jaruzelski and Pope John Paul II, Warsaw, June 1987 48. and 49. Cold War spin-offs. President Mohammed Najibullah meeting Soviet troops, Kabul, October 1986; Prime Minister Turgut Özal meeting Ronald Reagan, April 1985 50. and 51. The end. The East German leader Egon Krenz about to lose his job, with Mikhail Gorbachev, Moscow, November 1989; Boris Yeltsin earlier in the same year It was of course a racial matter.
Still, he had only managed to win the nomination because the other candidate, Nelson Rockefeller, scored black marks for divorcing his wife of thirty-one years, and Goldwater manoeuvred himself into what appeared to be grotesquely reactionary positions - the abolition of graduated income tax, the bombing of North Vietnam, a denunciation of Eisenhower’s administration as a ‘dime store New Deal’. His electoral ship sank with all hands, though Ronald Reagan found a lifebelt. The mood was now for political change, though, looking back, it is difficult to see quite where the urgency for this lay. The racial problem in the USA was indeed a great blot, and had been seen as such even in the days when the Constitution proclaimed equality. But there was much to be said for taking things carefully, even just applying the existing laws that protected individuals in the Anglo-Saxon manner.
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
Talking about Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” without discussing Ronald Reagan would be like mentioning Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and pretending Whitney Houston doesn’t exist. Whitney and Reagan’s covers were way more famous than the original versions ever were. Winthrop’s sermon, as a supposed early model for the idea of America, became a blank screen onto which Americans in general and Reagan in particular projected their own ideas about the country we ended up with. For a ten-year stretch, the 1980s, Winthrop’s city on a hill became the national metaphor. And looking into the ways the sermon, or at least that one phrase in it, was used, throws open the American divide between action and words, between what we say we believe versus what we actually do. Like a hostess dusting off her gravy boat come Thanksgiving, Ronald Reagan would trot out Winthrop’s image of a city on a hill on special occasions throughout his political career.
., we want to sing along with the chorus and ignore the verses, ignore the blues. That is why the “city on a hill” is the image from Winthrop’s speech that stuck and not “members of the same body.” No one is going to hold up a cigarette lighter in a stadium to the tune of “mourn together, suffer together.” City on a hill, though—that has a backbeat we can dance to. And that’s why the citizens of the United States not only elected and reelected Ronald Reagan; that’s why we are Ronald Reagan. Remember this? In 1987, when President Reagan finally went on national TV to apologize for his underlings’ secret and illegal weapons sales to Iran in exchange for hostages and to purchase weapons for anticommunist Nicaraguan death squads, he said, “A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.”
According to Foxe, when Tilleman saw the large pile of kindling that was to be used to burn him alive, he asked his executioner if most of the wood “might be given to the poor, saying, ‘A small quantity will suffice to consume me.’ ” In “Christian Charity,” Winthrop asserts, “ There is a time also when Christians . . . must give beyond their ability.” Winthrop asserts, “ There is a time when a Christian must sell all and give to the poor, as they did in the Apostles’ times.” (It is so curious that this sermon, in my lifetime, would become so identified with the Communist-hating, Communist-baiting Ronald Reagan, considering Winthrop just proclaimed that a follower of Christ must be willing to renounce property. Utter Commie talk.) After the Old Testament Israelites, the colonists’ second-favorite biblical role models are the first-century churches founded by Christ’s apostles and the missionary Paul. The small, local nature of churches such as those at Corinth and Ephesus is where the Puritans get their Congregationalist critique of Catholicism and the Church of England’s Catholic power structure, in which local parishes are beholden to the dictates and whims of faraway bishops.
The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism by Steve Kornacki
affirmative action, American Legislative Exchange Council, Berlin Wall, computer age, David Brooks, Donald Trump, employer provided health coverage, ending welfare as we know it, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, immigration reform, mass immigration, Ralph Nader, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce
One Bill Clinton came to San Francisco for the Democratic National Convention hungry for attention. It was July 1984, and the second-term Arkansas governor, not yet forty years old, knew where to find opportunity. The convention itself would be a morose affair, with party regulars dutifully ratifying former vice president Walter Mondale as their nominee. Four years earlier, Mondale had been number two on the Jimmy Carter–led ticket that surrendered forty-four states to Ronald Reagan. For a while, Democrats had believed Reagan’s triumph to be a fluke, especially when a nasty recession pushed unemployment to over 10 percent early in his term. But by the summer of ’84, the economy was resurgent, patriotism was in full bloom (Los Angeles would soon host the Summer Olympics), and America’s grandfatherly president was enjoying some of the best poll numbers of his tenure. Democrats, a survey of delegates revealed, were significantly less optimistic about Mondale’s prospects than they had been about Carter’s back in 1980.
Her husband defended her use of her maiden name: “She decided to do that when she was nine, long before women’s lib came along. People wouldn’t mind if they knew how old-fashioned she was in every conceivable way.” It was all too much. The Arkansas governorship still came with a two-year term back then, and when Bill Clinton faced the voters again in 1980, he did so with the presidential race at the top of the ticket. Nationally, Ronald Reagan trounced President Jimmy Carter, piling up victories in every corner of the country. Most stunning was Reagan’s strength in the South, a region where the Republican Party had barely existed since the Civil War. The GOP had been gaining strength in Dixie, but Carter, the old Georgia peanut farmer, had seemingly restored his party’s grip on the region in 1976. Now, in 1980, the wheels came off and Carter carried only his home state in “the solid South.”
“We’ve got to get the floating voters who went Republican in 1980,” Coelho said. “We need a message that the Democratic Party is a home for them, and that’s what Cuomo is saying.” Those watching at home, wrote Washington Post television critic Tom Shales, “saw yet another star born on TV: Mario Cuomo, the keynote speaker and New York governor who might this morning lay claim to the title Son of the Great Communicator. “Like Ronald Reagan, the absolute standard by which all others are judged, Cuomo appears to have mastered the art of speaking directly to the television audience while only appearing to be speaking to an assembled throng.” Mario Cuomo had come to San Francisco just another Democratic governor from the Northeast. He left the next big thing in American politics. It was the kind of sudden, only-in-America turn of fortune that Bill Clinton had been straining to achieve.
Circle of Greed: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Lawyer Who Brought Corporate America to Its Knees by Patrick Dillon, Carl M. Cannon
accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Bernie Madoff, buy and hold, collective bargaining, Columbine, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, desegregation, energy security, estate planning, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, illegal immigration, index fund, John Markoff, mandatory minimum, margin call, Maui Hawaii, money market fund, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, the High Line, the market place, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game
Tullman: Anthony Lin, “Milberg Agrees to Pay $75 Million to Settle Criminal Charges Against New York Lawyer,” New York Law Journal, June 17, 2008. 96 these three accomplices: Elkind and Burke, “King of Pain Is Hurting.” Valley of the Heart’s Delight: “Valley of the Heart’s Delight: Santa Clara Valley, California,” http://santaclararesearch.net. CHAPTER 7: THE BIG CON Edwin J. Gray: Ronald Reagan, “Nomination of Edwin J. Gray to Be a Member of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board,” February 17, 1983, Public Papers of the Presidents. Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation: Kenneth B. Noble, “Political Foot Soldier; Reagan’s Friend at the Bank Board,” New York Times, May 29, 1983. “All in all, I think”: Ronald Reagan, “Remarks on Signing the Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act,” October 15, 1982, Public Papers of the Presidents. an astonishing array of schemers: William K. Black, The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005), p. xiii.
After it became apparent that the Justice Department was in the process of terminating Lerach’s legal career, Dillon called Lerach to inform him that there was still a book to be done, but it would be about Lerach, not coauthored by him. Pat subsequently called Carl and invited him to be his coauthor. Carl, who had just days before finished a book with his father, Lou Cannon, comparing the presidencies of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, gave his friend a succinct initial response: “No.” Obviously, that answer was not the last word. Pat subsequently informed Bill Lerach that he and Carl had signed a contract to write a book about Lerach’s life and career. Lerach’s response was, “Well, I guess if someone is going to do it, I’m glad it’s going to be you two. I may not love some of it but you guys will be fair.” When friends and acquaintances learned of this project, they would invariably ask if Lerach was cooperating.
In the case of Pacific Homes, Kirkman’s observations did indeed show up in court, because one Methodist who was not enamored with his church’s leadership sneaked a tape recorder into the Arizona meeting. Not that it was necessary. The Methodists and their lawyers were about to run into the buzz saw named Lerach. Before this case was over, he would present so much compelling evidence that the Methodists would sue for peace before they could even put on their first witness. THE CASE WAS ASSIGNED to Judge Ross G. Tharp, a folksy Ronald Reagan appointee with a handlebar mustache and a resemblance to the comedic actor Dabney Coleman. Tharp’s unease with the case was almost physical, and he did nothing to hide his discomfort at presiding over the lawsuit against a venerated Protestant denomination. The Methodists’ legal defense consisted of three lines of argument: the first was procedural, the second constitutional, and the third an assertion that was more a public policy position than a legal theory.
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Petre
Berlin Wall, California gold rush, call centre, clean water, cleantech, Donald Trump, financial independence, Golden Gate Park, illegal immigration, index card, Maui Hawaii, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, pension reform, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Y2K
It cost just $5, so I bought it. When I got home, I put it up on the wall with Scotch tape. It looked beautiful hanging there. Then Artie came over. As soon as he saw it, he started snorting and acting pissed off. “Ugh,” he said, “what a fool.” I said, “What’s the matter?” “Oh, Reagan, I mean, Jesus.” “That’s a great picture. I found it in Tijuana.” He said, “Do you know who this is?” “Well, it says below, ‘Ronald Reagan.’ ” “He’s the governor of the state of California.” I said, “Really! That’s amazing. That’s twice as good. I have the governor of the state of California hanging here.” “Yeah, he used to be in Westerns,” Artie said. — With Franco as my training partner, I could concentrate on my competition goals. I was determined to win the IFBB Mr. Universe title that I’d failed to get in Miami. That loss to Frank Zane still stung so much that I didn’t want to just win the contest; I wanted to win it so decisively that people would forget I’d ever lost.
In Southern California, the value of property was rising at almost twice the rate of inflation. You could put down $100,000 to buy something for $1 million, and the next year it would be worth $1.2 million, so you’d made 200 percent on your investment. It was crazy. Al Ehringer and I flipped our building on Main Street and bought a city block for redevelopment in Santa Monica and another in Denver. I traded up my twelve-unit apartment building for a thirty-unit one. By the time Ronald Reagan came into office in 1981 and the economy slowed, I’d achieved another piece of the immigrant dream. I’d made my first million. — Conan the Barbarian might still be stuck in the comic books today if John Milius hadn’t reentered the picture in 1979. He took Oliver Stone’s script, chopped it in half, and rewrote it to cost much less, but still $17 million. Even better for Ed Pressman, Milius had a path to money.
I’d had my Jeep outfitted with a loudspeaker and siren for showing off or scaring other drivers out of my way. But now when we drove around town, I’d sink a little lower in the seat, hoping that no one would see me. It was weird pulling up at the gym every day: like most of the people there, I was known as a Republican, and now here I was with the Teddy stickers. Personally, I was hoping that Ronald Reagan would be elected president, but no one was asking my opinion; it was Maria they wanted to see. Hollywood, of course, is a big liberal town, and her family connections went deep. Her grandfather Joe Kennedy had been heavily involved in movies, running no fewer than three studios in the 1920s, and the Kennedys were famous for involving entertainers in political campaigns. So everyone in the family was very much aware of Hollywood, and they turned to actors, directors, and executives for help in fund-raising.
The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street by Robert Scheer
banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, fixed income, housing crisis, invisible hand, Long Term Capital Management, mega-rich, mortgage debt, new economy, old-boy network, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, too big to fail, trickle-down economics
THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF THE REAGAN REVOLUTION 26 “called her ‘The Margaret Thatcher of financial regulation’”: Wendy Gramm, Mercatus Center Distinguished Senior Scholar, Mercatus Center, George Mason University, mercatus.org/wendy-gramm. 27 “Unfortunately, this legislation does not deal”: Ronald Reagan, Remarks on Signing the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982, October 15, 1982, www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1982/101582b.htm. 28 “Ronald Reagan’s dream of carrying out a sweeping”: Richard Hornik, “Shortening the Tether on Bankers,” Time, August 17, 1987. 29 “the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act restrictions on securities activities”: Ronald Reagan, Statement on Signing Competitive Equality Banking Act of 1987, August 10, 1987, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=34677. 30 “These new anti-consumer and anti-competitive provisions could hold back a vital service industry”: Ibid. 30 “Oh, yuck”: Richard L.
Arrayed most prominently against them, far, far down the DC power ladder, were two female regulators, Born and Sheila Bair (an appointee of Bush I and II and retained as FDIC chair by Obama). They never had a chance, though; they were facing a juggernaut: The combined power of the Wall Street lobbyists allied with popular President Clinton, who staked his legacy on reassuring the titans of finance a Democrat could serve their interests better than any Republican. Clinton’s role was decisive in turning Ronald Reagan’s obsession with an unfettered free market into law. Reagan, that fading actor recast so effectively as great propagandist for the unregulated market—“get government off our backs” was his signature rallying cry—was far more successful at deregulating smokestack industries than the financial markets. It would take a new breed of “triangulating” technocrat Democrats to really dismantle the carefully built net designed, after the last Great Depression, to restrain Wall Street from its pattern of periodic self-immolations.
A tip-off to the answer might be that the lobbying forces—the power of that massive wealth to control politics which Obama in his speech referred to as “the $300 million lobbying effort that drove deregulation”—did not stop functioning with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, and that to some degree, even a politician who read the danger signs so well could succumb to the very forces that he had earlier decried. CHAPTER 2 The High Priestess of the Reagan Revolution Ronald Reagan called her his favorite economist, and Wendy Lee Gramm seemed to deserve the praise. Both while she was an academic economist and after Reagan appointed her to various regulatory positions in his administration, she excelled in articulating antiregulatory rhetoric that marked her as a true believer in what would later be labeled the “Reagan Revolution.” Reagan himself had risen in politics after eight years of tutelage as a spokesman for the General Electric Company, from 1954 to 1962.
Culture of Terrorism by Noam Chomsky
anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, Bretton Woods, centre right, clean water, David Brooks, failed state, Farzad Bazoft, land reform, Monroe Doctrine, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, union organizing
But it would be wrong to overlook the impact on the victims, who endure a lasting “culture of terror [that] domesticates the expectations of the majority” and undermines aspirations towards “alternatives that differ from those of the powerful,” in the words of the Salvadoran Jesuits who survived the project of “democracy promotion,” in a conference they sponsored in 1994. This book is concerned with the immediate consequences of Ronald Reagan’s war on terror, declared as he entered office. The war was redeclared by George W. Bush. The immediate consequences should be too well known to review, and should not have surprised those who are familiar with the continuities of policy and the way they are interpreted within mainstream articulate opinion. Moving to the present, the United States is now engaged in a global terrorist campaign of unprecedented character, targeting people suspected of having some intention of perhaps harming us some day.
As for the past, it is plainly irrelevant, since we have undergone a miraculous conversion and have changed course— despite the fact that the institutional structures and planning system that lie behind past atrocities remain intact and unchallenged, and there is little recognition in the intellectual or popular culture of what has happened in reality, apart from those (not insignificant) sectors of popular nonelite opinion that remain stricken by the “Vietnam syndrome.” The doctrine of “change of course,” which allows any past horror to be cheerfully dismissed, is highly functional within a terrorist culture. It is presented in its most vulgar form by 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Krauthammer, who assures us that “today’s America is not Teddy Roosevelt’s or Eisenhower’s or even that imagined by Ronald Reagan, the candidate.” Now “democracy in the Third World has become, for the right as well as the left, a principal goal of American foreign policy.” While it is true that “liberty has not always been the American purpose,” now all has changed: “We believe in freedom,” and the past can be consigned to oblivion along with all that it teaches us about American institutions and the way they operate.7 As for the present, it will be rendered with the same scrupulous concern for accuracy and honest self-criticism that was exhibited during past eras when, we now concede in retrospect, there may have been an occasional blemish.
It is the conclusion that anyone who gave the matter a moment’s thought would at once draw from the story that had been displayed on the television screen and the front pages for the preceding months. But the media were oblivious to these truisms. Doves and hawks alike pondered the prospects in ways to which I will return, but without any recognition of the fundamental absurdity of a “peace plan” under which Nicaragua disarms in exchange for a pledge of good behavior from Ronald Reagan and his cohorts.13 It was assumed on all sides that the Reagan administration would undergo the familiar miraculous conversion, that it would suddenly change course, would become law-abiding and would comply with agreements without monitoring or any meaningful supervision. There were concerns that Nicaragua would lie and cheat in the manner of all Communists, but no questions about the likelihood that the United States would live up to an unverifiable commitment.
An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy by Marc Levinson
affirmative action, airline deregulation, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, clean water, deindustrialization, endogenous growth, falling living standards, financial deregulation, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, intermodal, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, late capitalism, linear programming, manufacturing employment, new economy, Nixon shock, North Sea oil, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, price stability, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, statistical model, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, unorthodox policies, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working-age population, yield curve, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
South Korea would fall into recession, and Brazil’s long run of strong economic growth would crash to a stop. But it was in the United States that the Volcker shock caused the first political casualties. Construction of new homes fell by half. Auto sales, running at an annual rate of fourteen million units in October 1979, dropped below ten million. The unemployment rate jumped nearly two percentage points. Although the recession would be brief, it was enough to elect Ronald Reagan president.7 RONALD REAGAN WAS AN ICON OF THE RIGHT. A FORMER ACTOR and corporate pitchman, he had served two terms as governor of the fast-growing state of California. He said the right conservative things, praising free enterprise and small government, and even the blunt promise to “send the welfare bums back to work,” which had carried him to the governorship in 1966, came with a smile and a friendly wave.
It is fair to say that the economic changes of the 1970s turned the world to the right. The global political climate warmed to market-oriented thinking because other ideas appeared to have failed. The demand for smaller government, personal responsibility, and freer markets transformed political debate, upended long-established public policies, and swept conservative politicians like Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Helmut Kohl into power. In the rich world, the postcrisis years brought a massive shift in income and wealth in favor of those who owned capital and against those whose only asset was their labor. In the poor world, they fueled a boom and subsequent bust among countries eager to join the advanced economies. Anger and frustration fed by stagnant wages, rising inequality, and the fecklessness of public officials swept country after country, reshaping culture, politics, and society.
But as domestic automakers and auto parts manufacturers shed some three hundred thousand jobs during the course of 1980, and as automobile output fell by one-fourth, the pressure for government action ahead of the November 1980 presidential election was impossible to ignore. In the midst of a closely fought campaign, Carter, who had publicly opposed sanctions against car imports from Japan, changed his stance. His opponent, Ronald Reagan, proudly heralded his support for free trade, but he told workers at a Chrysler plant in Detroit that autos were a special case; the US government, Reagan asserted, should “convince the Japanese one way or another, and in their own best interests, the deluge of their cars into the United States must be slowed while our industry gets back on its feet.”27 Faced with the implicit threat of US trade sanctions, MITI announced “voluntary restraints” on car exports to the United States on May 1, 1981, barely three months after Reagan’s inauguration.
That Used to Be Us by Thomas L. Friedman, Michael Mandelbaum
addicted to oil, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andy Kessler, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, full employment, Google Earth, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, obamacare, oil shock, pension reform, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, WikiLeaks
“What I needed to say to win him over and win my election,” Inglis said, “was that ‘I am going to prevent that socialist in the White House, who is probably not even an American citizen and who is illegitimately in the White House, from getting his hands on your Medicare.’ Then I would have been a political hero—but I would have left them in ignorance. What is tragic right now is that we have people—leading people—who choose to leave audiences in ignorance or even encourage stupidity.” That same ignorance can be found in sectors of the business community, where scorn for the government and regulation has become the norm. Who can ever forget Ronald Reagan’s famous campaign line: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Of course, every businessperson in America wants lower taxes and less regulation. Most Americans do. But every one of us also benefits from, indeed depends upon, the five pillars of the American formula. Failing to recognize that fact endangers one of the major sources of our strength.
The right strategy is to have a strategy—a strategy for long-term American growth and nation-building at home. That will require us to cut spending, to raise taxes, and to invest in the sources of our strength, all in a coordinated way. But before we discuss that, let’s step back for a moment and ask: How in the world did we get into this position? Present at the Creation From the end of World War II until Ronald Reagan’s presidency, American budget history was pretty boring. The federal government ran manageable annual budget deficits and the economy steadily grew, so our debt-to-GDP ratio fell. Since the big change occurred during the Reagan presidency, we decided to ask someone who was present at the creation: David Stockman, the budget director during Reagan’s first term and a sharp critic of recent American fiscal policy.
Reagan also led a reform of Social Security in 1983 to shore up the system. Recall the words of former vice president Cheney, whom we quoted earlier: “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” Reagan not only did not prove that deficits don’t matter; he did not believe that deficits don’t matter. This is a fiction that would be manufactured later by a new generation of conservatives either out of ignorance or for their own selfish or ideological reasons. “Ronald Reagan never called them taxes,” recalled former senator Bennett, the Utah Republican. “They were ‘revenue enhancements.’ [Senator] Pete Domenici described it to me once: he said, ‘We went down to the White House and said, “Mr. President, we can’t survive on this level of revenue.” And, Reagan said, “Okay, maybe we ought to have some ‘revenue enhancements.’”’ And so the gas tax went up, which it should have, and should be going up now.”
Capitalism 4.0: The Birth of a New Economy in the Aftermath of Crisis by Anatole Kaletsky
"Robert Solow", bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, global rebalancing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Nelson Mandela, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, paradox of thrift, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game
These unprecedented political and economic traumas destroyed the classical laissez-faire capitalism of the nineteenth century and created a different version of the capitalist system, embracing Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, and the British and European welfare states. Then, forty years after the Great Depression, another enormous economic crisis—the global inflation of the late 1960s and 1970s—inspired the free-market revolution of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, creating a third version of capitalism, clearly distinct from the previous two. Forty years after the great inflation of the late 1960s, the global economy was hit by another systemic crisis, in 2007-09. The argument of this book is that this crisis is creating a fourth version of the capitalist system, a new economy as different from the designs of Reagan and Thatcher as those were from the New Deal.
This assumption is now widely shared. Yet the many conservative politicians, financiers, and business leaders who vehemently denounce the credit expansion of the precrisis period as a fraud and illusion never seem to consider the logical implication: If most of the wealth created from the 1980s onward was a fraud, the same must be true of the free-market reforms that supposedly created this imaginary wealth. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher allegedly reversed the structural deterioration of Anglo-Saxon capitalism that began in the late 1960s by creating the free-market system described in this book as Capitalism 3.0. But postcrisis conventional wisdom implies that the Thatcher-Reagan reforms merely disguised the capitalist system’s malaise behind a froth of financial bubbles. Now that the phoney speculative froth has been blown away, we are told that very little genuine wealth and productive capacity was created in the period of rising leverage from the mid-1980s onward.
And indeed, nothing is preordained in history, nor anything immutable in economics. In the past forty years, dozens of relatively small events could have changed the course of history and transformed economic conditions the world over. Imagine if Deng Xiaoping had died in the Cultural Revolution alongside his mentor Liu Shaoqi. Or if Gorbachev had been passed over for the Soviet leadership. Or if John Hinckley’s bullet had been aimed an inch higher at Ronald Reagan’s chest. Or if Argentina had not invaded the Falklands, saving the government of Margaret Thatcher. Or if the hanging chads in Florida had fallen for Al Gore instead of George W. Bush. Any of these events would certainly have transformed the pace of change, but would they have moved history in a different direction? No one can say for certain, but an inexorable logic in both capitalism and democracy appears to favor self-improvement over self-destruction.
When They Go Low, We Go High: Speeches That Shape the World – and Why We Need Them by Philip Collins
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, collective bargaining, Copley Medal, Corn Laws, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, F. W. de Klerk, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, invention of the printing press, late capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, plutocrats, Plutocrats, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Rosa Parks, stakhanovite, Thomas Malthus, Torches of Freedom, World Values Survey
The effect is as if ‘under the wand of a magician’, as the younger Pitt said of Fox. Look at the way each sentence sets up the next: the Battle of France is over; the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Then the final two sentences that flow inexorably on to their conclusion in the speech’s title. This is his finest hour. You are on fire, sir. RONALD REAGAN Tear Down This Wall The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin 12 June 1987 The most successful electoral politician of any era of American politics, Ronald Reagan was, to use a coinage of George W. Bush, the most mis-underestimated president of modern times. He was also, as much as Wilson and Eisenhower, a war leader. Reagan’s war was the Cold War and it ended in a decisive victory. The Cold War was a war of ideas, a war conducted through cultural imperialism and fine words.
Kennedy: Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You, Washington DC, 20 January 1961 Barack Obama: I Have Never Been More Hopeful about America, Grant Park, Chicago, 7 November 2012 Pericles: Funeral Oration, Athens, Winter, c. 431 BC David Lloyd George: The Great Pinnacle of Sacrifice, Queen’s Hall, London, 19 September 1914 Woodrow Wilson: Making the World Safe for Democracy, Joint Session of the Two Houses of Congress, 2 April 1917 Winston Churchill: Their Finest Hour, House of Commons, 18 June 1940 Ronald Reagan: Tear Down This Wall, The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 12 June 1987 Elizabeth I of England: I Have the Heart and Stomach of a King, Tilbury, 9 August 1588 Benjamin Franklin: I Agree to This Constitution with All Its Faults, The Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia, 17 September 1787 Jawaharlal Nehru: A Tryst with Destiny, Constituent Assembly, Parliament House, New Delhi, 14 August 1947 Nelson Mandela: An Ideal for Which I Am Prepared to Die, Supreme Court of South Africa, Pretoria, 20 April 1964 Aung San Suu Kyi: Freedom from Fear, European Parliament, Strasbourg, 10 July 1991 William Wilberforce: Let Us Make Reparations to Africa, House of Commons, London, 12 May 1789 Emmeline Pankhurst: The Laws That Men Have Made, The Portman Rooms, 24 March 1908 Isidora Dolores Ibárruri Gómez (La Pasionaria): No Pasarán, Mestal Stadium, Valencia, 23 August 1936 Martin Luther King: I Have a Dream, The March on Washington, 28 August 1963 Neil Kinnock: Why Am I the First Kinnock in a Thousand Generations?
Critics have drawn a straight line that runs through the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs invasion and the peril of the Cuban Missile Crisis to Vietnam and beyond. Kennedy’s rhetoric has both a lineage and a legacy. The lineage runs in the commitment to liberating the oppressed around the globe, which is an echo of Woodrow Wilson’s internationalism. The legacy ensues in the echoes from 1963 that are audible in the first inaugural addresses of both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, and in George W. Bush’s rhetoric against tyranny in his second Inaugural, after 9/11. ‘When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.’ That could have been Kennedy; in fact it was Bush. Bear in mind, though, that the calculation changes over time, and the same words in defence of liberty have one charge in 1961 and quite another forty years later. For Kennedy the threat to American liberty was real and domestic, as nuclear annihilation would respect no boundaries.
How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Donald Trump, East Village, estate planning, facts on the ground, global pandemic, Live Aid, medical residency, placebo effect, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, trickle-down economics
He had raced to the American Hospital in Paris for secret treatment for “fatigue and malaise,” she told us, and while there he took a phone call from his old friend Ronald Reagan, wishing him well. At the office we wondered if he was chasing Montagnier’s experimental AIDS drug HPA-23. Of course we wished it was AIDS. We wished the worst for poor Rock Hudson. We had also wished catastrophe for Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan, both of whom had received blood transfusions after foiled assassination attempts recently. We prayed for a day when the disease struck someone who mattered, prayed for a weaponizing of AIDS, and when I finally saw the Post headline I knew our terrible wishes had come true: “ROCK HAS AIDS—And He’s Known for a Year.” A friend of Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett, Ronald Reagan’s guest in the White House, like a brother to the first lady: Rock Hudson stepped forward to tell the world he had the gay plague.
It was now: Ibid., 44; and Arno, Against the Odds, 12. In the early 1950s: See Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher, The Virus and the Vaccine (New York, NY: Macmillan, 2004); and David M. Oshinsky, Polio: An American Story (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). These were grave: Correspondence, Jonas Salk to President Ronald Reagan, November 6, 1986. He invited: Crewdson, Science Fictions, 288–89. Numerous Nobel Prize: Jonas Salk, correspondence to President Ronald Reagan, November 6, 1986, included letters forwarded from David Baltimore, Paul Berg, Renato Dulbecco, Robert Holley, Salvador Luria, Daniel Nathans, Howard Termin, Lewis Thomas, and Rosalyn Yallow. It did little good: Jonas Salk, correspondence to James Watson, February 19, 1987. Montagnier and Gallo: Robert C. Gallo et al., “First Isolation of HTLV-III,” Nature 321, no. 6066 (May 1986): 119–20.
He asked if: Ibid. “If world-famous Ryan”: “Aids and Passive Genocide: 30,534 Unnecessary Deaths from PCP Due to Scandalous Failure to Prophylax: Testimony Given at FDA Hearing Concerning the Approval of Aerosol Pentamidine as Prophylaxis Against PCP,” first published in AIDS Forum 2, no. 1 (1989). “It is a national”: MC, “AIDS Research: Missed Opportunities, and Misplaced Priorities.” Ronald Reagan was: Frank Newport et al., “Ronald Reagan from the People’s Perspective: A Gallup Poll Review,” Gallup, June 7, 2004. he and Dworkin: Email from RD to author, June 16, 2014. Sometimes it seemed: MC, “Gay Pride Rally Speech, June 29, 1991,” MCUA. On Saturday, June 25: Phil Zwickler, “Lesbian and Gay Pride 1988,” NYN, July 11, 1988. We live in wartime: MC, “Gay Pride Rally Speech, June 25, 1988,” MCUA. The physician tried: Untitled and unsigned eulogy for Griffin Gold, JSNYP.
The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin
"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial innovation, flex fuel, global supply chain, global village, high net worth, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, market design, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norman Macrae, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, technology bubble, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War
Bennett, When Dreams Came True: The G.I. Bill and the Making of Modern America (Washington, DC: Brassay’s, 2000), p. 287. 26 Ronald Reagan, Reagan: A Life in Letters, eds. Kiron Skinner, Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson (New York: Free Press, 2003), p. 143 (“won’t fly”). 27 Ronald Reagan with Richard G. Hubler, Where’s the Rest of Me? (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1965), p. 273 (“most electric house”); Lou Cannon, Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power (New York: Public Affairs, 2003), p. 111 (“more refrigerators”), ch. 6; Nancy Reagan with William Novak, My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan (New York: Random House, 1989), p. 128 (Hoover Dam). 28 General Electric, “Ronald Reagan and GE,” webpage at http://www.ge.com/reagan/video.html. Chapter 18: The Nuclear Cycle 1 David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy 1939–1956 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), p. 220. 2 Richard G.
Government policies at both federal and state levels started to promote greater efficiency through tax incentives, regulations, and mandates. California was a pioneer. The state was rocked hard by the 1973 oil crisis not only because of its dependence on the car but also because its utilities burned a lot of oil. The next year, Governor Ronald Reagan, convinced by arguments about frugality and reducing energy waste, overruled his own staff and approved the establishment of the California Energy Commission. Thus did Ronald Reagan become the progenitor of the commission that set about writing increasingly strict rules for energy efficiency that became a model across the United States. Other states followed.8 Utilities began to promote conservation through information programs and by sending energy auditors out to poke around in attics, measuring insulation, and in basements, to check out furnaces.
These price controls were originally imposed during the Nixon administration as an anti-inflation initiative. They did succeed in creating a whole new federal bureaucracy, an explosion in regulatory and litigation work for lawyers, and much political contention. But the controls did little for their stated goals of limiting inflation—and did nothing for energy security. In 1979, after a bruising political battle, President Jimmy Carter implemented a two-year phase-out of price controls. When Ronald Reagan took over as president in January 1981, he speeded things up and ended price controls immediately. It was his very first executive order. This shift from price controls to markets was not just a U.S. phenomenon. In Britain, the government shifted from a fixed price for setting petroleum tax rates to using spot price. As its benchmark, it used a North Sea stream called Brent.7 FROM EGGS TO OIL : THE PAPER BARREL Now oil was becoming “just another commodity.”
The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge
Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Asian financial crisis, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cashless society, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, circulation of elites, Clayton Christensen, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Etonian, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberal capitalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Nelson Mandela, night-watchman state, Norman Macrae, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, old age dependency ratio, open economy, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, pension reform, pensions crisis, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, profit maximization, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Skype, special economic zone, too big to fail, total factor productivity, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, zero-sum game
That paved the way for the aberration of communism but also for the third great revolution: the invention of the modern welfare state. That too has changed a great deal from what its founders, like Beatrice and Sidney Webb, imagined; but it is what we in the West live with today. In Western Europe and America it has ruled unchallenged since the Second World War—except for during the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, inspired by classical liberal thinkers like Milton Friedman, temporarily halted the expansion of the state and privatized the commanding heights of the economy. We dub this a half revolution because, although it harked back to some of the founding ideas of the second “liberal” revolution, it failed in the end to do anything to reverse the size of the state. The twists and turns of each revolution, as we shall see, have been significant.
A comprehensive history of how the West established its lead in state making would be a monumental undertaking: Samuel Finer’s great history of government, which he left unfinished when he died, runs to 1,701 pages.1 Here we have decided to eschew any attempt to be comprehensive: We plan to focus on the three great reinventions that have redefined Western government and to view those reinventions through the prism of three great thinkers: Thomas Hobbes (an anatomist of the Nation-State who also paved the way for the Liberal State), John Stuart Mill (the philosopher of the Liberal State, who also foreshadowed the Welfare State), and Beatrice Webb (the godmother of the Welfare State, who also personified its excesses). In chapter 7 we examine the half revolution against government through Milton Friedman, whose ideas had such an impact on Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. These thinkers occupied different positions in the spectrum from theory to practice. Hobbes wanted to produce a philosophy of politics. The Webbs wanted to change the world. Mill and Friedman occupied a position halfway between the two—they produced profound works of political economy but also played an active role in politics, Mill as a member of Parliament and Friedman as an adviser to presidents and prime ministers.
The Washington Post conceded in 1963, “No other American economist of the first rank can match Freidman’s forensic skills and persuasive powers.”8 Partly because he knew how to get his message out. He wrote a regular column in Newsweek and frequently contributed to newspapers. And partly because he was not scared of politics. He was a leading adviser to Barry Goldwater in 1964 and a close ally of Ronald Reagan thereafter: In 1973 he joined Reagan in giving a series of stump speeches in favor of California’s Proposition 1 (which limited the size of the budget).9 The bond was personal: Reagan “just could not resist Friedman’s infectious enthusiasm.”10 Confronted by this onslaught, even Friedman’s sparring partner, Galbraith, admitted that “the age of Keynes” had given way to the “age of Friedman.”11 The most important reason for Friedman’s success, though, was that history was increasingly on Friedman’s side.
Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer-And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Paul Pierson, Jacob S. Hacker
accounting loophole / creative accounting, active measures, affirmative action, asset allocation, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, business climate, business cycle, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, desegregation, employer provided health coverage, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, Howard Zinn, income inequality, invisible hand, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Martin Wolf, medical bankruptcy, moral hazard, Nate Silver, new economy, night-watchman state, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, union organizing, very high income, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce
When we expand our view beyond income to take in the broader canvas of the winner-take-all economy, the argument for thinking that the gains of America’s top-heavy economic growth “trickled down” becomes even weaker. This is not just a story of relative income erosion. The fallout of the winner-take-all economy has reached broadly and deeply into the security of the middle class—and, as recent events reveal, the entire American economy. Trickle-Up Economics Ronald Reagan famously asked, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Our own version of the question is, “Are you better off than you were a generation ago?”—or, more specifically, “How much better off are middle- and lower-income Americans than they were a generation ago?” The answer has substantial implications for how we judge the economic trends of the last thirty years. After all, if everyone experienced very large gains and the rich just happened to experience even larger gains, this might not cause great concern.
By historical standards, the 1981 Economic Recovery and Tax Act (ERTA) was an astonishing acceleration of the 1978 formula of big tax cuts for business and the affluent. Extremely generous new depreciation rules and a vast expansion of tax loopholes sharply reduced overall taxes on corporations. Top income tax rates came down sharply, as did the capital gains tax (again). The top rate of taxation on the estate tax was cut from 70 percent to 50 percent, and the level of the individual exemption was raised substantially. ERTA was Ronald Reagan’s greatest legislative triumph, a fundamental rewriting of the nation’s tax laws in favor of winner-take-all outcomes. But in a deeper sense it was the nature of the conflict that had changed the most. Both parties were now locked in a determined struggle to show who could shower more benefits on those at the top. On Top of the World In 1899, Congress passed the Height of Buildings Act, prohibiting any new building from exceeding the height of the U.S.
Republicans have been pulled sharply to the right, while Democrats have confronted new strategic dilemmas. The story of this imbalanced struggle—and how it has furthered the politics and economics of winner-take-all—is the next part of our saga. Part III Winner-Take-All Politics Chapter 7 A Tale of Two Parties If any political figure is associated with the post-1970s transformation of American politics and the rise of a new (and newly unequal) economy, it is surely Ronald Reagan. To detractors and admirers alike, he is the obvious leading man in the drama of the New Deal’s demise. Reagan was simultaneously the conservatives’ most eloquent advocate and their most successful candidate. He was, in a word, a game-changer. There was American politics before Reagan, and American politics after Reagan. Full stop. Yet this familiar telling is profoundly misleading. Depicting Reagan as the personification of the modern Republican Party is twice mistaken: It overestimates the radicalism of Reagan’s GOP, and it underestimates the radicalism of the GOP that was to come fifteen years later (and whose activities and impact we will discuss in the next chapter).
Are Chief Executives Overpaid? by Deborah Hargreaves
banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, business climate, corporate governance, Donald Trump, G4S, Jeff Bezos, loadsamoney, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, performance metric, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Snapchat, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, wealth creators
Money-making becomes sexy This academic work was being done against the backdrop of the ‘loadsamoney’ culture of the 1980s, which heralded an era of self-gratification and the pursuit of material goods. This happened on both sides of the Atlantic with the economic boom ushered in by the Margaret Thatcher–Ronald Reagan reforms. Blatant money-making became culturally acceptable – even desirable – and the new mindset started to colonize the business world. Mrs Thatcher and President Reagan swept aside many of the constraints on business and liberalized the economy in a celebration of corporate success. At the same time, tax rates were slashed. Ronald Reagan reduced the US top rate of tax from 70 per cent to 28 per cent and cut corporate tax from 48 per cent to 34 per cent. Similarly, when Margaret Thatcher became UK prime minister in 1979, she cut the top rate of income tax from 83 per cent to 60 per cent – seen at the time as a huge concession to top earners.
Margaret Thatcher was elected in the UK amid a backlash against organized labour and was set on crushing trade union power to set free the supposed entrepreneurial spirits she wanted to foster among the corporate set. She also launched a series of privatizations of companies such as British Gas and British Telecom, which saw the former civil servants running these businesses suddenly pitched into the premier pay league. Similarly, Ronald Reagan came to power during a period of deep recession and stagflation – characterized as double digit economic downturn accompanied by double digit rate of inflation – in 1981. He was convinced that tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of markets and business, and control of the money supply to counter inflation, would improve the economy for all through the so-called ‘trickle-down effect’. President Reagan gave his name to the branch of monetarist economics he popularized – Reaganomics – but much of his legacy has since been called into question.
‘We must accept that Big Finance and runaway inequality are incompatible with either a functioning democracy or a sustainable economy.’1 Nevertheless, successive UK and US governments have shied away from raising tax rates. David Cameron, Conservative prime minister of the UK coalition government in 2010, was quick to scrap the 50p top rate of tax that was briefly imposed in April 2010 by Gordon Brown’s Labour administration to help pay for the banking crisis. Donald Trump has passed an extensive tax bill in the US that marks the biggest changes to the tax base since Ronald Reagan’s reforms in 1986, slashing top rates in a direct benefit to the wealthy. The bill includes a deep cut to corporate taxes from 35 per cent to 21 per cent. Unions and campaigners have strongly argued for some of those tax breaks to be passed on to the workforce and a handful of companies have increased wages, but this has not been widespread. While higher rates of tax for top earners, such as that suggested by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 election campaign, are often lambasted by political rivals, they can be popular with the public.
On Power and Ideology by Noam Chomsky
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, feminist movement, imperial preference, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stanislav Petrov, union organizing
If the USSR were to warn about the threat posed by Denmark or Luxembourg to Soviet security and the need to “contain” this dire threat, perhaps even declaring a national emergency in the face of this grave danger, Western opinion would be rightly enraged. But when the mainstream U.S. press and a liberal Congress, echoing the Administration, warn ominously of the need to “contain” Nicaragua, the same thinkers nod their heads in sage assent or offer mild criticism that the threat is perhaps exaggerated. And when in May 1985, Ronald Reagan declared a “national emergency” to deal with the “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” posed by “the policies and actions of the Government of Nicaragua,” the reaction in Congress and the media—and in much of Europe—was not ridicule, but rather praise for these principled and statesmanlike steps. All of this provides yet another indication of the level of Western intellectual culture.
This theory has two variants. One, regularly invoked to frighten the domestic population, is that Ho Chi Minh (or whoever the current sinner may be) will climb into a canoe, conquer Indonesia, land in San Francisco, and rape your grandmother. While it may be difficult to believe that these tales are presented seriously by the political leadership, one should not be too sure. Leaders of the calibre of Ronald Reagan may well believe what they say. The same may be true of more serious political figures, for example, Lyndon Johnson, probably the most liberal President in American history and in many ways “a man of the people,” who was undoubtedly speaking honestly when he warned in 1948 that unless the U.S. maintained overwhelming military superiority, it would be “a bound and throttled giant; impotent and easy prey to any yellow dwarf with a pocket knife”; or when he said in a speech in Alaska in 1966, at the height of U.S. aggression in Vietnam, that “If we are going to have visits from any aggressors or any enemies, I would rather have that aggression take place out 10,000 miles from here than take place here in Anchorage,” referring to the “internal aggression” of the Vietnamese against U.S. military forces in Vietnam: There are 3 billion people in the world [Johnson continued] and we have only 200 million of them.
It was necessary to respond in the usual manner: by international terrorism, embargo, pressures on international institutions and allies to withhold aid, a huge campaign of propaganda and disinformation, threatening military maneuvers and overflights as part of what the Administration calls “perception management,” and other hostile measures available to a powerful and violent state. Near hysteria was evoked in the U.S. government when Nicaragua accepted the draft of the Contadora treaty in 1984, shortly after Ronald Reagan had informed Congress that the purpose of the contra war was to compel Nicaragua to accept the treaty and Secretary of State Shultz had praised the draft treaty and denounced Nicaragua for blocking its implementation. Hysteria reached a still higher peak when Nicaragua conducted elections described by the professional association of U.S. Latin America scholars (LASA) as remarkably open and honest despite massive U.S. efforts to undermine them, including pressures on the business-based opposition and a disinformation campaign about the delivery of MIG aircraft, carefully timed to remove the elections from the news; it is, of course, taken for granted across the political spectrum that if Nicaragua were to obtain aircraft to defend its national territory from a U.S. assault, that would be an intolerable offense, justifying bombing of Nicaragua, as Senatorial doves warned.
No Such Thing as Society by Andy McSmith
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Brixton riot, call centre, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, F. W. de Klerk, Farzad Bazoft, feminist movement, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, full employment, glass ceiling, God and Mammon, greed is good, illegal immigration, index card, John Bercow, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Live Aid, loadsamoney, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, old-boy network, popular capitalism, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sloane Ranger, South Sea Bubble, spread of share-ownership, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban decay, Winter of Discontent, young professional
Salaries were rising, and the higher tax rates had fallen and fallen for those who were paid enough to be affected; the generous cuts came at the start of the decade, but the biggest of all was in 1988, when the top rate went down from 60p to 40p, which put up the disposable income of the well-off by up to one-fifth overnight. It was one of those rare cases when London led the way, and Washington followed. When Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president of the USA in January 1981, the phenomenon known in Britain as Thatcherism was already almost two years old. The politics of the 1980s was dominated by Margaret Thatcher – who was prime minister from May 1979 to November 1990 – in a way that no other decade is associated with one individual. And there is no other prime minister about whom opinion is so divided. Her arrival in Downing Street brought hope to people who feared that a sickness had overtaken the western democracies, in which individual liberty was being sacrificed to an obsession with social justice.
In December 1979, a small group of ministers agreed that they should buy the more modern and potentially destructive Trident missiles from the USA. President Jimmy Carter was at first reluctant to sell, having staked his reputation on disarmament talks, but changed his mind after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 1979. A deal was announced in the Commons on 15 July 1980. Four months later, Carter was defeated by his Republican challenger, Ronald Reagan. Reagan and Thatcher were soulmates. In time, their relationship would be the closest there had ever been between an American president and a British prime minister. But in the short term, Reagan’s arrival complicated her plans because he wanted to scrap the old Tridents and replace them with updated versions. Since the technology was undeveloped, it was impossible to say what it might cost.
Their first joint public appearance, in October 1981, brought camera crews from as far afield as Japan and the USA, which descended on Welsh villages for a shot of the young princess, who was terrified and feeling sick, as she was in the first stage of pregnancy. ‘I cried a lot in the car, saying I couldn’t get out, couldn’t cope,’16 she later told her biographer, Andrew Morton. When the couple paid a visit to the White House, the press corps stationed outside was twice as large as it had been for the Pope a week earlier, though Diana was not yet so famous that Ronald Reagan had remembered her name – he raised a toast to ‘Prince Charles and Princess Andrew.’ Early in her first pregnancy, Diana slipped out of the palace to buy wine gums; the photographers spotted her, and the news was all over the tabloids. This worried the palace to such an extent that the editors of twenty-one national newspapers, plus the BBC and ITN (but not including Kelvin MacKenzie of the Sun) were called to the palace to hear a plea from Michael Shea, backed up by the Queen, for the Princess to be allowed privacy.
Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan
"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional
Republican congressmen prevented Harry Truman from introducing a national health service after the Second World War. Liberal activists have repeatedly been followed by more conservative successors—FDR by Dwight Eisenhower (by way of Truman), Lyndon Johnson by Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter by Ronald Reagan. America’s powerful tradition of laissez-faire liberalism also reasserted itself after the Second World War. Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (1944) was condensed in Reader’s Digest and read by millions. Milton Friedman became a television star. Ronald Reagan campaigned on the idea that government was the problem rather than the solution. But can America continue to preserve its comparative advantage in the art of creative destruction? That is looking less certain. The rate of company creation is now at its lowest point since the 1980s.
Yet Carter was not really the right man to lead a campaign for economic renewal. He was an imperfect president—highly intelligent but also a micromanager. The American people had already given up on him by the time he discovered his inner crusader. They looked to a new man to deliver America from the furies that had consumed them. Ronald Reagan was not only determined to do battle with the devils that were destroying America, he also had something positive to bring to the equation—a burning faith in the power of entrepreneurs to revive American capitalism. Ten THE AGE OF OPTIMISM RONALD REAGAN WAS ONE of America’s most unusual presidents. He was trained in Hollywood rather than in an Ivy League university or an established political machine. He didn’t bother himself with the details of government: whereas Jimmy Carter worried about who should be allowed to use the White House tennis courts, Reagan talked metaphorically about building a city on a hill.
Today the United States is the world’s biggest economy: a mere 5 percent of the world’s population, it produces a quarter of its GDP expressed in U.S. dollars. America has the world’s highest standard of living apart from a handful of much smaller countries such as Qatar and Norway. It also dominates the industries that are inventing the future—intelligent robots, driverless cars, and life-extending drugs. America’s share of the world’s patents has increased from 10 percent when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 to 20 percent today. The American economy is as diverse as it is huge. The United States leads the world in a wide range of industries—natural resources as well as information technology, paper, and pulp as well as biotechnology. Many leading economies are dangerously focused on one city: most obviously the United Kingdom but also South Korea and Sweden. The United States has numerous centers of excellence: New York for finance, San Francisco for technology, Houston for energy, and Los Angeles for films.
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky, Daniel Ziblatt
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gunnar Myrdal, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Nate Silver, Norman Mailer, old-boy network, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, single-payer health, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, universal basic income
Finally, whenever extremists emerge as serious electoral contenders, mainstream parties must forge a united front to defeat them. To quote Linz, they must be willing to “join with opponents ideologically distant but committed to the survival of the democratic political order.” In normal circumstances, this is almost unimaginable. Picture Senator Edward Kennedy and other liberal Democrats campaigning for Ronald Reagan, or the British Labour Party and their trade union allies endorsing Margaret Thatcher. Each party’s followers would be infuriated at this seeming betrayal of principles. But in extraordinary times, courageous party leadership means putting democracy and country before party and articulating to voters what is at stake. When a party or politician that tests positive on our litmus test emerges as a serious electoral threat, there is little alternative.
The Democrats, whose initial primaries were volatile and divisive, backtracked somewhat in the early 1980s, stipulating that a share of national delegates would be elected officials—governors, big-city mayors, senators, and congressional representatives—appointed by state parties rather than elected in primaries. These “superdelegates,” representing between 15 and 20 percent of national delegates, would serve as a counterbalance to primary voters—and a mechanism for party leaders to fend off candidates they disapproved of. The Republicans, by contrast, were flying high under Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s. Seeing no need for superdelegates, the GOP opted, fatefully, to maintain a more democratic nomination system. Some political scientists worried about the new system. Binding primaries were certainly more democratic. But might they be too democratic? By placing presidential nominations in the hands of voters, binding primaries weakened parties’ gatekeeping function, potentially eliminating the peer review process and opening the door to outsiders.
After Trump’s Super Tuesday victories, panic set in among the Republican establishment. Prominent insiders and conservative opinion leaders began to make the case against Trump. In March 2016, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave a high-profile speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics in which he described Trump as a danger to both the Republican Party and the country. Echoing Ronald Reagan’s 1964 “A Time for Choosing” speech, Romney declared that Trump was a “fraud” who had “neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president.” Other party elders, including 2008 presidential candidate John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham, warned against Trump. And leading conservative publications, including the National Review and the Weekly Standard, rejected Trump in blistering terms.
Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green
4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bernie Sanders, business climate, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, coherent worldview, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate raider, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, Fractional reserve banking, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, liberation theology, low skilled workers, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, nuclear winter, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, urban planning
And that is how, several years later, at a fund-raiser for Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Steve Wynn called his friend Donald Trump over and introduced him to a man who would soon set the course for his unlikely political rise: David Bossie. — By the time he met Trump in the late 2000s, Bossie, then still in his early forties, was already a hardened veteran of Washington’s political wars. Smitten with Ronald Reagan as a teenager growing up in Boston, he became youth director of Bob Dole’s 1988 presidential campaign, and then a foot soldier in Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution when the GOP took back the House of Representatives in the 1994 election. Not long afterward, the beefy, buzz-cut, hyperintense Bossie (who still resembles a Dick Tracy villain) landed a job as chief investigator for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
Foster in the gulf, his darkening view of the wider world grew to encompass his civilian commanders—above all Carter, whose pusillanimous hesitancy, and failure of leadership when he did finally act, Bannon held directly responsible for damaging American prestige. Bannon’s experience as a naval officer in the gulf did more than sour him on Democratic politics. It pushed him into a different party. He became enraptured with a hawkish, outspoken, confrontational, and struttingly pro-military Republican, Ronald Reagan, whose searing critique of Carter’s weakness matched his own views. Bannon’s years abroad also opened his eyes to what struck him as a gathering threat. It was not the sort of immediate, existential danger posed by the Soviet Union. Rather, this was a more distant menace that loomed just over the horizon: Islam. Anyone seeking to trace the pathogenesis of the Islamophobia that would grip Bannon thirty years hence can follow it back to Tehran and his time in the Middle East.
The two decades in between, he realized, had done nothing to stanch the threat of radical Islam to the United States—in fact, Islamic terrorists had struck with greater force than anyone imagined they could and had chosen as a target of their attack the very Wall Street financial district where he had long toiled for Goldman Sachs. The Iranian hostage crisis first impelled Bannon toward Ronald Reagan, whose strength he was certain was vital to preserving America’s safety and influence in the world. Having long ago left the military, he didn’t have any obvious outlet to respond to the new attacks—a middle-aged Hollywood investment banker can’t exactly walk into a recruiter’s office and reenlist. But the following year, Bannon, an avid reader of biographies and political histories, picked up a new book, Reagan’s War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism, by the conservative scholar Peter Schweizer.
Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American ideology, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Burning Man, centre right, circulation of elites, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, Frank Gehry, full employment, George Gilder, gig economy, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, microcredit, mobile money, moral panic, mortgage debt, Nelson Mandela, new economy, obamacare, payday loans, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, pre–internet, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Republic of Letters, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, union organizing, urban decay, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, young professional
,” asked Joseph Stiglitz: “That it is far better to make your living by speculation than by any other means.”39 5 It Takes a Democrat Let me suggest a different framework for understanding the Clinton years, something even grander than The Clinton Wars, or Nasdaq!, or even Bill’s Postpartisan Journey to Self-Discovery. Here is what I propose: How the Market Order Got Cemented into Place. It wasn’t Ronald Reagan alone who did it. What distinguishes the political order we live under now is consensus on certain economic questions, and what made that consensus happen was the capitulation of the Democrats. Republicans could denounce big government all they wanted, but it took a Democrat to declare that “the era of big government is over” and to make it stick. This was Bill Clinton’s historic achievement.
Anyone inquiring how an obscenity like this came to pass—how it is that the home of the free outstripped what we used to call “captive nations” as well as countries philosophically dedicated to wholesale imprisonment like apartheid South Africa—anyone looking into these things soon realizes that this cannot be laid simply and neatly at the doorstep of the Republican Party and Those Awful Wingers. It is true that the Republican Richard Nixon started the war on drugs, and that the Republican Ronald Reagan escalated it. But the Democrat Bill Clinton—the buddy of Bono and Nelson Mandela, the man repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize—easily bested both of these Republicans as well as all other presidents in his zeal to incarcerate.8 Alexander writes as follows of Clinton’s 1994 crime law: Far from resisting the emergence of the new caste system, Clinton escalated the drug war beyond what conservatives had imagined possible a decade earlier.
“The United States has arrived at a new consensus,” wrote Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw in an influential 1998 book on (what they believed to be) the eternal battle between markets and government: in their minds, markets had won a complete victory.17 It wasn’t the microchip that brought us this togetherness, or optical fiber, or the Internet. The economics department of the University of Chicago didn’t win this victory, nor did the fall of the Berlin Wall bring it about. Not even the election of Ronald Reagan was sufficient, on its own, to make the market consensus happen. It required something else—it required the capitulation of the other side. That the triumph of Clinton marked the end of the Democrats as a party committed to working people and egalitarianism is not some perverse conviction held by out-of-touch eggheads like me. Clinton’s admirers used to be quite open about it; for many of them, it was precisely what they liked about the guy.
End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman
airline deregulation, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, debt deflation, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gordon Gekko, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Upton Sinclair, We are the 99%, working poor, Works Progress Administration
Many economists (and quite a few businessmen) expected America to slide back into depression once the war was over. What happened instead was a great boom in private spending, home purchases in particular, that kept the economy humming until the Great Depression was a distant memory. And it was the fading memory of the Depression that set the stage for an extraordinary rise in debt, beginning roughly in 1980. And yes, that coincided with the election of Ronald Reagan, because part of the story is political. Debt began rising in part because lenders and borrowers had forgotten that bad things can happen, but it also rose because politicians and supposed experts alike had forgotten that bad things can happen, and started to remove the regulations introduced in the 1930s to stop them from happening again. Then, of course, the bad things did indeed happen again.
Thanks to deposit insurance, as I’ve said, the old-fashioned bank run became a thing of the past. And thanks to regulation, banks grew much more cautious about lending than they had been before the Great Depression. The result was what Yale’s Gary Gorton calls the “quiet period,” a long era of relative stability and absence of financial crises. All that began to change, however, in 1980. In that year, of course, Ronald Reagan was elected president, signaling a dramatic rightward turn in American politics. But in a way Reagan’s election only formalized a sea change in attitudes toward government intervention that was well under way even during the Carter administration. Carter presided over the deregulation of airlines, which transformed the way Americans traveled, the deregulation of trucking, which transformed the distribution of goods, and the deregulation of oil and natural gas.
Yet it’s a story that needs qualifying, because the truth is that even the good times weren’t all that good, in a couple of ways. First, even though the United States avoided a debilitating financial crisis until 2008, the dangers of a deregulated banking system were becoming apparent much earlier for those willing to see. In fact, deregulation created a serious disaster almost immediately. In 1982, as I’ve already mentioned, Congress passed, and Ronald Reagan signed, the Garn–St. Germain Act, which Reagan described at the signing ceremony as “the first step in our administration’s comprehensive program of financial deregulation.” Its principal purpose was to help solve the problems of the thrift (savings and loan) industry, which had gotten into trouble after inflation rose in the 1970s. Higher inflation led to higher interest rates and left thrifts—which had lent lots of money long-term at low rates—in a troubled position.
Pity the Billionaire: The Unexpected Resurgence of the American Right by Thomas Frank
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, big-box store, bonus culture, business cycle, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, financial innovation, housing crisis, invisible hand, Kickstarter, money market fund, Naomi Klein, obamacare, payday loans, profit maximization, profit motive, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, union organizing, Washington Consensus, white flight, Works Progress Administration
In order for the rebellion to make sense, the entire history of the last few decades would have to be rewritten. Instead of the global embrace of market forces that historians see beginning in the seventies, we were now to understand that socialism had never been vanquished at all, that nearly every so-called conservative politician in those years was actually a liberal in disguise, that no one (with the peculiar exception of Ronald Reagan) had really been faithful to the free-market dogma.7 The era of regulatory permissiveness that allowed the financial crisis to happen had to become unmentionable, deliberately erased. It could not have happened, since conservatives knew now that progressives and crypto-socialists had controlled both parties and called the shots from the days of Woodrow Wilson to those of Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke.
Like family farmers before them, entrepreneurs are thought to be sacred: they are individualism in the flesh, the plucky strivers who have always made the American economy go. If you put aside details like the benefits that mom-and-pop stores generally don’t provide their workers, small business can sometimes seem like the last redoubt of Jefferson’s independent yeomanry. In a 1983 speech commemorating Small Business Week, for example, Ronald Reagan started off by saying, “Every week should be Small Business Week, because America is small business.”* It just got sappier from there: “entrepreneurs are forgotten heroes”; they’re “the faithfuls who support our churches, schools, and communities, the brave people everywhere who produce our goods, feed a hungry world, and keep our homes and families warm while they invest in the future to build a better America.”15 Oh, they’re the salt of the earth.
The tales always unfolded in the same way: A small businessman was doing something eminently reasonable, minding his own beeswax, when—out of nowhere—he was hit with some outrageous EPA fine or tripped up by some hypertechnical OSHA demand. Obvious realities would be disregarded in the bureaucrat’s zeal for rule-following; time would be wasted; business would not get done. It was as though our government wished to punish productive effort! Stories of Invasive Regulators were a constant feature of the comfortable midwestern milieu into which I was born. Ronald Reagan tossed them off all the time on his way to the White House. The plot of Ghostbusters (1984) turned on just such a small-business set piece. And the Republican Revolution of 1994 was largely driven by small-business anecdotes like these—that is, if the account of that revolution written by the then president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is to be credited.19 But it’s no longer so much fun to swap stories about the ignorant overreaching of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a favorite target of the storytellers of old.
The Rich and the Rest of Us by Tavis Smiley
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Buckminster Fuller, Corrections Corporation of America, Credit Default Swap, death of newspapers, deindustrialization, ending welfare as we know it, F. W. de Klerk, fixed income, full employment, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, job automation, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, mega-rich, Nelson Mandela, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, traffic fines, trickle-down economics, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor
Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns.”32 The sense of humanity and social responsibility that Carter encouraged took on a different tone after his term ended in defeat. As economist Jeffrey Sachs pointed out during an interview on Tavis Smiley on PBS, the 1980s introduced a dramatic and calculated shift in the War on Poverty: “But then came [President Ronald] Reagan and the backlash … when Ronald Reagan came into office, and he came into office on a platform that said government is not the solution, it’s the problem… . He started to dismantle. He gave tax cuts to the rich, started to cut the base out of our education spending, social safety net; [he] stopped investing in infrastructure—the things that make America productive.”33 Reagan was “no friend to America’s cities or its poor,” Peter Dreier, chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College, boldly asserted in a commentary shortly after the former President’s death.
POVERTY TIMELINE Year Poverty Percent 1959 22.4 percent Official tracking of the country’s poverty rate begins 1964 19.0 percent President Lyndon B. Johnson declares “War on Poverty” 1969 13.7 percent Johnson’s Great Society efforts help reduce poverty 1973 11.1 percent National poverty rate at an almost 20-year low 1979 12.4 percent Vietnam War, Conservative backlash, poverty ticks up 1983 15.2 percent A recession from mid-1981 to late 1982 takes its toll on the poor 1989 13.1 percent Economy steadies, poverty rate drops in Ronald Reagan’s 2nd term 1992 14.5 percent Reagan drastically slashes government benefit programs, poverty rises 1993 15.1 percent Ten-year gains reversed; Poverty back to 1983 level 1994 14.5 percent Economy perks, poverty level slightly reduced 1996 13.7 percent Poverty rate drops, Clinton introduces drastic welfare reform efforts 2000 11.3 percent Poverty rates fall dramatically due mostly to the opulent 1990s 2007 12.5 percent Poverty ticks up, 37.3 million in poverty before the recession begins 2008 13.2 percent Another 2.5 million fall below the poverty line 2009 14.3 percent 6.3 million more in poverty since 2007 2010 15.1 percent The largest percentage of long-term poor in five decades Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate: 1959 to 2010 The biggest blows to the already shrinking middle class were record unemployment and a housing bubble that burst, resulting in the foreclosure of nearly 4 million homes.
We suppose that the late Robert Lekachman was right in the best book written on Reaganomics, Greed Is Not Enough.36 Reagan may have set the tone and tenor for today’s political conversations on poverty, but President Bill Clinton, during his administration (1993–2000), became a surprising conductor of the right-wing’s “punish the poor” orchestra. In the runup to his re-election in 1996, Clinton out-GOP’d the GOP by signing a draconian welfare-to-work reform bill. Although the legislation reduced the numbers on welfare, it pushed unskilled people into a workforce that had no use for them. The effort may have helped win an election, but it reduced poverty by only 2.5 percent—from 13.7 percent in 1996 to 11.2 percent in 2000. Ronald Reagan may have shifted the dialogue and outreach to the poor, but what’s amazing, as Jeffrey Sachs noted during the PBS interview, is that the dialogue of denial, denigration, and dismissal of the poor continued throughout the Clinton administration: “The Bush era with more tax cuts, and tragically, it’s continued through the first years of the Obama administration.” JUST THE FACTS Before the Great Recession, roughly 37 million Americans were living in poverty.
Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--And a Plan to Stop It by Lawrence Lessig
asset-backed security, banking crisis, carried interest, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, correlation does not imply causation, crony capitalism, David Brooks, Edward Glaeser, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, invisible hand, jimmy wales, Martin Wolf, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Pareto efficiency, place-making, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks, Zipcar
His ideals resonated with just a few then. But they were the seeds of a revolution for the Republican Party, at least when properly cultivated by Ronald Reagan a decade later. Reagan’s first run for the presidency was also a defeat. On November 20, 1975, he announced he would challenge a wildly unpopular president of his own party, Gerald Ford. No one knows for sure whethert sn “ Dw Reagan really thought he could win. But no one expected that he would come so close to dislodging a sitting president. In 1980 he was the logical pick for his party’s nomination. He easily defeated the unpopular incumbent, Jimmy Carter. People forget how important ideas were to Ronald Reagan. By the end of his term, his opponents had painted him as little more than an actor on a very important stage. But I doubt we have had a president in the past fifty years who more carefully and completely thought through a philosophy for governing and government.
But if above that din, there are citizens who can glimpse a path to reform, that criticism is a small price to pay. Introduction There is a feeling today among too many Americans that we might not make it. Not that the end is near, or that doom is around the corner, but that a distinctly American feeling of inevitability, of greatness—culturally, economically, politically—is gone. That we have become Britain. Or Rome. Or Greece. A generation ago Ronald Reagan rallied the nation to deny a similar charge: Jimmy Carter’s worry that our nation had fallen into a state of “malaise.” I was one of those so rallied, and I still believe that Reagan was right. But the feeling I am talking about today is different: not that we, as a people, have lost anything of our potential, but that we, as a republic, have. That eigour capacity for governing—the product, in part, of a Constitution we have revered for more than two centuries—has come to an end.
Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. He is among the most prolific legal academics and the most prolific judges in the history of the nation. He is certainly among the most influential. His book Economic Analysis of Law (1973) founded the law and economics movement. Since then he has written fifty more books, hundreds of articles, and thousands of judicial opinions. He was appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan thirty years ago. Whatever we can say, we can be certain, Posner is no socialist. Among Posner’s fifty-some books are two that deal specifically with the financial crisis.4 And at the core of Posner’s argument is an insistence that we understand the rationality behind this insanity. As he write.="1ems, criticizing a government report on the crisis: The emphasis the report places on the folly of private-sector actors ignores the possibility that most of them were behaving rationally given the environment of dangerously low interest rates, complacency about asset-price inflation (the bubbles that the regulators and, with the occasional honorable exception, the economics profession ignored), and light and lax regulation.5 This is the idea that I want to pursue here: that the gambling that Wall Street engaged in made sense to them given (1) “the environment of dangerously low interest rates,” (2) “complacency about asset-price inflation,” and (3) “light and lax regulation.”
Cocaine Nation: How the White Trade Took Over the World by Thomas Feiling
anti-communist, barriers to entry, crack epidemic, deindustrialization, illegal immigration, informal economy, inventory management, Kickstarter, land reform, Lao Tzu, mandatory minimum, moral panic, offshore financial centre, RAND corporation, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Stanford prison experiment, trade route, upwardly mobile, yellow journalism
The violence of Latino immigrants, the perceived permissiveness of cocaine users, and the threat to the innocence of American children galvanized conservatives into a firm rebuttal of liberal America. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected President, and in the autumn the Republicans also took control of the Senate for the first time since 1952. In 1981, then Vice-President George Bush Sr launched a special task force to take on the traffickers, firing the first salvo in an invigorated war on drugs. In the decade that followed, the political agenda was defined by ‘culture wars’ between liberals and conservatives. The latter emphasized moral renewal and respect for the law. But as it pertained to the growing market for illegal drugs, Ronald Reagan’s crusading zeal was to have many unforeseen consequences. Drug use is cultural and drug markets are driven by economics, so it was unclear how a moral crusade might affect either, however strong the temptation to launch one.
We had a whole lot of people who were hooked not on drugs, but on drug money. I thought about the era of alcohol prohibition in the United States and this era of drug prohibition, and it led me to think that prohibition, in the way that we were going about it, was doing more harm than good.’ Eric Sterling was a legal counsel to Congress in 1986 and was instrumental in drafting that year’s Anti-Drug Abuse Act, the cornerstone of Ronald Reagan’s war on drugs. He too has gone on to become a trenchant critic of how the law has been manipulated to serve the war on drugs. ‘Historically, federal law enforcement was limited to smuggling, robbery of the mails, and counterfeiting money,’ he told me. ‘The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914 was the first federal drug law. It was styled as a tax law. It created a tax of $1,000 per ounce of drugs, and if you didn’t have the tax stamp, you were violating the law.’
The Reagan administration saw the Contras as its allies in the global fight against communist subversion: the President even went as far as to describe them as the latter-day equivalents of the founding fathers. The United States Congress was less gung-ho in its support for the Contras, however, and passed amendments which prohibited the use of government funds ‘for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua’. This meant that the Contras were strapped for cash to buy weapons. The Iran-Contra scandal is a well-known blot on Ronald Reagan’s copybook. Colonel Oliver North was found to have sold weapons to the Iranian government, supposedly an enemy of the White House, in order to raise money for the Contras. A lesser known chapter in the story, and one that throws the integrity of the Republicans’ war on drugs into real doubt, is that the CIA also approved and supported the Contras’ trafficking of cocaine into the United States.
Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles by Michael Gross
Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, Bernie Madoff, California gold rush, clean water, corporate raider, Donald Trump, estate planning, family office, financial independence, Irwin Jacobs, Joan Didion, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, mortgage debt, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, oil rush, passive investing, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, Right to Buy, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Predators' Ball, transcontinental railway, yellow journalism
It’s now occupied by parallel but separate and often opposing societies—quiet, ultraconservative local wealth; some lingering Hollywood glamour and its consort, decadence; and the latest iterations of fast money earned everywhere from cyberspace to infotainment to the lower depths of the financial industries. They may look askance at each other but they mix and mingle (even in bedrooms); in many ways the apogeal product of their union was Ronald Reagan, the movie star turned politician who emerged as a force in the Republican Party, backed by ultraconservative wealth, and became a Bel Air resident himself in 1989. Though Richard Nixon, another Southern Californian, also moved to La-La Land, and Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton loved to party there, it was Reagan who was the apotheosis of its will to power. The kitchen cabinet who propelled Reagan to the White House were all Platinum Triangle residents; a few owned trophy houses there.
Beverly Park In February 1979, the Teamsters finally lost the Higgins Canyon land; the government-appointed asset manager sold off the 355 troubled acres for $7.9 million to a group of about twenty wealthy investors. The only one publicly identified at the time was Henry Salvatori, a multimillionaire oilman from Bel Air and member of the so-called kitchen cabinet of California conservatives who were then within months of placing Ronald Reagan in the White House—though both his family and the developers now say he wasn’t involved. The investors did include hair salon mogul Vidal Sassoon, a stereo component manufacturer named Bob Craig, local supermarket owner Bernie Gelson, a local car dealer, and Gerald Breslauer, a Hollywood money manager, as well as a number of his clients, including director Steven Spielberg, then flush with cash from Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Schick’s blades were made in Cuba until Fidel Castro took over the island nation and expropriated Schick’s factories that year, turning Frawley into an arch anticommunist and a vocal and financial supporter of conservative politicians and causes, beginning with then vice president Richard Nixon. Frawley and Alfred Bloomingdale of the department store family then put on the largest anticommunist youth rally in history, where the entertainers George Murphy (a song-and-dance man and Frawley protégé), John Wayne, Pat Boone, Ronald Reagan, Dale Evans, and Roy Rogers appeared before a hundred thousand schoolchildren. Frawley subsequently became a nationally known figure of controversy when he tried to cancel a million-dollar advertising deal with ABC after it ran a program he felt was anti-Nixon. Frawley was renowned for his business prowess if not always for his politics or ethics. In 1964, Frawley and his large family (seven daughters and two sons) were settling into Bing Crosby’s old Holmby Hills house when he personally bought and mailed copies of the book that launched Barry Goldwater’s right-wing campaign for president, A Choice, Not an Echo by Phyllis Schlafly, to forty thousand Roman Catholic priests, accompanied by a letter on Eversharp-Schick letterhead criticizing the press, attacking liberal foreign policy, and assailing the Democratic Party’s approach to civil rights legislation.
13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson, James Kwak
American ideology, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, Charles Lindbergh, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, fixed income, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Satyajit Das, sovereign wealth fund, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve
A rating downgrade indicates that the agency is losing confidence in the issuer. * There was one huge difference, which was that money did not leave the country; instead, it left the private sector for the safety of U.S. Treasury obligations. But the effect on the private sector financial system was the same. 3 WALL STREET RISING 1980– In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. —Ronald Reagan, inaugural address, January 20, 19811 On December 9, 1985, the cover of Business Week featured John Gutfreund, the CEO of Salomon Brothers and “The King of Wall Street.” “Merrill Lynch remains the best-known Wall Street house and Goldman Sachs the best-managed, but Salomon Bros. is the firm most feared by its competitors,” wrote Anthony Bianco. “It is the prototype of the thoroughly modern investment bank—the not-so-benevolent King of the Street.”2 Salomon was the epitome of the new breed of Wall Street investment bank, built around a swashbuckling, risk-taking bond trading operation powered by “quants” recruited from academic research institutions and filled with “financial engineers” designing new products.
While there were banking executives who hoped for wholesale deregulation, there was no concerted plan by the financial sector to overthrow its regulatory constraints. Instead, like many historical phenomena, this development emerged from a confluence of factors: exogenous events, such as the high inflation of the 1970s; the emergence of academic finance; and the broader deregulatory trend begun in the administration of Jimmy Carter but transformed into a crusade by Ronald Reagan. The eventual result was an out-of-balance financial system that still enjoyed the backing of the federal government—what president would allow the financial system to collapse on his watch?—without the regulatory oversight necessary to prevent excessive risk-taking. Like many major trends, this one was not entirely visible to its participants at the outset. Throughout American history, regulatory change has been more about settling disputes between segments of the business community than about sweeping social transformations, and the beginnings of financial deregulation were no different.
Jagdish Bhagwati argued in 1998 that trade in dollars was not the same as trade in goods, because free capital flows would generate financial crises whose potential costs needed to be taken into account.48 But the belief in free movements of capital, like the belief in efficient markets, became strong enough in some circles to shrug off the need for empirical justification.49 The Efficient Market Hypothesis, like the doctrine of free capital flows, provided ready ammunition for anyone who wanted to argue that banks should be allowed to do as they pleased, that financial innovations were necessarily good, and that free financial markets would always produce optimal social outcomes. Even so, it might have remained only a cry in the academic wilderness or an esoteric Wall Street doctrine. But it had the fortune of being in the right place at the right time—of coinciding with a once-in-a-generation shift in the American political climate. The election of Ronald Reagan marked a crucial turning point in American political history. Although Richard Nixon had already shown how to build a new Republican majority by capitalizing on resentment against Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and the culture of the 1960s, it was Reagan who gave that movement a usable political ideology. Although Jimmy Carter had overseen the beginnings of deregulation with airlines, railroads, and trucking, it was more a topic for policy wonks than for the broader electorate; drawing in part on the ideas of economist Milton Friedman, Reagan made deregulation an ideological crusade.50 Like many successful leaders, Reagan managed to bring together many conflicting movements and beliefs in his coalition.
Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbus A320, airline deregulation, anti-communist, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, business process, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, family office, full employment, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, index fund, industrial cluster, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, low cost airline, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, mega-rich, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, Occupy movement, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Vanguard fund, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K
The Interaction of Politics and Economics This book sets out to describe how, over the past four decades, we came to this point—how we became two such polarized and dissimilar Americas, how the great economic and political divide affects the lives of individual Americans, and how we might, through changed policies and a revival of citizen action, restore our unity and reclaim the American Dream for average people. In my first book, The Russians, I sought to give American readers an intimate human picture of what Russians were like beneath the veneer of Soviet communism and why they behaved the way they did. In The Power Game: How Washington Works, I went inside the American political system and the games politicians played in the era of Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter to describe how power really works in Washington and why some leaders succeed and others fail. In this book, I provide a reporter’s CAT scan of the Two Americas today, examining the interplay of economics and politics to disclose how the shifts of power and of wealth have led to the unraveling of the American Dream for the middle class. I tell the story, too, of how we evolved into such an unequal democracy—how we lost the moderate political middle and how today’s polarized politics reinforce economic inequality and a pervasive sense of economic insecurity.
—ALBERT ABRAHAMS, LOBBYIST, National Association of Realtors Business’s new lobbying weapon combines the power of new coalitions in Washington with grassroots organizations that reach into virtually every congressman’s home district. —Business Week, May 1978 1978 IS A YEAR LARGELY FORGOTTEN or overlooked by many political commentators, but the legislative session of the Ninety-fifth Congress that year was one of the most pivotal in our modern political history. The power shift in favor of pro-business policies began not under Ronald Reagan and the Republicans in the 1980s, but earlier—under Jimmy Carter, in the Democratic-controlled Congress of the late 1970s. In part, that was because Jimmy Carter came to Washington in 1976 with a reform agenda to help the middle class, but as a one-term governor of Georgia, he was unprepared for the rough-and-tumble of the Washington power game. But Carter was also confronting a hidden new reality: The newly organized legions of business, energized by the Powell memo, were ready to play hardball.
Major corporations, which were used to dealing with unions, were inclined to go along with some labor demands to keep peace in their own backyards. But there was a growing sentiment among medium-sized corporations, small businesses, and retailers that labor had gone too far and had gotten too strong. Anti-union feeling was particularly on the rise among the Sun Belt business community, some of it stirred up by the blazingly anti-union rhetoric of Barry Goldwater, the right-wing Republican presidential candidate in 1964, and by Ronald Reagan’s run for the presidency in 1976. With employee health and pension costs rising sharply and a growing gap between union and non-union wages, even employers accustomed to unions were taking a harder line. Some business leaders were determined to roll back union power. The National Association of Manufacturers, with thirteen thousand member companies, set up its own Council on Union-Free Environment to try to get rid of unions as the go-between for management’s dealings with employees.
Bill Marriott: Success Is Never Final--His Life and the Decisions That Built a Hotel Empire by Dale van Atta
Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate raider, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, financial innovation, hiring and firing, index card, indoor plumbing, Kickstarter, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, profit motive, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, urban renewal
Chamber of Commerce, ramping up his involvement with that lobbying group to the point that he was elected its chairman in May 1979. Under his leadership, it soon quadrupled its membership and carried significant weight on Capitol Hill. Concurrently, Bill helped the Chamber itself become a lobbying juggernaut. In retrospect, it’s clear that Bill’s high-profile political activism was timely. There is little doubt that presidential candidate Ronald Reagan’s promise to “get the government off the backs of the people” was key to his dramatic victory over Carter in 1980. With a government more in sync with what Bill had outlined, America’s economy boomed during Reagan’s two terms. There was not one federally ordered increase of the minimum wage during those eight years—yet many more low-income workers were employed and were paid higher wages than they had been during the Carter era.
[The two men], in Indian headdresses and three-piece business suits, quickly did their duty and then even more quickly clambered out of the canoe.” As with prior grand-opening stunts, the event paid off. The news photos of two distinguished men in a canoe in a pool were picked up by newspapers across the country. Some called it Bill Marriott’s “Northwest Passage.”1 The opening duties for the Des Moines and Sea-Tac hotels prevented Bill from being present during a historic event for the new president of the United States, Ronald Reagan. His election victory had been a personal victory for the Republican Marriotts. J.W. funded the transportation and lodging for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir so they could appear in the inaugural parade. The Marriotts had invitations to all the inaugural events. Bill and Donna attended the inaugural gala and had grandstand seats for the parade. But three days later, Bill was surprised to receive a call from the State Department.
The Natchez arrived six and a half hours later in what historians regard as the most famous race in the river’s history.5 More than a thousand record-challenging attempts had been made over the next century, with only twelve of them being successful. The most recent record had been set at twenty-six hours and fifty minutes in 1972. Larry Smith, the founder and designer of Scarab powerboats, thought one of his outboards could beat the record, so he approached veteran racer Michael Reagan, considered one of the top five powerboat racers in the world, to be the team leader and primary driver. Reagan was the oldest son of President Ronald Reagan. Michael Reagan was leery of using his celebrity in a stunt race to promote Scarab, so he redesigned the event as a fund-raising effort for the U.S. Olympic Committee. Reagan signed up corporate sponsors, with Anheuser-Busch being the most energetic and generous. As a result, Reagan named the diesel craft Bud Light. Reagan invited speedboat enthusiast Bill Marriott to join the team as one of the alternate drivers.
A Fine Mess by T. R. Reid
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, centre right, clean water, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, game design, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, Home mortgage interest deduction, Honoré de Balzac, income inequality, industrial robot, land value tax, loss aversion, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, Tobin tax, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks
Even with one party controlling both Congress and the White House, tax reform would be a stretch in our acidic political atmosphere. So how could Congress and the White House agree on serious changes to the tax code when our country is ferociously divided? The fact is, we’ve done it before, in a time of severely divided government. In the mid-1980s, a strong conservative in the White House and a strongly liberal Speaker of the House—that is, Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill—reached agreement on the biggest transformation of the federal income tax since the tax was created in 1913. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, passed by a divided Congress and signed by a Republican president, was widely admired; it was precisely the kind of change that almost all tax experts favored. That reform was based on principles that have been adopted by countries around the world.
The government then was divided, with a conservative president from California battling a liberal House of Representatives led by a Democrat from Massachusetts. With leaders of both parties constantly maneuvering for political gain, Washington was gridlocked on the major issues. There wasn’t much hope for significant progress in any policy area and certainly not on tax reform. The election in 1980 of President Ronald Reagan, an unabashed tax hater, launched a flurry of tax laws that pushed rates down, up, down again, and up again with no clear pattern. In Reagan’s first months in office, he successfully pressured Congress to pass the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981—known inside the Beltway as ERTA—giving big tax cuts to every individual and corporate taxpayer. (ERTA was so laden with breaks and credits for various industries that it was called, accurately, “a frenzied craze of tax giveaways.”6) The economic rationale for this huge tax reduction was the so-called “supply-side” argument that lower taxes would stimulate business activity and bring in more revenue.
“The trade-off between loophole elimination and a lower top rate became obvious,” Bradley wrote later; “the lower the rate, the more loopholes had to be closed to pay for it.”8 Bradley stuck to the mantra of “broad base, low rates” for years, telling anybody who would listen that a significant cut in tax rates would win the votes needed to broaden the base. “The key to reform was to focus on the attractiveness of low rates, not on the pain of limiting deductions.” The enticement of low rates also helped land a crucially important supporter for tax reform: Ronald Reagan himself. As a major Hollywood star, Reagan had been a member of the financial 1% in the 1950s, when the top marginal income tax rate was 90%. The sting of the annual tax return, Reagan used to say, was one of the factors that converted him from a liberal labor union leader to a conservative champion of business. He saw himself as a defender of the hard-pressed average taxpayer. On the stump, he loved to tell an old joke: “The taxpayer—that’s the only person who works for the federal government without passing the Civil Service exam.”
To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise by Bethany Moreton
affirmative action, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, creative destruction, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, global village, informal economy, invisible hand, liberation theology, longitudinal study, market fundamentalism, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, price anchoring, Ralph Nader, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, walkable city, Washington Consensus, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, Works Progress Administration
The profamily constituency meanwhile could point to their inÂ�fluÂ�enÂ�tial new orÂ�gaÂ�niÂ�zaÂ�tions like the Moral Majority, the Religious Round Table, and the Concerned Women for America; the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment; and the success of Anita Bryant’s antihomosexual campaign in Florida.9 Disappointed by the nation’s first born-Â�again president, Georgian 3 TO SERVE GOD AND WAL - Â�M ART Jimmy Carter, the New Christian Right swung its support to another Sun Belt governor in 1980. The Moral Majority registered 2.5 million new evangelical voters, the new conservative political action committees raised 8 million dollars, and Ronald Reagan informed evangelical opinion-Â�makers in Dallas, “I know you can’t endorse me, but I endorse you.”10 Reagan’s overwhelming victory and the growth of his evangelical base forced a sea change in the political and cultural landscape, moving the right from marginal fringe to controlling center. The new Republican coalition comprised a pair of strange bedfellows: laissez-Â�faire champions of the free market unevenly yoked to a broad base of evangelical activists.
Organized since World War II in vehicles like the Foundation for Economic Education and the American Enterprise Association, business elites in the postwar years had transformed themselves from “economic royalists” into the guarantors of individual liberty.2 But their hard-Â�won cultural prestige now was threatened by a student generationÂ€in open revolt against white-Â�collar futures. “Business is in poor repute these days,” counseled a retail industry magazine, “and for some obvious reasons: anti-Â�establishment social upheavals spurred by Vietnam, Watergate and its attendant corporate scandals, oil price inÂ�flaÂ�tion, consumerism and the ecology movement.”3 “The young take for granted the affluence which is the rule,” groused Newsweek, and California governor Ronald Reagan wanted to know what gave these arrogant children the right to sneer at the very men who had brought them the world’s highest standard of living.4 Although business’s crusade against economic illiteracy in the 1970s 145 TO SERVE GOD AND WAL - Â�M ART was not entirely new, the source of hostility to business ends and means came as a shock. In the postwar years, the main ideological opposition to big business had come from Â�unions.
On average Benson’s activities pulled in $1 million annually from donors like Gulf Oil; defense contractor Boeing Aircraft gave the program $1 billion.96 In a 1961 report that censured a national campaign of “rabid, bigoted, one-Â�sided” presentations illegally incorporating active-Â�duty military ofÂ�fiÂ�cers to red-Â� bait the federal government, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara singled out Benson for criticism along with professional anticommunists like Billy James Hargis, the fundamentalist radio preacher who memorably libeled the National Council of Churches as a communist front, and Fred Schwarz, founder of the Christian Anti-Â�Communist Crusade and an early promoter of Ronald Reagan.97 The Journal of Higher Education observed disapprovingly in 1967 that Harding served as “a kind of war college .Â€.Â€. dedicated to the teaching of conservatism.”98 But in Searcy this was now a compliment. The NEP spawned Harding’s American Studies program, with over half a million dollars in operating funding for the first five years. This 166 EVANGELIZING FOR FREE E N T ERPRI S E allowed the college at large to tap into the business network the NEP had already created for funding its physical plant.
Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow
3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filter Bubble, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, superconnector
Armchair explanations like good looks don’t make sense. Why would we be more likely to vote for a handsome young president but not a good-looking young congressperson? Data in presidential versus congressional elections indicates that youth voter turnout isn’t the culprit. Some sort of creeping mistrust of the elderly or the advent of televised elections aren’t skewing the results, either. The oldest-elected president, Ronald Reagan, took office at age 69, with the fourth-oldest, George H. W. Bush, succeeding him at 64. They brought up the average. Gerrymandering and changing campaign finance laws don’t seem to explain the data, and the losers in presidential elections actually tend to be the same average age as the winners. We’ve had rich presidents, poor presidents, political-insider presidents, Washington-outsider presidents, pretty presidents, ugly presidents, eloquent presidents, stammering presidents, old presidents, and young presidents.
The ones who bring down the average time spent on the political ladder. Here they are: President Years in Elected Political Office Zachary Taylor 0 Ulysses S. Grant 0 Herbert Hoover 0 William Howard Taft 0 Dwight D. Eisenhower 0 George Washington 1 Chester Arthur 1 Woodrow Wilson 2 Abraham Lincoln 2 Grover Cleveland 5 George W. Bush 5 Franklin D. Roosevelt 5 Rutherford B. Hayes 7 Jimmy Carter 8 Ronald Reagan 8 Here we have one-third of our presidents, most of whom had less time in elected office than it takes to get a political science degree. Now let’s look at what they did before president: President Occupation(s) Prior to Presidency Zachary Taylor US Army Lieutenant > Major General > President Ulysses S. Grant Soldier > Leather Worker > US Army General > President Herbert Hoover Philanthropist > Secretary of Commerce > President William Howard Taft Prosecutor > Judge > Governor-General of the Philippines > Secretary of War > President Dwight D.
Eisenhower Military Officer > WWII Supreme Allied Commander > University President > President George Washington Continental Congress Delegate > General > President Chester Arthur New York Port Collector > Vice President > President Woodrow Wilson University President > Governor > President Abraham Lincoln State Legislator > Congressman > Prairie Lawyer > President Grover Cleveland Sheriff > Mayor > Governor > President George W. Bush Businessman > Governor > President Franklin D. Roosevelt State Senator > Assistant Secretary of the Navy > Governor > President Rutherford B. Hayes Military Officer > Congressman > Governor > President Jimmy Carter Peanut Farmer > State Senator > Governor > President Ronald Reagan Actor > Governor > President The first thing you’ll notice is that no two presidents in this group had the same climb up the ladder. You may have also noticed that there are a lot of military men in this list. And governors, too. Then there are some weird ones. Philanthropist? University president? Actor? Many of these men did have political savvy. William Howard Taft, for example, came from a well-connected family, and his eight-plus-rung ladder climb involved being collector of internal revenue in Cincinnati and governor of the US-occupied Philippines.
The Next Decade: Where We've Been . . . And Where We're Going by George Friedman
airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business cycle, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, Monroe Doctrine, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea
The next decade / George Friedman. p. cm. 1. World politics—21st century—Forecasting. I. Title. D863.F75 2011 909.83’1—dc22 2010043116 eISBN: 978-0-385-53295-2 v3.1 For Don Kuykendall, Friend I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky. —ABRAHAM LINCOLN Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are. —FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT We cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent. —RONALD REAGAN It is necessary for a prince who wishes to maintain his position to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge or not to use it according to necessity. —NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI CONTENTS Cover Other Books by This Author Title Page Copyright Dedication LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AUTHOR’S NOTE INTRODUCTION: REBALANCING AMERICA CHAPTER 1 THE UNINTENDED EMPIRE CHAPTER 2 REPUBLIC, EMPIRE, AND THE MACHIAVELLIAN PRESIDENT CHAPTER 3 THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND THE RESURGENT STATE CHAPTER 4 FINDING THE BALANCE OF POWER CHAPTER 5 THE TERROR TRAP CHAPTER 6 REDEFINING POLICY: THE CASE OF ISRAEL CHAPTER 7 STRATEGIC REVERSAL: THE UNITED STATES, IRAN, AND THE MIDDLE EAST CHAPTER 8 THE RETURN OF RUSSIA CHAPTER 9 EUROPE’S RETURN TO HISTORY CHAPTER 10 FACING THE WESTERN PACIFIC CHAPTER 11 A SECURE HEMISPHERE CHAPTER 12 AFRICA: A PLACE TO LEAVE ALONE CHAPTER 13 THE TECHNOLOGICAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC IMBALANCE CHAPTER 14 THE EMPIRE, THE REPUBLIC, AND THE DECADE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS About the Author LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Major American Trade Relations Countries with a U.S.
Yet at the same time it is the most democratic, as the presidency is the only office for which the people, as a whole, select a single, powerful leader. In order to understand this office I look at three presidents who defined American greatness. The first is Abraham Lincoln, who saved the republic. The second is Franklin Roosevelt, who gave the United States the world’s oceans. The third is Ronald Reagan, who undermined the Soviet Union and set the stage for empire. Each of them was a profoundly moral man … who was prepared to lie, violate the law, and betray principle in order to achieve those ends. They embodied the paradox of what I call the Machiavellian presidency, an institution that, at its best, reconciles duplicity and righteousness in order to redeem the promise of America. I do not think being just is a simple thing, nor that power is simply the embodiment of good intentions.
At home he defied a Supreme Court ruling and authorized wiretapping without warrants as well as the interception and opening of mail. Yet his most egregious violation of civil liberties was to approve the detention and relocation of ethnic Japanese, regardless of their citizenship status. Roosevelt had no illusions about what he was doing. He was ruthlessly violating rules of decency in pursuit of moral necessity. Ronald Reagan also pursued a ruthless path toward a moral purpose. His goal was destruction of what he called the evil empire of the Soviet Union, and he pursued it—in part by ramping up the arms race, which he knew the Soviets could not afford. He then went to elaborate and devious lengths to block Soviet support for national liberation movements in the Third World. He invaded Grenada in 1983 and supported insurgents fighting the Marxist government of Nicaragua.
Generation A by Douglas Coupland
“Zack, I think you need to know that I am actually a composite personality generated by fifteen different scientists feeding text, data and voice information into the system’s central character generator. I’m not actually a woman.” Fuck. How embarrassing. “Very funny.” “We’re not very funny people. We’re all work and no play.” “Then could you maybe change your voice? I don’t want to lie here thinking, even for one second, that there’s a possibility of you being hot.” “How does this sound?” Lisa’s voice morphed into that of Ronald Reagan. “Better.” “Well then, Zack, I’d like you to think of me as a friend.” How can you argue with Ronald Reagan? It’s like crushing baby chicks with gumboots; no wonder he ruled the planet for eight years. “Thanks.” “No problem.” “The food here blows.” “Yes, it’s unfortunate-looking, but take solace in knowing that you’re helping science. You’re a hero, Zack.” “I’m no hero. What happens next?” “Oh, we’ll need more blood, but you’re young and healthy.”
“Oh, we’ll need more blood, but you’re young and healthy.” “What do you mean more blood?” I searched my arms and legs, looking for needle evidence. “Don’t worry, Zack. Our new blood-removal techniques are invisible and painless.” “How comforting.” I stood up and walked over to the table to poke the green gel rhomboid on my plate. I took a small taste: a broccoli smoothie. “How long am I here for?” “A few weeks, maybe.” “I’ll go nuts.” Ronald Reagan said, “You’ll be helping your country, Zack. I know we can all count on you.” “At least get me a TV.” “No TV, Zack, sorry.” “Some games, then. Magazines . . . a Mac . . . maybe even some books.” “I’m afraid we can’t let you have any information in your room that might skew your mood.” “Not even logos on the furniture and toilet, I noticed.” Silence. “So I sit in a room and do nothing for a month?”
A moment of pride here: of all of us, I was the only one who didn’t mind speaking to Lisa, the feminine voice they’d worked so hard to perfect. But then, I’m one of those people who have no problem with the default ring tone on their mobile. I went two years with Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” until friends finally did an intervention at the gym’s fifth birthday party. Zack chose to work with “Ronald Reagan,” which is very Zack; at one point I think he almost convinced Ronald to speak in a Scooby-Doo accent. Julien chose the voice of a French pop star named Johnny Hallyday. Diana chose Courteney Cox Arquette and Harj chose Morgan Freeman, which was probably the best pick. Harj understands hierarchy. Our daily routine was to wake up, answer some questions, meditate, donate a bit of blood, go back to sleep and . . . it was sooooooooo boring, like a Qantas L.A. to Sydney flight that never lands.
Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Berlin Wall, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cepheid variable, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, desegregation, different worldview, double helix, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fudge factor, ghettoisation, global pandemic, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, sharing economy, smart grid, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, War on Poverty, white flight, Winter of Discontent, working poor, yellow journalism, zero-sum game
Review of US Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, 2009. www.nasa.gov/offices/hsf/meetings/10_22_pressconference.html. 12. Franklin, J. The New Priesthood—The Scientific Elite and the Uses of Power. Engineering and Science 1965;28(9):4. http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/2383/1/books.pdf. 13. Lapp, R, The New Priesthood: The Scientific Elite and the Uses of Power. New York: Harper and Row, 1965. 14. Reagan, R. Address by Governor Ronald Reagan, Installation of President Robert Hill, Chico State College, May 20, 1967. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, n.d. www.reagan.utexas.edu//archives/speeches/govspeech/05201967a.htm. 15. Gleason, R. Bob Dylan: Poet to a Generation. Jazz and Pop, December 1968. pp. 36–37. www.loc.gov/folklife/guides/BibDylan.html. 16. Vonnegut, K. American Notes: Vonnegut’s Gospel. Time, June 29, 1970. 17. Heppenheimer, T. A. The Space Shuttle Decision: NASA’s Search for a Reusable Space Vehicle.
The Virtue of Selfishness. New York: Signet, 1964. Rasmussen, C. Billy Graham’s Star Was Born at His 1949 Revival in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times, September 2, 2007. http://articles.latimes.com/2007/sep/02/local/me-then2. Raven, C. E. John Ray, Naturalist: His Life and Works. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1942. Reagan, R. Address by Governor Ronald Reagan, Installation of President Robert Hill, Chico State College, May 20, 1967. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, n.d. www.reagan.utexas.edu//archives/speeches/govspeech/05201967a.htm. Reagan, R. Farewell Address to the Nation. Miller Center of Public Affairs, January 11, 1989. http://millercenter.org/scripps/archive/speeches/detail/3418. RealClimate Group. The CRU Hack. RealClimate.org, November 20, 2009. www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack/#more-1853.
The book’s argument reflected an emerging idea that “democracy faces its most severe test in preserving its traditions in an age of scientific revolution.”13 CARPE DIEM The live-for-today ethos was changing the way Americans approached living, consumption, and finance. The change was particularly evident among the emerging baby-boom generation. With the older generation having lost its moral credibility, the boomers felt the older crowd had no right to tell young people anything. “Today there is great concern among my generation that an era of permissiveness has resulted in unrest among our young people,” said California governor Ronald Reagan on May 20, 1967. “But just to keep things in balance there is a widespread feeling among our young people that no one over 30 understands them.”14 These baby boomers, feeling powerless, needed an outlet for their anger and moral distrust of the older generation, so they adopted the protest songs of folk music. Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan became an overnight sensation, the “poet to a generation.”15 Satire became a dominant cultural art form, lampooning all kinds of authority for its hypocrisy and failure.
Arguing With Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future by Paul Krugman
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, different worldview, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, employer provided health coverage, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial repression, frictionless, frictionless market, fudge factor, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, large denomination, liquidity trap, London Whale, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, New Urbanism, obamacare, oil shock, open borders, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, universal basic income, very high income, working-age population
To take the most obvious example, people arguing that we should cut taxes on the rich may pretend to have arrived at that position by looking at the evidence, but that’s not true: there is no evidence that would persuade them to change their view. In practice, they deal with contrary evidence by shifting goalposts—for example, the same people who predicted that Bill Clinton’s tax hike would cause a depression now claim that the Clinton-era boom was part of the long-run payoff to Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts. Or they simply lie, making up numbers and other supposed facts. So how should an economist-pundit deal with this reality? One answer, which I know appeals to many economists, is to continue acting as if we were having a good-faith debate: to lay out the evidence, explain why it means one view is right and the other is wrong, and stop there. My view, as you might guess, is that this isn’t enough, that it’s actually unfair to readers.
There’s nothing strange or mysterious about how Social Security works: it’s just a government program supported by a dedicated tax on payroll earnings, just as highway maintenance is supported by a dedicated tax on gasoline. Right now the revenues from the payroll tax exceed the amount paid out in benefits. This is deliberate, the result of a payroll tax increase—recommended by none other than Alan Greenspan—two decades ago. His justification at the time for raising a tax that falls mainly on lower- and middle-income families, even though Ronald Reagan had just cut the taxes that fall mainly on the very well-off, was that the extra revenue was needed to build up a trust fund. This could be drawn on to pay benefits once the baby boomers began to retire. The grain of truth in claims of a Social Security crisis is that this tax increase wasn’t quite big enough. Projections in a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (which are probably more realistic than the very cautious projections of the Social Security Administration) say that the trust fund will run out in 2052.
What outrages people who see Sicko is the sheer cruelty and injustice of the American health care system—sick people who can’t pay their hospital bills literally dumped on the sidewalk, a child who dies because an emergency room that isn’t a participant in her mother’s health plan won’t treat her, hard-working Americans driven into humiliating poverty by medical bills. Sicko is a powerful call to action—but don’t count the defenders of the status quo out. History shows that they’re very good at fending off reform by finding new ways to scare us. These scare tactics have often included over-the-top claims about the dangers of government insurance. Sicko plays part of a recording Ronald Reagan once made for the American Medical Association, warning that a proposed program of health insurance for the elderly—the program now known as Medicare—would lead to totalitarianism. Right now, by the way, Medicare—which did enormous good, without leading to a dictatorship—is being undermined by privatization. Mainly, though, the big-money interests with a stake in the present system want you to believe that universal health care would lead to a crushing tax burden and lousy medical care.
Lethal Passage by Erik Larson
A study of accidental shooting deaths of children in California highlighted how a momentary lapse of vigilance by gun owners could quickly lead to tragedy, even in households that treated guns with exemplary care. In one case, the study reported, a six-year-old boy shot himself in the head with a handgun he found “in the purse of a houseguest.” It is widely thought that Sarah Brady, chairperson of Handgun Control Inc., began her crusade against guns immediately after her husband, Jim Brady, was permanently injured in John Hinckley’s attempt to assassinate Ronald Reagan. In fact, she told a writer for the New York Times Magazine, the pivotal moment came later, in 1985, when her five-year-old son found a .22 handgun in a pickup owned by a family friend and pointed it at her. At first Brady thought it was a toy, then saw it was real and loaded. Parents, however, seem all too willing to ignore the risks and to assume that their own kids are responsible enough to recognize the harm guns can do and to learn to “respect” them.
Dickerson, defended the bureau, proclaiming to the House Judiciary Committee that the bureau had for the prior two years “focused over ninety-two percent of its enforcement resources on the prevention of violent crime and the pursuit of violent criminals.” ATF had used aggressive, proactive tactics to enforce firearms laws, he said, including undercover stings designed to trap dealers into making illegal sales. The NRA and other members of the gun lobby saw nothing positive in these measures and charged ATF with trampling the constitutional rights of ordinary gun owners. The charge fell on sympathetic ears. In 1981, then-president Ronald Reagan announced his plan to make good on a campaign promise to abolish the ATF. Today a chastened ATF (rescued at the last minute, as I’ll show, by a most improbable angel, the NRA itself) describes its mission in more modest terms. “There’s been a misconception that we’re in the prevention business,” said Jack Killorin, a former law-enforcement agent who now heads the bureau’s public affairs office.
So they penalized us for having the gall to initiate these programs. Needless to say, the regulations were withdrawn by Treasury, by the Carter administration, with their tails between their legs.” And ATF was left to cope with $10 million less in its operating budget. Nonetheless, ATF still had the benefit of an administration that at least in spirit favored gun control. But Carter wouldn’t be president forever. During the 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan made it clear where his sympathies lay. He wooed the NRA with a campaign pledge that if elected president, he would abolish the hated bureau. The NRA and its powerful allies, including Rep. John Dingell of Michigan and Rep. John Ashbrook of Ohio, both members of the NRA’s board of directors, moved in for the kill. The NRA went so far as to produce a TV documentary called It Can Happen Here, alleging ATF abuses.
$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, business cycle, clean water, ending welfare as we know it, future of work, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, impulse control, indoor plumbing, informal economy, low-wage service sector, mass incarceration, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, The Future of Employment, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration
You might say that it all started with a charismatic presidential candidate hailing from a state far from Washington, D.C., running during a time of immense change for the country. There was no doubt he had a way with people. It was in the smoothness of his voice and the way he could lock on to someone, even over the TV. Still, he needed an issue that would capture people’s attention. He needed something with curb appeal. In 1976, Ronald Reagan was trying to oust a sitting president in his own party, a none-too-easy task. As he refined his stump speech, he tested out a theme that had worked well when he ran for governor of California and found that it resonated with audiences all across the country: It was time to reform welfare. Over the years, America had expanded its hodgepodge system of programs for the poor again and again. In Reagan’s time, the system was built around Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the cash assistance program that was first authorized in 1935, during the depths of the Great Depression.
While welfare may have led to a small decrease in the rate of marriage among the poor during those years, it could not begin to explain the skyrocketing numbers of births to unwed women. Yet Americans were primed to buy the story that AFDC, a system that went so against the grain of the self-sufficiency they believed in, was the main culprit in causing the spread of single motherhood. And so it was that Ronald Reagan, preparing his run for the presidency during a period when discontent with this stepchild of the welfare state was particularly high, found an issue with broad appeal and seized on it as a way to differentiate himself from his more moderate opponent. His stump speech soon began to feature the “welfare queen”—a villain who was duping the government in a grand style. Unlike the average American, she wasn’t expected to work or marry.
By 1988, there were 10.9 million recipients on AFDC, about the same number as when he took office. Four years later, when Reagan’s successor, George H. W. Bush, left office, the welfare caseloads reached 13.8 million—4.5 million adults and their 9.3 million dependent children. How was it that welfare, an immensely unpopular program, could withstand such an offensive? If welfare’s chief nemesis, Ronald Reagan, had failed, who possibly stood a chance? David Ellwood was comfortable in his role as Harvard professor. He had sharp blue eyes, a scruffy beard, and a slight wave to his hair when it needed a trim. He was the smart kid who came to Harvard for college and never left, landing his first job as a professor there right after graduate school. The son of an influential Minnesota physician (who is credited with inventing the concept of the health maintenance organization, or HMO), Ellwood was raised to be a shaper of policy.
The Cold War by Robert Cowley
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doomsday Clock, friendly fire, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, transcontinental railway
Democratic Senate leader Mike Mansfield of Montana called it a “Stone Age tactic.” Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said it was an “outrage.” In an editorial, The Washington Post charged that the bombing caused millions of Americans “to cringe in shame and to wonder at their President's very sanity.” James Reston, in The New York Times, called it “war by tantrum.” Nixon did have supporters, including Governors Nelson Rockefeller of New York and Ronald Reagan of California and Republican senators James Buckley of New York, Howard Baker of Tennessee, and Charles Percy of Illinois. John Connally, former governor of Texas and treasury secretary, called Nixon daily to encourage him and assure him that, regardless of what politicians and the media said, the people were behind him. That was probably an exaggeration, but not as gross as the exaggerations of Nixon's critics.
“It is a question not of too many friends but really too few—one of the inevitable consequences of this position.” He received very few Christmas salutations, even from Republicans on Capitol Hill and members of his Cabinet. As a result, he told interviewer David Frost four years later, “it was the loneliest and saddest Christmas I can ever remember, much sadder and much more lonely than the one in the Pacific during the war.” He did make some telephone calls, including one to Ronald Reagan, who complained about CBS News coverage of the bombing and said that under World War II circumstances, the network would have been charged with treason. The day after Christmas, despite urgings from some of his aides and much of the media that he extend the Christmas Day truce, Nixon ordered the biggest bombing raid yet, 120 B-52s over Hanoi. Five were shot down, but that afternoon Nixon received a message from Hanoi.
IRBMs from Turkey and Italy—and that here, as with the Soviet and American response to the strategic dilemmas posed first by the possibility and then by the reality of the ICBM, technology ruled. The presence of mobile Soviet SS-20 IRBMs in Europe from 1977, and the threat of a subsequent tit-for-tat Pershing II deployment by the U.S., loomed large in the logic behind the negotiations between President Ronald Reagan and Premier Mikhail Gorbachev that, as we now know, marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War. The logic of the scenarios posited above is debatable. What is not is that ICBM-based mutual deterrence was central to the Cold War, a reality reflected in the strategic vocabulary. Such expressions as circular error probable (CEP), preemptive first strike, survivable second-strike capability, and launch on warning, while not exclusively related to ICBMs, arose within a context shaped by the intercontinental ballistic missile.
Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism by Sharon Beder
American Legislative Exchange Council, battle of ideas, business climate, centre right, clean water, corporate governance, Exxon Valdez, Gary Taubes, global village, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, price mechanism, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban planning
The economists that dominate the Senior Executive Service have their economic rationalism reinforced by fellow economists in key university departments, “in peak business groups, the private sector economists in the finance sector, and with the staff of the economic ‘think-tanks’.”62 Political Influence Conservative think-tanks have played a leading role in the conservative resurgence in English speaking countries. One White House official told The Atlantic that the AEI played a large part in getting Ronald Reagan elected by making conservatism ‘intellectually respectable’. During the Reagan years, the Heritage Foundation provided information to members of Congress and their staffs, and was extremely influential. Most of its policy recommendations were adopted by the Reagan administration, including a proposal to allow strip mining in designated wilderness areas.63 Edwin Feulner, President of the Foundation, received a Presidential Citizen’s Medal from Ronald Reagan for being “a leader of the conservative movement. . .who has helped shape the policy of our Government”. Like the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute was influential during the Reagan years.
They achieved the abolition of the Consumer Protection Agency, the reduction of automobile emissions standards, the deregulation of energy prices and the lowering of corporate taxes.33 In the late 1970s US business was spending a billion dollars each year on propaganda of various sorts “aimed at persuading the American public that their interests were the same as business’s interests”. The result of all this expenditure showed in the polls when the percentage of people who thought that there was too much regulation soared from twenty-two per cent in 1975 to sixty per cent in 1980.34 Ronald Reagan, who was elected President in 1980, owed his success partly to conservative corporate interests, which he served faithfully once in power through a combination of deregulation and political appointments and by directing funding away from agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During the 1980s, under Reagan’s administration, the numbers of trade and professional associations, corporations and interest groups with offices in Washington continued to grow.
They join an international armada of advocates already active in Brussels, including. . . public relations groups, confederations of European trade associations, representatives of US states, German lander and British municipalities, small ‘boutique’ consultancies, in-house representatives of individual US, European, and Japanese companies, European trade unions, agricultural groups, and a growing number of public-interest associations.49 Conservative think-tanks, having been instrumental in bringing Ronald Reagan to power in the US and Margaret Thatcher to power in the UK, have turned their attention to environmental issues and the defeat of environmental regulations. They have sought to cast doubt on the very features of the environmental crisis that had heightened public concerns at the end of the 1980s, including ozone depletion, greenhouse warming and industrial pollution (see Chapters Five and Six).
The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Evgeny Morozov
"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Earth, illegal immigration, invention of radio, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Marshall McLuhan, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Sinatra Doctrine, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Wisdom of Crowds, urban planning, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce
For most attendees at the Bush gathering, the struggle for Internet freedom was quickly emerging as the quintessential issue of the new century, the one that could help them finish the project that Ronald Reagan began in the 1980s and that Bush did his best to advance in the first decade of the new century. It seems that in the enigma of Internet freedom, neoconservatism, once widely believed to be on the wane, has found a new raison d’être—and a new lease on life to go along with it. Few exemplify the complex intellectual connections between Cold War history, neoconservatism, and the brave new world of Internet freedom better than Mark Palmer. Cofounder of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Congress-funded leading democracy-promoting organization in the world, Palmer served as Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to Hungary during the last years of communism. He is thus well-informed about the struggles of the Eastern European dissidents; he is equally knowledgeable about the ways in which the West nurtured them, for a lot of that support passed through the U.S. embassy.
The implications of such a view for the future of democracy promotion are tremendous, for they suggest that large doses of information and communications technology are lethal to the most repressive of regimes. Much of the present excitement about the Internet, particularly the high hopes that are pinned on it in terms of opening up closed societies, stems from such selective and, at times, incorrect readings of history, rewritten to glorify the genius of Ronald Reagan and minimize the role of structural conditions and the inherent contradictions of the Soviet system. It’s for these chiefly historical reasons that the Internet excites so many seasoned and sophisticated decision makers who should really know better. Viewing it through the prism of the Cold War, they endow the Internet with nearly magical qualities; for them, it’s the ultimate cheat sheet that could help the West finally defeat its authoritarian adversaries.
As far as Washington was concerned, having Clinton utter that highly seductive phrase—“a new information curtain”—in the same breath as the Berlin Wall was tantamount to announcing a sequel to the Cold War in 3D. She tapped into the secret desires of many policymakers, who had been pining for an enemy they understood, someone unlike that bunch of bearded and cave-bound men from Waziristan who showed little appreciation for balance-of-power theorizing and seemed to occupy so much of the present agenda. It was Ronald Reagan’s lieutenants who must have felt particularly excited. Having claimed victory in the analog Cold War, they felt well-prepared to enlist—nay, triumph—in its digital equivalent. But it was certainly not the word “Internet” that made Internet freedom such an exciting issue for this group. As such, the quest for destroying the world’s cyber-walls has given this aging generation of cold warriors, increasingly out of touch with a world beset by problems like climate change or the lack of financial regulation, something of a lifeline.
God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge
affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, David Brooks, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, global supply chain, God and Mammon, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, intangible asset, invisible hand, Iridium satellite, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, knowledge economy, liberation theology, low skilled workers, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shock, Peace of Westphalia, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, stem cell, supply-chain management, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus
He even sang with a Pentecostal quartet of balding ministers called the Bald Knobbers.57 When he was defeated for reelection as governor of his home state in 1980, the Bald Knobbers were among the first people to visit him to offer their prayers. As president, Clinton maintained an interest in religion that would have had him branded a dangerous Jesus freak in Europe. A few weeks after moving to the White House he hosted a private dinner for Billy Graham, whom he credited with bringing him to Jesus.58 Unlike many of his predecessors, including Ronald Reagan, he regularly attended church in Washington, DC. Many members of Clinton’s inner circle were devout Christians. Al Gore was a Southern Baptist who studied theology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. George Stephanopoulos studied theology as a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford. Rahm Emanuel (who is now Obama’s chief of staff) was an observant Jew. Mike McCurry was an active Methodist who helped out in his local Sunday school.
These decisions shocked even modernists such as Niebuhr, who complained that Engel “practically suppresses all religion, especially in the public schools.”39 They infuriated Evangelicals who thought that prayers and scripture were the foundation stones of all real education. Billy Graham called the rulings part of a “diabolical scheme” that was “taking God and moral teaching from the schools.”40 “They say God is dead,” Ronald Reagan quipped during his campaign for the governorship of California. “Well, He isn’t. We just can’t talk about Him in the schoolroom.”41 The Court’s decision on school prayer was made all the more unholy to religious Americans by the fact that it was soon followed by a permissive decision on pornography. The very people who had tried to ban the Lord’s Prayer from schools were making it easier to get your hands on dirty books!
Evangelicals were initially reluctant to get involved in the right-to-life movement, because they regarded it as a “Catholic affair.” (The Southern Baptist Convention even passed a resolution supporting certain sorts of legalized abortion in 1974.) But the Moral Majority changed this. Viguerie was a Catholic, Phillips a Jew and Weyrich a Catholic Mennonite. In the budding culture wars the enemy of my enemy was my friend. As for the Republicans, the GOP moved somewhat closer to becoming God’s Own Party. Ronald Reagan told an adoring crowd of Evangelicals in Dallas in 1980, “I know you can’t endorse me but I want you to know that I endorse you.” At the close of his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention he asked his audience to “begin our crusade joined together in a moment of silent prayer.”53 His successor, the preppie George Bush, Sr., also posed as a born-again Evangelical. In office neither man remotely delivered on his promises.
The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism by David Golumbia
3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, crony capitalism, cryptocurrency, currency peg, distributed ledger, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Extropian, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, jimmy wales, litecoin, Marc Andreessen, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, smart contracts, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, Travis Kalanick, WikiLeaks
Their advocates make it sound like, and may often believe that, cyberlibertarian commitments are about limiting power, but this is only true so long as we construe “government” as equivalent with “power,” and “the internet” as being oppositional to power, rather than, at least in significant part, being strongly aligned with it. The most direct way to arrive at this perspective is to accept the definition of government developed by the far right, especially anarcho-capitalist theorists like Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, and echoed by politicians like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. According to this view, “government” is inherently totalitarian and tyrannical; indeed, “government” and “tyranny” are essentially synonyms. Cyberlibertarian doctrine did not develop in a vacuum. It fits into, and at best does nothing to resist, the profound rightward drift evident in so much of contemporary politics. This becomes clear when we examine the explicit political and economic doctrine and practice that is usually called libertarianism in the United States (here meaning the political movement that is explicitly advocated by right-wing partisan institutions such as the Cato Institute, the Heartland Foundation, the Mises Institute, and others, as well as astroturf movements like the Tea Party and political figures like Ron Paul and Rand Paul) and its connections with the less explicit doctrine analysts call neoliberalism.
Rather than a balance of powers and regular elections to curb the inherent possibility of abuse of power, the cypherpunks and crypto-anarchists accept, often without appearing even to realize it, the far-right, libertarian/anarcho-capitalist definition of government that extends from the German social theorist Max Weber (who famously and tendentiously defined the state as a “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory”; see Weber 1919, 33; see also Giddens 1985 for a thorough critique of Weber’s definition) to Ronald Reagan’s inaugural address of 1981, in which he famously claimed that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” In Why Government Is the Problem (1993), Milton Friedman, a key player in the creation of neoliberal economic doctrine, makes the same case at greater length. The clearest articulation of these views is found in the work of arch right-wing thinker and Cato Foundation cofounder Murray Rothbard.
While this matter may have seemed an arcane and technical matter for economists, it ended up underwriting a new form of right-wing practice, where instead of demanding that governments take a “hands-off” policy toward markets as had their predecessors, neoliberals wanted to take control of state power for their own ends: “A primary ambition of the neoliberal project is to redefine the shape and functions of the state, not to destroy it” (Mirowski 2014, 56). When Friedman was hired as a senior adviser to U.S. president Ronald Reagan in 1981, he thus became the chief architect of a program called monetarism, according to which continuous modulation of the money supply controls inflation. Thus Friedman could want “to abolish the Fed” while writing “many pages on how the Fed, if it does exist, should be run” (Doherty 1995). Friedman’s redefinition of inflation started out, like many extreme right-wing political dicta do in our time, as a fringe theory that few took seriously; then it became a backstop against which more mainstream economic theories could rest; then, via the direct exercise of the state power neoliberal theory claims to eschew, it forcibly took over the mainstream when only lukewarm resistance was offered by non-right-wing thinkers.
The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good by Robert H. Frank
carbon footprint, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, clean water, congestion charging, corporate governance, deliberate practice, full employment, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, smart grid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, winner-take-all economy
57 2007 CPI, ranked only twentieth-best on that list, primarily because of perceptions that our campaign finance system had corrupted Congress. In countries with honest and effective governments, the view that promoting good government is a worthwhile investment would not strike most observers as absurd. Yet that does not seem to be the position of antigovernment evangelists in the United States, many of whom view government service with thinly veiled contempt. As Ronald Reagan often remarked, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” The foundation of honest and effective government is a professional civil service that takes pride in its work. Fostering a climate in which government is viewed with contempt inevitably makes it more difficult to recruit talented and dedicated civil servants.
It would have been far better for both nations if each had spent less on arms and more on schools, housing, hospitals, roads, and other nonmilitary goods. The standard solution is a military arms control agreement, under which both sides pledge to reduce their spending on armaments. Lack of trust is perhaps the biggest barrier to reaching such agreements, and successful ones have almost always granted liberal inspection rights to both sides. As Ronald Reagan liked to say, “Trust, but verify.” 64 PUTTING THE POSITIONAL CONSUMPTION BEAST ON A DIET 65 So far, so good. But this account leaves an important question unanswered. What conditions must be met, exactly, for a military arms race to occur? If someone says there is too much of something, the unspoken implication is that there must be too little of something else. In the military arms race, there are too many bombs and not enough domestic consumption goods.
But that doesn’t mean that arms control agreements themselves are always uncontroversial. For example, it may be perfectly rational for a nation’s leaders to refuse to participate in such an agreement if they have no practical way to prevent the opposing side from cheating. It may also be rational to refuse to sign an arms control agreement if leaders believe an arms race would play out to their own side’s advantage. Ronald Reagan, for example, was said to have embraced the development of strategic missile defense systems in the 1980s in part because he believed that pressuring the USSR to follow suit would hasten the economic collapse of America’s principal rival. In sum, there’s all but universal agreement that military arms races between closely matched rivals are wasteful, and that all parties can gain from collective agreements to limit spending on armaments.
The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson
Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Doomsday Clock, El Camino Real, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, music of the spheres, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, Project Plowshare, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, éminence grise
Trabacchi, chief physicist of the Health Department, who shared his excellent collection of instruments and materials with untoward generosity, earning him the Fermi-engineered nickname Divine Providence. Trabacchi was especially providential when he loaned Fermi the radon-gas effluence of a gram of radium, which was at the time worth around $34,000. Hans Bethe (Beta), who won a Nobel for his fusion theory on the origin of starlight and who would become the chief of the Los Alamos theory group (inadvertently thrusting Edward Teller into a career combining Dr. Strangelove with Ronald Reagan), spent most of 1931 with the Fermi team: Fermi worked in the Institute of Physics, which was on a small hill in the middle of Rome, surrounded by a sea of traffic but very quiet on that little hill. There were trees, ponds, a nice garden, a fountain—really quite an oasis in the hectic traffic of Rome. Fermi was twenty-nine years old when I got there. He was a full professor since he published Fermi’s Statistics at the age of twenty-five.
Yet, a colony of white mice seem to be developing a resistance to radiation that is passed on to their descendants, which could be of great benefit to humans. And from inside the still-burning Reactor #4 itself, one robot emerged covered in a black goo—radiographic fungus, growing ecstatically on the unit’s very walls. 15 Hitting a Bullet with a Bullet AFTER his speeches as a presidential candidate repudiated the live-and-let-live détente of Nixon, Ford, and Carter in favor of hawkish Cold Warrior aggression, Ronald Reagan’s ascension to the Oval Office in 1981 alarmed the Kremlin. Then in the first days of his administration, CIA director William Casey reprised LeMay’s bear-baiting by throwing bombers over the pole into Soviet airspace until Russian radar took notice. Similarly, NATO fighter jets crossed over the empire’s Eurasian border every week, performed a variety of erratic maneuvers, and then vanished . . . until starting up all over again.
These “war games” were so realistic that they included the drafting of a speech for Queen Elizabeth to read to the nation as atomic missiles fell on England’s mountain green: “I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father’s inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939. Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me. We all know that the dangers facing us today are greater by far than at any time in our long history. The enemy is not the soldier with his rifle nor even the airman prowling the skies above our cities and towns but the deadly power of abused technology.” In his diaries, Ronald Reagan’s sole mention of feeling sad occurs on October 10, 1983, after watching a preview of a TV movie on nuclear horror, The Day After: “It’s powerfully done, all $7 mil. worth. It’s very effective and left me greatly depressed. So far they haven’t sold any of the 25 spot ads scheduled & I can see why. . . . My own reaction was one of our having to do all we can to have a deterrent & to see there is never a nuclear war.”
The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall by Mary Elise Sarotte
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, Deng Xiaoping, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, hindsight bias, Mikhail Gorbachev, open borders, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, urban decay, éminence grise
The opening of the Wall was not the result of a decision by political leaders in East Berlin, even though a number of them would later claim otherwise, or of an agreement with the government of West Germany in Bonn. The opening was not the result of a plan by the four powers that still held ultimate legal authority in divided Berlin: the United States, the United Kingdom, and France in the West, and the Soviet Union in the East. The opening was not the result of any specific agreement between the former US president, Ronald Reagan, and the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. The opening that night was simply not planned. Why, then, was it happening? Enormous crowds were surging toward both the eastern and western sides of the Wall. The East German regime struggled to maintain order not only at the Brandenburg Gate but also at the Wall’s border crossings—for there was no crossing at the gate itself—with armed troops, physical barriers, and other means.
The network broadcast Stahl saying to Bush, “You don’t seem elated and I’m wondering if you’re thinking of the problems.” Bush agreed: “I’m not an emotional kind of guy.” By coincidence, that day the president had received advance word from journalist Tim Russert that NBC would shortly be airing the results of a poll on presidential popularity. This poll showed that, as of November 1989, Bush was enjoying higher approval ratings than his predecessor, Ronald Reagan. It must have seemed to Bush like validation for his more cautious approach to foreign policy.72 Perhaps the world leader put in the most awkward position by Schabowski’s surprising announcement, however, was Helmut Kohl. Had anyone in Bonn known the significance of what was happening in East Berlin, Kohl and the bulk of chancellery officials would not have departed for Poland on November 9 for a major, extended visit to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the opening months of the Second World War.
It was not only contemporaries who largely forgot the individuals directly involved in that opening. Later scholars accepted at face value Krenz’s claim that he had been responsible for it.34 In this narrative, East Germans are passive recipients of a gift handed to them from their leaders on high. A variant of this is the idea that, in some practical way, a detailed road map for the Wall’s opening emerged after President Ronald Reagan’s 1987 speech in Berlin, in which he demanded that Mikhail Gorbachev “tear down this wall.”35 And academics who do acknowledge the chaotic nature of the border-opening process have nevertheless started to discount it and the peaceful revolution of 1989. According to scholars in this camp, if the Leipzig ring road had not opened on October 9 or the Wall had not fallen on November 9, these events would have happened the next day, or the next day, or soon after that.
What Would the Great Economists Do?: How Twelve Brilliant Minds Would Solve Today's Biggest Problems by Linda Yueh
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, lateral thinking, life extension, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, mittelstand, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working-age population
XXI: Activities 1931–1939: World Crises and Policies in Britain and America, p. 390. 19. John Maynard Keynes, 1937, ‘The General Theory of Employment’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 51(2), pp. 209–23. 20. Ibid., pp. 215–16. 21. Ibid., p. 216. 22. Skidelsky, Keynes: The Return of the Master, p. 107. 23. Ronald Reagan, 1986, ‘Remarks to State Chairpersons of the National White House Conference on Small Business’, 15 August; www.reaganlibrary.archives.gov/archives/speeches/1986/081586e.html 24. Ronald Reagan, 1986, ‘The President’s News Conference’, 12 August; www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=37733 25. Graeme Chamberlin and Linda Yueh, 2006, Macroeconomics, London: Cengage, ch. 4. 26. Keynes, General Theory, p. 373. 27. Ibid., p. 322. 28. Ibid., pp. 164, 378. 29. Ibid., pp. 383–4. 30.
That era saw the rise of New Classicists and monetarists like Milton Friedman, whose theories explained stagflation and propelled him onto the stage. Keynes’s ideas fell out of favour. There is a parallel in that Keynes’s ideas were in vogue during the 1930s because they could explain the pressing issue of the time, which was unemployment. By 1980, laissez-faire had become the dominant theory in the US with the election of President Ronald Reagan. When he was the Republican candidate for the presidency against the incumbent Democrat, Jimmy Carter, he quipped: ‘Recession is when your neighbour loses his job. Depression is when you lose your job. Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his job.’ Reagan won. Still, that decade also saw the emergence of the New Keynesians, such as Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, because unemployment was once again an issue in the aftermath of the economic revolutions that took place under both Reagan and Callaghan’s Tory successor, Margaret Thatcher.
Investment and low interest rates This question is being asked in both Europe and the US. In America, there is a push for more infrastructure investment, although the Republicans in Congress remain concerned about adding to the fiscal deficit. Of course, Republicans traditionally follow a non-interventionist philosophy, and are suspicious about the role of government in both investment and the economy in general. As former Republican President Ronald Reagan observed of government intervention: ‘government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it doesn’t move, subsidize it,’23 and remarked on a separate occasion, ‘The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.’24 This explains why the US plan is counting on private investors to help finance its projects.
The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today by Linda Yueh
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, lateral thinking, life extension, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, mittelstand, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working-age population
XXI: Activities 1931–1939: World Crises and Policies in Britain and America, p. 390. 19. John Maynard Keynes, 1937, ‘The General Theory of Employment’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 51(2), pp. 209–23. 20. Ibid., pp. 215–16. 21. Ibid., p. 216. 22. Skidelsky, Keynes: The Return of the Master, p. 107. 23. Ronald Reagan, 1986, ‘Remarks to State Chairpersons of the National White House Conference on Small Business’, 15 August; www.reaganlibrary.gov/sites/default/files/archives/speeches/1986/081586e.htm 24. Ronald Reagan, 1986, ‘The President’s News Conference’, 12 August; www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=37733 25. Graeme Chamberlin and Linda Yueh, 2006, Macroeconomics, London: Cengage, ch. 4. 26. Keynes, General Theory, p. 373. 27. Ibid., p. 322. 28. Ibid., pp. 164, 378. 29. Ibid., pp. 383–4. 30. Keynes, Essays in Persuasion, p. 366. 31.
That era saw the rise of New Classicists and monetarists like Milton Friedman, whose theories explained stagflation and propelled him onto the stage. Keynes’s ideas fell out of favour. There is a parallel in that Keynes’s ideas were in vogue during the 1930s because they could explain the pressing issue of the time, which was unemployment. By 1980, laissez-faire had become the dominant theory in the US with the election of President Ronald Reagan. When he was the Republican candidate for the presidency against the incumbent Democrat, Jimmy Carter, he quipped: ‘Recession is when your neighbour loses his job. Depression is when you lose your job. Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his job.’ Reagan won. Still, that decade also saw the emergence of the New Keynesians, such as Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, because unemployment was once again an issue in the aftermath of the economic revolutions that took place under both Reagan and Callaghan’s Tory successor, Margaret Thatcher.
Investment and low interest rates This question is being asked in both Europe and the US. In America, there is a push for more infrastructure investment, although the Republicans in Congress remain concerned about adding to the fiscal deficit. Of course, Republicans traditionally follow a non-interventionist philosophy, and are suspicious about the role of government in both investment and the economy in general. As former Republican President Ronald Reagan observed of government intervention: ‘government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it doesn’t move, subsidize it,’23 and remarked on a separate occasion, ‘The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.’24 This explains why the US plan is counting on private investors to help finance its projects.
Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens by Nicholas Shaxson
Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, call centre, capital controls, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land value tax, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, money market fund, New Journalism, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, old-boy network, out of africa, passive income, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transfer pricing, Washington Consensus
The harm that stems from all this is incalculable. Yet this is not a book about the financial crisis. It is about something older and deeper. Deregulation, freer flows of capital, and lower taxes since the 1970s—most people think that these globalizing changes have resulted primarily from grand ideological shifts and deliberate policy choices ushered in by such leaders as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Ideology and leaders matter, but few have noticed this other thing: the role of the secrecy jurisdictions in all of this—the silent warriors of globalization that have been acting as berserkers in the global economy, forcing other nations to engage in the competitive race to the bottom, and in the process cutting swaths through the tax systems and regulations of nation states, rich and poor, whether they like it or not.
U.S. policymakers wanted these deep markets but did not want to give up their taxes and controls. They thought, let’s have our cake and eat it, by preserving the rules and constraints at home while permitting this unregulated dollar market to flourish overseas. What they had not appreciated enough was the extent to which this offshore market would rebound back into the United States, with malign effects. By the time Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan came to power in 1979 and 1981, the political classes in Britain and the United States were losing faith in manufacturing and genuflecting toward finance. Wall Street and the City of London were at the forefront of a global trend of financialization: the reengineering of manufacturing firms as highly leveraged investment vehicles and, soon, the packaging of mortgages into risky asset backed securities for offloading into global markets.
Companies focused especially on the London-centered Eurodollar market but also on Panama, then under a right-wing strongman who venerated Adolf Hitler, and on the Bahamas, where Meyer Lansky had the politicians in his pocket. In the United States, Lansky had close links to the Mob lawyer Sidney Korshak, a true American Mafia kingmaker who in turn helped build up the career of several Hollywood actors, including Ronald Reagan. Some large U.S. corporations even opened their own offshore banks. As this happened, the interests of big-time criminals, the intelligence services, wealthy Americans, and U.S. corporations began to converge ever more strongly offshore. The system was working two transformations simultaneously: helping criminal enterprises imitate legitimate businesses, and encouraging legitimate businesses to behave more like criminal enterprises.
The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal by David E. Hoffman
back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, IFF: identification friend or foe, Mikhail Gorbachev, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier
Poindexter, then the White House national security adviser, told Reagan in a cover note for the briefing, “I would invite your attention particularly to the need to ensure that future cases are referred to the FBI on a timely basis for investigation.” John M. Poindexter, “Memo to the President,” Oct. 1, 1986, contained in Regan files, Ronald Reagan Presidential Libruary. Also see Wise, Spy Who Got Away, 87–93. 5. “USSR” folder, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Oct. 2, 1986, box 7, Regan files, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. 6. Andrew Rosenthal, “Soviet Linked with Howard Case Executed for Treason,” Associated Press, Oct. 22, 1986. The Tass announcement did not say when. 7. Libin, “Detained with Evidence,” and a confidential source close to the family. The data on the Kuzmin repressions, prepared by Natasha, are contained at the archive of Memorial International, Moscow. 8.
Gerber suggested that they simply ask Tolkachev at the next meeting whether he could get his hands on any more electronics and added, “We believe it is of major importance to ensure that [Tolkachev] does nothing to harm his security.”5 On Monday, December 8, 1980, at 8:25 p.m., Rolph went to see Tolkachev in a wooded park at the Moscow Zoo, located near Tolkachev’s apartment building. Tolkachev often passed the zoo while walking to work. They had planned the meeting months earlier, and Rolph wanted to stick to the schedule, even though superpower hostility seemed to be ratcheting up again. On November 4, Ronald Reagan had been elected fortieth president of the United States. Then, in early December, there had been a scare over a possible Soviet invasion of Poland. In the end, Soviet troops didn’t cross the border, but the Moscow station was braced for heavy KGB surveillance. Rolph was determined to go ahead with the meeting. “Just get it right on the street,” Gerber told Rolph. That night, the park seemed empty.
I also received valuable advice and help from Robert Berls, Benjamin Weiser, Fritz Ermarth, Charles Battaglia, Jerrold Schecter, Robert Monroe, Peter Earnest, George Little, Louis Denes, Matthew Aid, Joshua Pollack, and Jason Saltoun-Ebin. Cathy Cox of the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base fulfilled requests professionally and promptly. I am grateful for access to the collections of the National Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; the National Archives at College Park, Maryland; the U.S. Naval Institute Oral History Program, Annapolis, Maryland; the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California; and the Russian State Archive of the Economy, Moscow. Glenn Frankel has been a mentor on writing for years and once again gave me perceptive and valuable comments on the manuscript. I am also grateful to Svetlana Savranskaya for comments on a draft and sharing her knowledge about how to pry Cold War secrets out of the world’s archives. For the second time in a decade, the wise and patient editing of Kris Puopolo steered me from a hazy vision and a box full of loose documents to a finished narrative, and I am deeply appreciative.
The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA's Visionary Leader George M. Low by Richard Jurek
additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, fudge factor, John Conway, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, operation paperclip, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Stewart Brand, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce
Mark Low, email correspondence with the author, 21 September 2016. 73. George Abbey, interview by the author, 20 July 2017. 74. Richard A. D’Errico, “The Legacy of George Low,” Albany Business Review, 1 December 2003. 75. John Noble Wilford, “George M. Low Is Dead at 58; Headed Apollo Space Project,” New York Times, 18 July 1984. 76. Ronald Reagan, “Remarks at White House Ceremony Marking the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing,” 20 July 1984, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/research/speeches/72084d. 77. 130 Cong. Rec. S20,496–97 (daily ed. 23 July 1984) (statement of Senator Moynihan). Epilogue 1. Leonard David, “Mars Rovers Are in Good Shape for Winter,” NBCNews.com, last updated April 25, 2006, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/12480225/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/mars-rovers-are-good-shape-winter/#.XLXSuOhKiHt. 2.
George Low, the guiding light behind the Apollo program . . . began his career as a research scientist and progressed to key leadership positions in the manned spaceflight program. . . . He continued his lifelong efforts to build a better tomorrow while serving as president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. We’re grateful for what George Low has done and the ideas he stood for, and we’ll miss him very much. —President Ronald Reagan, 20 July 1984 The fundamental operating unit in George Low’s NASA experience has always been the team, whether he was a member, contributor, or leader. But without him, those extraordinary teams would have lacked the final sparks of ingenuity, those extra quanta of strength that finally meant success. —James C. Fletcher, NASA administrator George Low knew as much about technology and about humanity as any man I ever met.
Continued contradictory policy and continued suboptimization for each of our special interests can only cause us to fail in all of our objectives.54 While Low was serving as RPI president, the nation also turned to him for important national committee work. During the Jimmy Carter administration, for example, he was called on to review the nation’s general aviation safety procedures. During President-elect Ronald Reagan’s transition period, Low was called on to serve as chairman of the NASA transition team, making broad recommendations for the future president’s space policy. A committed public servant, Low always accepted the call, irrespective of the office holder’s political party affiliation. If he could help—especially in areas that concerned aeronautics, space, or education—Low was all in. On 21 December 1979 the National Research Council, on behalf of the transportation secretary, tapped him to chair a thirteen-person committee to investigate and evaluate the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations and certification process for aircraft design, production, and maintenance, in the shadow of the tragic crash of a DC-10 jet during takeoff in Chicago on 25 May 1979.55 Due to pylon-mount damage, the left engine separated from the plane’s wing during takeoff, causing the plan to crash, killing 271 people.
The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics by John B. Judis
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, capital controls, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, mass immigration, means of production, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, Winter of Discontent
In his book on American populism, The Populist Persuasion, historian Michael Kazin gets part of this logic. Populism, he writes, is “a language whose speakers conceive of ordinary people as a noble assemblage not bounded narrowly by class; view their elite opponents as self-serving and undemocratic; and seek to mobilize the former against the latter.” That’s a good start. It doesn’t describe someone like Ronald Reagan or Vladimir Putin, both of whom have sometimes been called “populist,” but it does describe the logic of the parties, movements, and candidates from America’s People’s Party of 1892 to Marine Le Pen’s National Front of 2016. I would, however, take Kazin’s characterization one step further and distinguish between leftwing populists like Sanders or Podemos’s Pablo Iglesias and rightwing populists like Trump and the National Front’s Le Pen.
But there are times, when, in the face of dramatic changes in the society and economy or in America’s place in the world, voters have suddenly become responsive to politicians or movements that raise issues that major parties have either downplayed or ignored. There are two kinds of such events. The first are what political scientists call realigning elections. In these, a party or a presidential candidate’s challenge to the prevailing worldview causes an upheaval that reorders the existing coalitions and leads to a new majority party. Franklin Roosevelt’s campaigns in 1932 and, even more so, 1936 did this, and so did Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1980. Such elections are rare. They are usually precipitated by economic depression or war, and by a succession of political outbursts that challenge, but do not replace, the prevailing worldview. In American politics, these outbursts often take the form of populist candidacies and movements. These catalytic populists have defined politics in “us vs. them” terms—as struggles of the people against the establishment based on issues and demands that the latter had been sidestepping.
The key contention that sustained the neoliberal agenda was that the older New Deal liberalism, by focusing on raising consumer demand and reducing inequality, would stifle growth and reduce Americans’ standard of living. By contrast, the neoliberal and supply-side agenda, while not directly confronting economic inequality, promised to spur economic growth, which would benefit all Americans. As Ronald Reagan, borrowing from John Kennedy, put it in the 1980 campaign, “a rising tide will lift all boats.” Similar kinds of arguments would be made in Europe by the “Third Way” centrists, who were partially inspired by Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But even by the late 1980s, reality on the ground appeared to contradict these claims of widespread prosperity. In the 1980s, growth and employment lagged behind that of previous decades.
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Bakken shale, bank run, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, centre right, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, collective bargaining, corporate raider, crony capitalism, David Brooks, desegregation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, energy security, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Gilder, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, job automation, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Mont Pelerin Society, More Guns, Less Crime, Nate Silver, New Journalism, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Nader, Renaissance Technologies, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Chicago School, the scientific method, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, War on Poverty, working poor
They challenged the widely accepted post–World War II consensus that an activist government was a force for public good. Instead, they argued for “limited government,” drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry, particularly in the environmental arena. They said they were driven by principle, but their positions dovetailed seamlessly with their personal financial interests. By Ronald Reagan’s presidency, their views had begun to gain more traction. For the most part, they were still seen as defining the extreme edge of the right wing, but both the Republican Party and much of the country were trending their way. Conventional wisdom often attributed the rightward march to a public backlash against liberal spending programs. But an additional explanation, less examined, was the impact of this small circle of billionaire donors.
He became not just the group’s financial angel but also the author of its plank on energy policy, which called for the abolition of all government controls. The brothers took an even more audacious step into electoral politics in 1979, when Charles, who preferred to operate behind the scenes, persuaded David, then thirty-nine, to run for public office. The brothers were by then backing the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, Ed Clark, who was running against Ronald Reagan from the right. They opposed all limits on campaign donations, so they found a legal way around them. They contrived to make David the vice presidential running mate, and thus according to campaign-finance law he could lavish as much of his personal fortune as he wished on the campaign rather than being limited by the $1,000 donation cap. “David Koch ran in ’80 to go against the campaign-finance rules.
All of which calls into question how in 1990 the Scaife Foundation could justify pressing the Heritage Foundation, of which it was the largest funder, to focus more on conservative social and moral issues and in particular family values. Heritage’s president, Ed Feulner, quickly complied with his donor’s request, hiring William J. Bennett. Soon after, Bennett, an outspoken social conservative who had been the secretary of education under Ronald Reagan and the director of National Drug Control Policy under George H. W. Bush, was appointed Heritage’s new distinguished fellow in cultural policy studies. Lee Edwards, who wrote Heritage’s official history, confirms that the Scaife Foundation “had particularly in mind the disintegration of the family, an issue which became a major Heritage concern.” Bennett also served as a Scaife Foundation director.
The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs, and Incomes by Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, David Ashton
active measures, affirmative action, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, glass ceiling, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market design, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, post-industrial society, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, working poor, zero-sum game
Keynes rejected this idea and argued that governments could intervene effectively in market economies to solve the problem of recession, or what one of his contemporaries called the “gales of creative destruction.”3 Thus, when demand for goods slackened and workers were threatened with unemployment, governments could act to keep the wheels of industry turning. Keynes also endorsed the idea of a welfare state to protect people from the chronic insecurities that characterize the boom-and-bust nature of capitalist development. By the 1980s, neoliberal ideas had regained popularity. Under Ronald Reagan in America and Margaret Thatcher in Britain, there was a return to preaching the virtues of free trade, self-interest, and the power of the market to deliver prosperity and justice. Keynes’s ideas were renounced as a recipe for big government and a growing underclass living off state handouts. Hence, the tenets of neoliberalism encouraged people to believe that welfare support introduced in the 1950s and 1960s was misguided because it rewarded failure and feckless behavior, whereas free markets offered a fair and efﬁcient system where talent and hard work would be appropriately rewarded.
As President Barack Obama reafﬁrmed, “In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity, it is a pre-requisite.”23 Naked Capitalism The promise of a hi-tech future of highly paid knowledge workers was pivotal to the creation of a neoliberal opportunity bargain, which left individuals responsible for their employability through educational achievement and commitment to career development. Given that the knowledge economy now offered high-skill, high-wage jobs to those willing to invest in their human capital, the role of the state could be limited to improving educational standards, expanding access to higher education, and creating ﬂexible job markets that reward talent, ambition, and enterprise. The False Promise 23 Neoliberal reforms introduced by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s—subsequently pursued by governments of different political persuasion on both sides of the Atlantic—stripped away much of the safety net that offered security to individuals and families through the welfare state that characterized midcentury America and Europe. The pillars of prosperity, security, and opportunity embedded in the relationships among employers, trade unions, and the state were torn down in the belief that state control over the economy and the rigid regulation of people’s lives were no longer appropriate or necessary in an age of consumer freedom, free trade, and market individualism.
Hayek, Reagan and Thatcher claimed that Western societies had run into trouble in the 1970s because of what was seen as unwarranted interference by the state.24 Inﬂation, high unemployment, economic recession, and urban unrest were all believed to stem from the legacy of Keynesian economics and an ideology that promoted economic redistribution, equality of opportunity, and welfare rights for all. In its place, a society would be built where individuals were encouraged to pursue their self-interest and where greed was treated as a virtue in the vain hope that the hidden hand of the market would miraculously beneﬁt all through the trickle down of resources from the winners to the losers. “What I want to see above all,” Ronald Reagan stated, “is that this remains a country where someone can always get rich.” But Reagan was adamant that this could only be guaranteed by getting the state off the backs of the people, for “if the reins of government were removed, business would boom, spreading prosperity to all the people.”25 The neoliberal opportunity bargain involved changing the incentive structures for individuals and the business community.
With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald
Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Clive Stafford Smith, collateralized debt obligation, Corrections Corporation of America, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Brooks, deskilling, financial deregulation, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, Julian Assange, mandatory minimum, nuremberg principles, Ponzi scheme, Project for a New American Century, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, too big to fail, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks
Needless to say, the empathy Ford expressed for Nixon is rarely invoked as a means of arguing for leniency, let alone immunity, for ordinary Americans. That’s because Ford’s call for “empathy” is merely disguised aristocratic privilege. The Precedent Exploited The precedent established by the Nixon pardon would be exploited little more than a decade later, when another group of high-level offenders—the Iran-Contra criminals of the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations—were seeking immunity from prosecution. Sure enough, they got it: White House officials who clearly and knowingly broke the law, and then deliberately lied to Congress about what they had done (also a felony), were systematically protected from any consequences for their crimes. The Iran-Contra scandal erupted in 1986, when it was revealed that the Reagan administration had sold arms—anti-tank and antiaircraft missiles—to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime in Iran.
The Third Geneva Convention, which was enacted in the wake of severe detainee abuse during World War II, obliges each participating country to “search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and…bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.” Some have disputed the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to “war on terror” detainees, on the ground that they are not actually prisoners of war. But even if the Geneva Conventions do not apply, there is no such dispute about the Convention Against Torture, a treaty negotiated and signed by President Ronald Reagan, and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1994. Article 4 of that treaty requires each country to “ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law,” and Article 5 dictates that “each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction.”
Felt was most famous for having been Bob Woodward’s “Deep Throat” source in the Watergate investigation, but Marcus focused on a different part of his life: the 1980 criminal trial in which Felt was convicted of having ordered illegal, warrantless searches of the homes of 1960s radicals and their friends and relatives. Less than twenty-four hours after Felt’s 1980 conviction, he (along with an FBI codefendant) was pardoned by Ronald Reagan. Reagan justified his pardon with these following words, obviously relevant to the contemporary debate about possible prosecution of Bush officials. [The men’s convictions] grew out of their good-faith belief that their actions were necessary to preserve the security interests of our country. The record demonstrates that they acted not with criminal intent, but in the belief that they had grants of authority reaching to the highest levels of government.
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, liberal world order, liberation theology, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, mega-rich, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, oil shock, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transfer pricing, urban sprawl, World Values Survey
Although greater competition from manufactured imports and more foreign ownership could … help the Korean economy, Koreans and others saw this … as an abuse of IMF power to force Korea at a time of weakness to accept trade and investment policies it had previously rejected’.28 This was said not by some anti-capitalist anarchist but by Martin Feldstein, the conservative Harvard economist who was the key economic advisor to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The IMF-World Bank mission creep, combined with the abuse of conditionalities by the Bad Samaritan nations, is particularly unacceptable when the policies of the Bretton Woods Institutions have produced slower growth, more unequal income distribution and greater economic instability in most developing countries, as I pointed out earlier in this chapter. How on earth can the IMF and the World Bank persist for so long in pursuing the wrong policies that produce such poor outcomes?
As I discussed in the earlier chapters, the rich countries had been quite willing to let poor countries use more protection and subsidies until the late 1970s. However, this began to change in the 1980s. The change was most palpable in the US, whose enlightened approach to international trade with economically lesser nations rapidly gave way to a system similar to 19th-century British ‘free trade imperialism’. This new direction was clearly expressed by the then US president Ronald Reagan in 1986, as the Uruguay Round of GATT talks was starting, when he called for ‘new and more liberal agreements with our trading partners – agreement under which they would fully open their markets and treat American products as they treat their own’.10 Such agreement was realized through the Uruguay Round of GATT trade talks, which started in the Uruguayan city of Punta del Este in 1986 and was concluded in the Moroccan city of Marrakech in 1994.
As one foreign banker reportedly told the Wall Street Journal in the middle of the 1980s Third World debt crisis, ‘[w]e foreign bankers are for the free market when we’re out to make a buck and believe in the state when we are about to lose a buck’.4 Indeed, many state bail-outs of large private sector firms have been made by avowedly free-market governments. In the late 1970s, the bankrupt Swedish shipbuilding industry was rescued through nationalization by the country’s first right-wing government in 44 years, despite the fact that it had come to power with a pledge to reduce the size of the state. In the early 1980s, the troubled US car maker Chrysler was rescued by the Republican administration under Ronald Reagan, which was in the vanguard of neo-liberal market reforms at the time. Faced with the financial crisis in 1982, following its premature and poorly designed financial liberalization, the Chilean government rescued the entire banking sector with public money. This was General Pinochet’s government, which had seized power in a bloody coup in the name of defending the free market and private ownership.
Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller
"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, business cycle, buy and hold, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, George Santayana, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, market clearing, mental accounting, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Urbanism, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, working-age population, Y2K, Yom Kippur War
We might view the United States as having undergone six such major shifts: at the time of the Revolution, after the elections of Andrew Jackson and later of Abraham Lincoln, at the end of Reconstruction, during the Great Depression, and after the election of Ronald Reagan. Historians may disagree with us on the details of these changes of story, but since much of history is about such shifts, they are unlikely to argue with us about their existence. Nor are they likely to disagree with us about the most recent such shift, coinciding with the election of Ronald Reagan. At that time the explanation of how the economy worked turned to the conservative image with which we began this book, the “invisible hand.” This shift was, of course, not just an American phenomenon. Britain had elected Margaret Thatcher eighteen months earlier.
The stories people tell are also stories about how the economy behaves. Indeed, it is in this last category, stories, where Animal Spirits itself fits in, because the goal of the book is to give its own story about how the economy behaves. Its intent is to tell a more accurate story than the dominant one of the past thirty years or so, ever since the free market revolution that swept the world, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Deng Xiaoping, Manmohan Singh, Mikhail Gorbachev, Brian Mulroney, Bertie Ahern, Carlos Salinas de Gotari, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Carlos Menem, and others. These stories, embellished by oft told vignettes of newly successful people, and in their mostly justified enthusiasm for expanded free markets, led to too much economic tolerance. Underlying this revolution is the powerful principle of the “invisible hand”—that market forces should be the fundamental framework of resource allocation.
The belief that government should not interfere with people in pursuit of their own self-interest has influenced national policies across the globe. In England it took the form of Thatcherism. In America it took the form of Reaganism. And from these two Anglo-Saxon countries it has spread. This permissive-parent view of the role of government replaced the Keynesian happy home. Now, three decades after the elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, we see the troubles it can spawn. No limits were set to the excesses of Wall Street. It got wildly drunk. And now the world must face the consequences. It has been a long time since we discovered how it was possible for a government to offset the rational and irrational shocks that occur to capitalist economies. But as Keynes’ legacy and the role of government have been challenged, the system of safeguards developed from the experience of the Great Depression has been eroded.
Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower by William Blum
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, collective bargaining, Columbine, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, union organizing
I love the First Amendment."15 It's interesting to note that when Madeleine Albright was heckled in Columbus, Ohio in February 1998, while defending the administration's Iraq policy, she yelled: "We are the greatest country in the world!" Patriotism is indeed the last refuge of a scoundrel, though Gore's and Albright's words don't quite have the ring of "Deutschland über alles" or "Rule Britannia". In 1985, Ronald Reagan, demonstrating the preeminent intellect for which he was esteemed, tried to show how totalitarian the Soviet Union was by declaring: "I'm no linguist, but I've been told that in the Russian language there isn't even a word for 'freedom'."16 In light of the above cast of characters and their declarations, can we ask if there's a word in American English for "embarrassment"? No, it is not simply that power corrupts and dehumanizes.
In other words, whatever the diplomats and policymakers at the time thought they were doing, the Cold War skeptics have been vindicated—it was not about containing an evil, expansionist communism after all; it was about American imperialism, with "communist" merely the name given to those who stood in its way. In sum total, all these post-Cold War non-changes engender a scenario out of the 1950s and 1960s. And the 1970s and 1980s. John Foster Dulles lives! Has Ronald Reagan been faking illness as he lurks behind the curtain of Oz? Why has all this continued into the 21st century? American foreign-policy makers are exquisitely attuned to the rise of a government, or a movement that might take power, that will not lie down and happily become an American client state, that will not look upon the free market or the privatization of the world known as "globalization" as the summum bonum, that will not change its laws to favor foreign investment, that will not be unconcerned about the effects of foreign investment upon the welfare of its own people, that will not produce primarily for export, that will not allow asbestos, banned pesticides and other products restricted in the developed world to be dumped onto their people, that will not easily tolerate the International Monetary Fund or the World Trade Organization inflicting a scorched-earth policy upon the country's social services or standard of living, that will not allow an American or NATO military installation upon its soil...To the highly-sensitive nostrils of Washington foreign-policy veterans, Yugoslavia smelled a bit too much like one of these governments.
They are believed to have also been behind the attempted assassination of President Hosni Mubarak while he was visiting Ethiopia.17 In August 1994, three "Afghans" robbed a tourist hotel in Morocco, killing tourists in an effort to destabilize Morocco's vital tourism industry.18 Throughout much of the 1990s, Kashmiris and other nationals trained in Afghanistan have been fighting against India in the mountains of Kashmir, waging "holy war" for secession from New Delhi.19 Since Algeria's cancellation of the 1992 election, Algerian veterans of the Afghanistan conflict have played a key role in the rise of the Armed Islamic Group, responsible for many thousands of gory murders in their crusade for an Islamic state.20 In Bosnia, beginning in 1992, Afghans fought ferociously alongside the predominantly Muslim Bosnian army for two years, attacking Serbian positions to liberate Muslim villages.21 One of those who confessed to the November 1995 bombing in Saudi Arabia, referred to above, said that he had fought with the Bosnian Muslims.22 In a 1999 interview, Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi told a London-based Arabic newspaper that his government had crushed an Islamic militant movement of "Afghans". "They returned desperate and destructive," he said, "and adopted killing and explosives as their profession, according to the training they received from the American intelligence."23 And there has been more of the same in other places, from the men Ronald Reagan fancied as "freedom fighters". "This is an insane instance of the chickens coming home to roost," said a US diplomat in Pakistan in 1996. "You can't plug billions of dollars into an anti-Communist jihad, accept participation from all over the world and ignore the consequences. But we did. Our objectives weren't peace and grooviness in Afghanistan. Our objective was killing Commies and getting the Russians out."24 CHAPTER 3 : Assassinations I don't want to wipe out everyone...Just my enemies.
Bad Samaritans: The Guilty Secrets of Rich Nations and the Threat to Global Prosperity by Ha-Joon Chang
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, liberal world order, liberation theology, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, mega-rich, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, oil shock, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transfer pricing, urban sprawl, World Values Survey
Although greater competition from manufactured imports and more foreign ownership could … help the Korean economy, Koreans and others saw this … as an abuse of IMF power to force Korea at a time of weakness to accept trade and investment policies it had previously rejected’.28 This was said not by some anti-capitalist anarchist but by Martin Feldstein, the conservative Harvard economist who was the key economic advisor to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The IMF-World Bank mission creep, combined with the abuse of conditionalities by the Bad Samaritan nations, is particularly unacceptable when the policies of the Bretton Woods Institutions have produced slower growth, more unequal income distribution and greater economic instability in most developing countries, as I pointed out earlier in this chapter. But how on earth can the IMF and the World Bank persist for so long in pursuing the wrong policies that produce such poor outcomes?
As I discussed in the earlier chapters, the rich countries had been quite willing to let poor countries use more protection and subsidies until the late 1970s. However, this began to change in the 1980s. The change was most palpable in the US, whose enlightened approach to international trade with economically lesser nations rapidly gave way to a system similar to 19th-century British ‘free trade imperialism’. This new direction was clearly expressed by the then US president Ronald Reagan in 1986, as the Uruguay Round of GATT talks was starting, when he called for ‘new and more liberal agreements with our trading partners – agreement under which they would fully open their markets and treat American products as they treat their own’.10 Such agreement was realized through the Uruguay Round of GATT trade talks, which started in the Uruguayan city of Punta del Este in 1986 and was concluded in the Moroccan city of Marrakech in 1994.
As one foreign banker reportedly told the Wall Street Journal in the middle of the 1980s Third World debt crisis, ‘[w]e foreign bankers are for the free market when we’re out to make a buck and believe in the state when we are about to lose a buck’.4 Indeed, many state bail-outs of large private sector firms have been made by avowedly free-market governments. In the late 1970s, the bankrupt Swedish shipbuilding industry was rescued through nationalization by the country’s first right-wing government in 44 years, despite the fact that it had come to power with a pledge to reduce the size of the state. In the early 1980s, the troubled US car maker Chrysler was rescued by the Republican administration under Ronald Reagan, which was in the vanguard of neo-liberal market reforms at the time. Faced with the financial crisis in 1982, following its premature and poorly designed financial liberalization, the Chilean government rescued the entire banking sector with public money. This was General Pinochet’s government, which had seized power in a bloody coup in the name of defending the free market and private ownership.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion ofSafety by Eric Schlosser
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haight Ashbury, impulse control, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, life extension, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stanislav Petrov, Stewart Brand, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche
Although Carter was a devout Christian, a newly created evangelical group, the Moral Majority, was attacking his support for legalized abortion and a constitutional amendment to guarantee equal rights for women. A midsummer opinion poll found that 77 percent of the American people disapproved of President Carter’s performance in the White House—a higher disapproval rate than that of President Richard Nixon at the height of Watergate. The Republican candidate for president, Ronald Reagan, had a sunnier disposition. “I refuse to accept [Carter’s] defeatist and pessimistic view of America,” Reagan said. The country could not afford “four more years of weakness, indecision, mediocrity, and incompetence.” Reagan called for large tax cuts, smaller government, deregulation, increased defense spending to confront the Soviet threat, and a renewed faith in the American dream. A popular third-party candidate, Congressman John B.
The Russian city of Minsk is hit by nuclear weapons in retaliation, and the shock of its destruction causes the swift collapse of the Soviet Union. The moral of the story was clear: the United States and its allies needed to increase their military spending. “In the last few years before the outbreak of war the West began to wake up to the danger it faced,” Hackett wrote, “and in the time available did just enough in repair of its neglected defenses to enable it, by a small margin, to survive.” Ronald Reagan later called The Third World War an unusually important book. And it helped to launch a new literary genre, the techno-thriller, in which military heroism was celebrated, the intricate details of weaponry played a central role in the narrative, and Cold War victories were achieved through the proper application of force. On television, The Waltons, a long-running drama about an ordinary family’s struggles during the Great Depression, was facing cancellation.
Having gained almost two thirds of the popular vote in 1978, Bill Clinton now faced a tough campaign for reelection, confronting not only the anger and frustration in his own state but also the conservative tide rising across the United States. Frank White, the Republican candidate for governor, was strongly backed by the religious right and many of the industry groups that Clinton had antagonized. The White campaign embraced the candidacy of Ronald Reagan, attacked Clinton for having close ties to Jimmy Carter, ran ads that featured dark-skinned Cubans rioting on the road to Barling, raised questions about all the longhairs from out of state who seemed to be running Arkansas, and criticized the governor’s wife, Hillary Rodham, for being a feminist who refused to take her husband’s name. While Lee Epperson, director of the Office of Emergency Services, tried to find out what was happening at the Titan II site in Damascus, Governor Clinton spent the evening in Hot Springs.
Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence by Robert Bryce
addicted to oil, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, financial independence, flex fuel, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, low earth orbit, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price stability, Project for a New American Century, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Yom Kippur War
Factories in China would not be able to export as many products to the rest of the world. America has been ensuring Saudi Arabia’s security since World War II, when Franklin Roosevelt met with the Saudi king, Abdul Aziz, Why We Think We Want Energy Independence 51 aboard the USS Quincy. Ever since then, the basic arrangement has stayed in place: The Saudis provide the world with a predictable stream of oil, and the U.S. ensures that the House of Saud will stay in power. Ronald Reagan probably summed it up best in 1981 when he said, “There is no way” that the U.S. would stand by and see Saudi Arabia “taken over by anyone that would shut off that oil.”6 Of course, America’s energy interests—and therefore, its economic interests—in the Persian Gulf go beyond Saudi Arabia. America has significant military investments in Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Oman, and it is not going to abandon all of those multi-billion-dollar air bases, army depots, and transportation hubs just because American motorists might, at some point in the future, be burning more ethanol-flavored gasoline.
He also got new basing rights in Somalia, which gave the U.S. the ability to patrol the entrance to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.14 Carter also created a 98 GUSHER OF LIES new military command within the Department of Defense called the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force. Now known as Central Command, the task force was given the responsibility of managing all U.S. military operations in the Persian Gulf. (Today, in their briefing materials, Central Command officials note that their territory, which covers 27 predominantly Muslim countries that stretch from Sudan in the west to Kazakhstan in the east, contains 65 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.) Ronald Reagan followed Carter’s lead and continued the militarization. In 1981, the Reagan administration pushed through an $8.5-billion weapons deal for Saudi Arabia that included advanced surveillance aircraft as well as aerial tankers, air-to-air missiles, and other gear.15 Like Carter, Reagan made it clear that U.S. policy was to protect the Persian Gulf. In 1983, Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 114, which said that the U.S. was ready to deter any attacks on “critical oil productions and transshipment facilities in the Persian Gulf.”
The panels, which cost $28,100 (about $84,000 in 2006 dollars), were used to heat water for the staff mess and other parts of the White House.31 When Carter showed the panels to a group of reporters, he said that in a generation, they would “either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people; harnessing the power of the Sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.”32 Ronald Reagan beat Carter in the 1980 presidential race. And while Carter obsessed about energy, Reagan largely ignored the industry, figuring that it would manage itself. Reagan also worked to undo some of the regulatory obstacles that had been imposed on the industry by Congress and prior administrations. But the Great Communicator, like his predecessors (and successors), couldn’t resist the allure of a familiar catch phrase.
The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop, Robert G. Cushing
"Robert Solow", 1960s counterculture, affirmative action, American Legislative Exchange Council, assortative mating, big-box store, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, post-materialism, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, War on Poverty, white flight, World Values Survey
What we wanted to know was how they got there and whether the four groups had anything more in common than how they voted for president on the first Tuesday in November 2004. First, we looked to see if the groups had any political coherence. From 1948 to 1960, the four groups jumped about, voting for Democrats in some years, Republicans in others. In 1976, the groups all voted at about the national average (see Figure 2.2). Beginning in 1980 with the first election of Ronald Reagan, the counties began to diverge in their political inclinations, and they continued to separate for the next quarter century. This pattern appeared again and again as we evaluated other demographic measures. Education. In 1970, the county groups were well balanced in the proportion of the population that had a college degree. After that, the percentage of college-educated people increased in every group—but the well-educated were especially attracted to Democratic counties (see Figure 2.3).
In November, Gene Roberts wrote a story headlined "Negroes Still Angry and Jobless Three Months After Watts Riot."50 That was 1965. Within every event were the beginnings of political alignments that would extend for the next forty years. Days after troops subdued the Watts rioters, the New York Times reported that "California candidates of both parties, openly or warily, viewed the Los Angeles riots today as providing a ready-made issue for next year's important campaign for Governor." Ronald Reagan was considered the front-runner and the primary beneficiary of the riots.51 Earlier, in June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut law that officials had used to close and fine a Planned Parenthood birth control clinic. In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Court ruled for the first time that there was a limited constitutional "right to privacy." (It would base its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on reasoning used in the earlier decision.)
By September 1966, the proportion who said that integration was proceeding "too fast" nearly doubled, jumping from 28 percent to 52 percent. Similarly, in 1965 street crime appeared just behind public education on the list of most important issues. Street crime had never before been of much concern. By 1968, 81 percent of Americans agreed that "law and order has broken down in this country."86 Ronald Reagan did not lead white men out of the Democratic Party with his 1980 campaign. Rather, the switch can be traced to 1964, when "men's support for the Democratic Party dropped precipitously from 51 percent to the high 30s throughout the seventies to a low of 28 percent in 1994." The gap in the party preferences of white men and women that became so pronounced in the 1990s and has continued into this century resulted from white men leaving the Democratic Party beginning in the mid-1960s.87 The Decline of Polarization The collapse of social institutions, the dropping levels of trust, and the abandonment of political parties beginning in 1965 all contributed to a decline in partisan political behavior.
It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, air freight, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, coronavirus, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, factory automation, failed state, full employment, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Lyft, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Chicago School, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, uber lyft, universal basic income, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, working poor, Works Progress Administration
In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences joined the science academies of Britain, China, Germany, and Japan in a joint statement declaring, “ There is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring.” Because there was considerable initial doubt regarding climate change, and because global living standards would nosedive if society simply banned the combustion of fossil fuels the way it banned ozone-depleting compounds, the public discourse on global warming veered into partisan grandstanding. Just a generation ago, the US Republican Party supported science-based conservation: Ronald Reagan backed the CFC ban, and the elder President George Bush endorsed 1990 legislation to reduce air pollution. By the year of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, Republicans had begun to shun conservation and the scientific method, while in the hyperpartisan politics of the moment, for advocates of every variety, “sound science” came to mean “whatever supports our donors’ agenda.” Trump would call climate change a hoax “created by and for the Chinese.”
Now with hardly any workers compared to 1900, US farm output keeps setting records. In the same fashion, with steadily fewer workers, US factories keep setting production records. Most Americans might guess the peak for United States manufacturing was in the 1950s or 1960s. Not so: the number-one year for US manufacturing output was 2016. Do you think factories were busier back in those hazy Good Ole Days, say, of the Ronald Reagan presidency? Since Reagan, US factory output has risen 83 percent. The single-generation almost-doubling of US manufacturing has been accompanied by a 30 percent decline in factory employment. Factory employment has hardly disappeared, as media culture likes to think: in 2016 there were 12.3 million US factory jobs, more than the number of jobs in food service. It’s just that advancing technology means fewer manufacturing workers are needed—exactly the dynamic that overtook the farm.
Variations of this view have been stated since Hobbes’s day. Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt were great presidents, but both utilized war as an excuse to claim for themselves extraordinary powers that most likely were not necessitated by the national interest, or at minimum, not necessary for the reasons Lincoln and Roosevelt invoked. John Adams, John Tyler, James Polk, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama employed war or the prospect of war as rationalization for subverting law or Congress or both. Leaders of many nations, including of liberal democracies, have cited war or the prospect of war as reasons they should be granted extraordinary authority, or exempted from accountability. After the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, military response against the government of Afghanistan was essential.
Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, continuation of politics by other means, desegregation, European colonialism, Khyber Pass, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, polynesian navigation, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, working poor
In the winter of 1989, when democratic yearnings began to un-seat the Polish Communist Party, when all of Central Europe fell, and finally the Soviet Union was dismantled, the world was shocked and completely taken by surprise by this sudden turn of events. No one was more caught by surprise than the befuddled U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, and his advisers. Had they done it? In time they decided they had—that they had overthrown the Soviet Union by taking a hard line. Of course U.S. governments had been taking a “hard line” ever since the Russian Revolution. Woodrow Wilson had even invaded. But Ronald Reagan, by being a good cold warrior and stepping up the nuclear arms race, had pressured the Soviets right out of existence. To make this claim—and some still make it—is to ignore the Eastern Europeans who dedicated their lives to slowly, nonviolently chipping away at Soviet authority.
Urban also claimed that the soldiers would be rescuing a poor oppressed people who desperately needed their help. This tactic generally works best if a case can be made that the people in need of being rescued are people like us. This was why Abraham Lincoln preferred to speak of “saving the Union” to “freeing the slaves,” why Roosevelt wanted to save freedom rather than save the Jews, and why Ronald Reagan in 1983 did not want to rescue the black Grenadians from an evil coup d'état but instead claimed he was rescuing a handful of American medical students. White Christians generally want to rescue white Christians, which was at the heart of Urban II's message. Of course not all of these elements are always lies, though they were in this case. The Nazis were actually worse than Allied war propaganda's depiction of them.
The monument they erected, like most of the Vietnam War films themselves, represents a break with the tradition of celebrating warfare. The selected design, by Maya Ying Lin, was simply a wall of polished stone with the names of the more than 58,000 people who were killed in that war. The simple realities of presenting all those names in the order they were killed stated the painful reality that this is what war is, the large-scale killing of individuals. But by the time the veterans' group had the design ready, Ronald Reagan was president. Reagan didn't like the “Vietnam syndrome” and he didn't like the monument design. Critics, including some veterans, complained that it was “flagless.” Secretary of the Interior James Watt refused to issue a building permit until a traditional romantic statue of three servicemen was allowed to be erected next to it. Not everyone was ready for Vietnam's lessons. XI We may make contact with ambitious species on other planets or stars; soon thereafter there will be interplanetary war.
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President by Bandy X. Lee
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, declining real wages, delayed gratification, demand response, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, facts on the ground, fear of failure, illegal immigration, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, national security letter, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School
Most politicians, actors, and celebrities exhibit this louder, chest-thumping brand of narcissism. Presidents seem to be especially likely to rank high in extroverted narcissism. In fact, psychologist Ronald J. Deluga, of Bryant College, used biographical information to calculate a Narcissistic Personality Inventory score (a tool for measuring extroverted narcissism) for every commander in chief, from George Washington through Ronald Reagan. He found that high-ego presidents like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan ranked higher than more soft-spoken leaders like Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, but almost all presidents scored high enough to be considered “narcissists.” A more recent study led by psychologists Ashley L. Watts and Scott O. Lilienfeld of Emory University yielded similar results, but also revealed something that helps explain Nixon’s dual nature: as the presidents’ narcissism scores increased, so did their likelihood of facing impeachment proceedings, “abusing positions of power, tolerating unethical behavior in subordinates, stealing, bending or breaking rules, cheating on taxes, and having extramarital affairs.”
Before Donald Trump, it was unfathomable for American citizens to consciously consider voting for, and then inaugurating, a person as unbalanced as this president. Admittedly, it’s possible, as Guy Winch points out in his February 2, 2016, Psychology Today article, “Study: Half of All Presidents Suffered from Mental Illness.” According to Winch, many of our previous presidents may have suffered from mental health issues, including depression (Abraham Lincoln), bipolar disorder (Lyndon Johnson), alcoholism (Ulysses S. Grant), Alzheimer’s disease (Ronald Reagan), and transient bouts of extreme present hedonism (John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton). We have also survived a president who blatantly lied to cover his criminal tracks before he was caught in those lies (Richard Nixon). In the past, Americans have pulled together and worked to overcome our differences. We moved forward collectively as one great country. Unfortunately, in more recent times, it appears we have become a bipolar nation, with Donald Trump at the helm as his followers cheer him on and others try to resist him.
Thus, in my opinion, it has been appropriate and, in fact, prudent for clinicians to speak out regarding their concerns of possible neurological deterioration, but the public discussion has been so muddied that serious and legitimate concerns voiced have had no practical impact. Although the presidency of Donald Trump is still young and, in the view of many, including me, quite problematic, with very high and dangerous risks present, in essence we have probably already “dodged a bullet” at least once. During the first 1984 debate between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale, Reagan obviously experienced a moment of disorganization. A brief lapse can happen to anyone under stress and need not be assumed to indicate the presence of pathology (e.g., Rick Perry’s forgetting “the third department” he wished to disband during the 2012 primary debate). In retrospect, Reagan’s “becoming lost” appeared more significant. There were already public concerns regarding his medical status, and it was later reported that friends and family were well aware that a degenerative disease was progressing (Corn 2011).
Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines by Bill Hicks
Bush (1990) Hello, I’m Bill Hicks, and I’m standing at one of the foot of one of the halls of justice of our great country. You know, when the producers of this video asked me to discuss my opinions on the George Bush administration, I was struck by the very cynical thought, ‘What is the fucking point? People still love Ronald Reagan.’ After eight years of lies and hypocrisy, people love this guy. Leads me to a very disturbing question: how far up your ass does this guy’s dick have to be before you realize he’s fuckin’ ya? Ha, people are just, ‘I like Ronald Reagan. He looks good on TV, he made the country stronger, patriotism’s at an all-time high. Hold on a minute, something’s slappin’ my ass. Hey, he’s fuckin’ us!’ What’s the point of George Bush? Reagan-lite. No one cares that he was the ex-head of the CIA, now elected president. The CIA – political assassinations, overthrowing governments, death squads, drug-running.
‘You know, Jesus, it doesn’t get better’n this.’ You don’t see the imminent danger, do you? You’re staring at me like, ‘Bill, they’re just musicians, and they’re, you know, and they’re just doing their thing, and’ NO! They are DEMONS SET LOOSE ON THE EARTH TO LOWER THE STANDARDS FOR THE PERFECT AND HOLY CHILDREN OF GOD! Which is what we are. Make no mistake about it. What’s happened to us? After eight years of Ronald Reagan and Yuppies we live on like the third mall from the sun now, you know? Come on, man. Is it fuckin’ me? Debbie Gibson7had the number one album in this country, y’all. Now, if this doesn’t make your blood fucking curdle . . . I mean, who buys that shit, you know? Is there that much babysitting money being passed around right now? Have you seen that little mall creature at work? (singing) ‘Shake your love.’
I mean, he’ll tell you he’s not . . . but he’s gonna. A vote for Clinton is a vote for higher taxes, Bill.’ See, I have news for ya, folks: there’s other reasons not to vote for George Bush than taxes, OK? I don’t know what’s happened to us as a world – maybe twelve years of Republicanism has made us think this way. But the reason I didn’t vote for George Bush is because George Bush, along with Ronald Reagan, presided over an administration whose policies towards South America included genocide.47 (laughs) So, yeah, you see . . . the reason I didn’t vote for him is cos he’s a mass murderer. Yeah. I, yeah. OK. Yeah. Yeah. I’ll . . . I’ll pay that extra nickel on, you know, a litre of petrol just knowing little brown kids aren’t being clubbed to death like baby seals in Honduras so Pepsi can put a plant down there.
Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides's Trap by Graham Allison
9 dash line, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, game design, George Santayana, Haber-Bosch Process, industrial robot, Internet of things, Kenneth Rogoff, liberal world order, long peace, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, one-China policy, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spice trade, the rule of 72, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, UNCLOS, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game
As awkward and uncomfortable as this metaphor is, it captures the defining fact about the US relationship with the Soviet Union in the Cold War. And it remains the defining truth many twenty-first-century Americans imagine somehow vanished when the Cold War ended. Both the US and Russia retain superpower nuclear arsenals. Thus, however evil, however demonic, however dangerous, however deserving to be strangled Russia is, the US must struggle to find some way to live with it—or face dying together. In Ronald Reagan’s oft-quoted one-liner: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must therefore never be fought.”60 Today, China has also developed a nuclear arsenal so robust that it creates a twenty-first-century version of MAD with the United States. The US recognizes this reality in its deployments of ballistic missile defenses, which exclude Russia and China from the threat matrix they are required to meet (since under current conditions, it is not feasible to mount a credible defense against them).61 Thus in a second case, as Churchill noted about the Soviet Union, a “sublime irony” has made “safety the sturdy child of terror and survival the twin brother of annihilation.”62 Clue 8: Hot war between nuclear superpowers is thus no longer a justifiable option.
The constraints imposed by MAD on the contest between the Soviet Union and the United States are relevant for American strategists thinking about China today. From the 1950s through the 1980s, the rise of the Soviet Union to superpower status created what came to be recognized as a “bipolar world.” Both nations believed that their survival required that they bury or convert the other. But if President Ronald Reagan was right, this had to be achieved without war. The central implication for US strategy toward China from the US-Soviet competition is therefore as uncomfortable to accept as it is impossible to deny: once two states have invulnerable nuclear arsenals, hot war is no longer a justifiable option. Both nations must integrate this brute fact in their foreign policies. To repeat: we are inseparable Siamese twins.
Their focus was America’s Soviet adversary, and their purpose, to widen the emerging Sino-Soviet split in the Communist bloc. And it worked. But as he approached the end of his life and reflected on the course of events, Nixon confided to his friend and former speechwriter William Safire, “We may have created a Frankenstein.”1 What a monster it may become. In the three and a half decades since Ronald Reagan became president, by the best measurement of economic performance, China has soared from 10 percent the size of the US to 60 percent in 2007, 100 percent in 2014, and 115 percent today. If the current trend continues, China’s economy will be a full 50 percent larger than that of the US by 2023. By 2040 it could be nearly three times as large.2 That would mean a China with triple America’s resources to use in influencing outcomes in international relations.
The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry by William K. Black
accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, business climate, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate raider, Donald Trump, fear of failure, financial deregulation, friendly fire, George Akerlof, hiring and firing, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, The Market for Lemons, transaction costs
The FSLIC fund had only $6 billion in reserves, so it was hopelessly insolvent. The Reagan administration refused to admit that the industry was insolvent, refused to give the FSLIC any additional money to close failed S&Ls, and ordered Pratt not to use the FSLIC’s statutory right to borrow even the paltry sum of $750 million from the treasury. Pratt’s orders were to cover up the S&L crisis. The cover-up was particularly critical to the administration in 1981. Ronald Reagan’s campaign promises were to cut taxes, increase defense spending, and balance the budget. Those three promises, of course, were inconsistent, as his budget director, David Stockman, would later admit.2 The administration knew that if the public realized that the budget deficit was really $150 billion larger than reported, the resulting outcry could have prevented passage of the large tax cuts that the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (generally called the 1981 Tax Act) provided for.
Why did he remain loyal to them even after it became clear that doing so would have disastrous consequences for his constituents, the nation, and his party? Why did he, after striving for decades to become Speaker, continue to support the control frauds, even though doing so cost him his life’s ambition and his reputation? How did three control frauds and a real estate developer, each of whom voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, get Wright, a populist Democrat, to champion wealthy GOP frauds despite the warnings of fellow Democrats? Wright’s actions on behalf of the control frauds had enormous direct consequences: they were decisive in forcing him to resign in disgrace from the House, and because they delayed the closure of dozens of (mostly Texas) control frauds, they led to billions of dollars in additional costs to the taxpayers.
Bank Board counsel and my aide on FSLIC recap. AMERICAN SAVINGS. Largest S&L, victimized by fraud. ANDERSON, JACK. Syndicated columnist. ANDREWS, MIKE (D-TX). Congressman allied with Jim Wright. ANGOTTI, OTTAVIO. Senior officer at Consolidated Savings Bank. ANNUNZIO, FRANK (D-IL). Member of the House Banking Committee. ATCHISON, JACK. AY audit partner for Lincoln Savings. BAKER, JAMES. Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan. BANK BOARD. Federal regulator of Savings and Loans. BARABOLAK, ALEX. Lead FHLB-Chicago examiner of ACC. BARCLAY, GEORGE. CEO of FHLB-Dallas. BARNARD, DRUIE DOUGLAS, JR. (D-GA). Member of the House Banking Committee. BARRY, JOHN. Author of a book about Jim Wright. BARTH, JIM. Bank Board chief economist. BARTLETT, HARRY STEPHEN “STEVE” (R-TX). Member of the House Banking Committee. BASS, ROBERT.
Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution by Richard Whittle
Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Google Earth, indoor plumbing, Khyber Pass, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, precision agriculture, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Yom Kippur War
Denny first created a company to produce radio-controlled model aircraft, then expanded into producing slightly larger monoplanes as radio-controlled target drones for the U.S. Army, which used them to train antiaircraft gunners. During World War II, the Army bought more than fifteen thousand of these balsa-and-plywood target drones from Denny’s Radioplane Company, a fact Denny touted to an actor friend whose Army Air Forces job was to publicize Hollywood’s contributions to the war effort. When future U.S. president Captain Ronald Reagan sent Private David Connor to the Radioplane Company to photograph its drone assembly line for the Army’s Yank magazine, Connor discovered a girl so fetching he returned later to take more photos of her. Eventually he showed the photos to movie studio contacts, and after the war Norma Jean Dougherty left Radioplane for a legendary Hollywood career as Marilyn Monroe. Another World War II attempt to use radio-controlled aircraft ended far less happily, and probably changed U.S. political history.
Linden, widely regarded as the kinder and gentler of the two, was his older brother’s partner but had also served a term on the Denver city council in the early 1970s, attended Harvard Business School, and held top jobs at Gates Learjet Corporation and Beech Aircraft Corporation, where in 1982 he became president and chief executive officer. Along the way, Linden became an expert in, and ardent advocate of, using advanced composite materials such as carbon epoxy—a new technology in those days—to build aircraft. Politically, the Blue brothers were dedicated to helping President Ronald Reagan win the Cold War, which in the early 1980s appeared increasingly likely to get hot. The Soviet Union and its chief allies in Latin America, Castro and the Sandinistas, had been growing bellicose in recent years, a factor that in 1980 helped Republican Reagan make Democrat Jimmy Carter a one-term president. The year before, the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan, Castro had celebrated his twentieth year in power, and the Sandinistas had forced Neal and Linden Blue’s former business partner—and more recently dictator in his own right—Anastasio Somoza Debayle to flee Nicaragua.
The Mastiff could stay airborne at most four hours, and at relatively low altitude, but Lehman decided the marines could use such a capability, and the drone and its control van were small enough for ground troops to transport. The Navy secretary was even more excited by the possibility of developing a mini-drone like the Mastiff to spot targets for four World War II battleships he had persuaded President Ronald Reagan and Congress to bring out of mothballs. Each of the four dreadnoughts bristled with nine sixteen-inch guns that could fire man-size shells the weight of an economy car twenty-three miles. But because the munitions came to earth at over-the-horizon distances, the ship’s gunners usually had no way to see where their shells were landing, unless a manned aircraft were sent to observe the target, which was both inefficient and dangerous.
The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century by Steve Coll
American ideology, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, business climate, colonial rule, Donald Trump, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, forensic accounting, global village, haute couture, intangible asset, Iridium satellite, Khyber Pass, low earth orbit, margin call, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shock, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, urban planning, Yogi Berra
Fortunately, the guards held their fire.11 They heard nothing from Salem for a while, but Harrington knew where he had gone, because Salem had told him of his destination: Washington, D.C. King Fahd of Saudi Arabia was preparing that early winter of 1985 for a summit meeting and state dinner with President Ronald Reagan. “For some reason,” as Harrington recalled it, “the king wanted Salem” in Washington. Salem flew off immediately. This was hardly an unusual diversion. As Salem’s friend Mohamed Ashmawi, a wealthy Saudi oil executive, put it: “He used to go and visit the king wherever he is.”12 Secrecy and complexity governed the relationship between King Fahd and Ronald Reagan. That winter of 1985, apart from Great Britain, there was perhaps no government with which the Reagan administration shared more sensitive secrets than it did with Saudi Arabia. Unbeknownst to the American public, for example, Reagan had authorized an attempt to free American hostages held in Lebanon by selling weapons to the kidnappers’ sponsors in Iran; Adnan Khashoggi, who worked closely with the Saudi royal family, was centrally involved in those secret transactions.
Reagan was a master of the theatrical and ceremonial aspects of his office, and he prepared to put on a show. Up the White House driveway they strolled on the chilly night of February 11—Yogi Berra, the New York Yankees manager; Vice President George Bush; Linda Gray, star of Dallas, the television series about oil barons; Oscar Wyatt, the genuine Texas oil baron; the actress Sigourney Weaver; and Donald and Ivana Trump. “It’s exciting. It’s Americana. It’s Ronald Reagan,” joked Saturday Night Live comedian Joe Piscopo, who was also on the state dinner’s guest list. “The king of Saudi Arabia came here to see how a real king lives, I suppose.”14 Saudi royals do not travel on official business with their wives, so the king escorted Abdulaziz, his eleven-year-old son by Princess Jawhara Al-Ibrahim. They arrived at the White House in traditional Saudi robes and red-checked headdresses.
The American government has not declassified many of the records describing Saudi Arabia’s secret aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, but those available provide no evidence of Salem’s participation. (Like Bandar, the Saudi ambassador, Salem “had no idea where Nicaragua was,” said a European friend who worked with him on arms deals in other parts of the world.) An attorney who represented the Bin Laden family in a Texas civil lawsuit some years later recalled possessing a photo of Salem standing with Ronald Reagan, but that evidence file had been destroyed during a routine archive cleaning, and the photographs taken by White House staff during the Fahd summit show no trace of Salem. He was the eldest of fifty-four children, the leader of the sprawling Bin Laden family, the chairman of several multinational corporations, and a genuine friend to King Fahd, but Salem was also decidedly the king’s subordinate; he might just as well have been called to Washington to organize a night on the town as to participate in clandestine statecraft.16 There was one portfolio of secrets binding King Fahd and President Reagan that winter that unquestionably involved Salem Bin Laden, however.
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman, Jeff Riggenbach Ph.
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, global village, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of the printing press, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, the medium is the message
Andrew Postman Brooklyn, New York November 2005 In 1985 ... If you were alert back then, this refresher may be unnecessary, even laughable. If you were not alert then, this may just be laughable. But it also may help to clarify references in the book about things of that moment. In 1985: The United States population is 240 million. The Cold War is still on, though Mikhail Gorbachev has just become the Soviet leader. Ronald Reagan is president. Other major political figures include Walter “Fritz” Mondale, Democratic presidential nominee the year before; Geraldine Ferraro, his vice-presidential running mate; and presidential hopefuls/Senators Gary Hart and John Glenn (the latter a former astronaut). Ed Koch is mayor of New York City. David Garth is a top media consultant for political candidates. Top-rated TV shows include Dynasty, Dallas (though it has been several years since the drama of “Who Shot J.R.?”
Indeed, the President continues to make debatable assertions of fact but news accounts do not deal with them as extensively as they once did. In the view of White House officials, the declining news coverage mirrors a decline in interest by the general public. (my italics) This report is not so much a news story as a story about the news, and our recent history suggests that it is not about Ronald Reagan’s charm. It is about how news is defined, and I believe the story would be quite astonishing to both civil libertarians and tyrants of an earlier time. Walter Lippmann, for example, wrote in 1920: “There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the means by which to detect lies.” For all of his pessimism about the possibilities of restoring an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century level of public discourse, Lippmann assumed, as did Thomas Jefferson before him, that with a well-trained press functioning as a lie-detector, the public’s interest in a President’s mangling of the truth would be piqued, in both senses of that word.
It is well understood at the National Council that the danger is not that religion has become the content of television shows but that television shows may become the content of religion. 9. Reach Out and Elect Someone In The Last Hurrah, Edwin O’Connor’s fine novel about lusty party politics in Boston, Mayor Frank Skeffington tries to instruct his young nephew in the realities of political machinery. Politics, he tells him, is the greatest spectator sport in America. In 1966, Ronald Reagan used a different metaphor. “Politics,” he said, “is just like show business.”1 Although sports has now become a major branch of show business, it still contains elements that make Skeffington’s vision of politics somewhat more encouraging than Reagan’s. In any sport the standard of excellence is well known to both the players and spectators, and an athlete’s reputation rises and falls by his or her proximity to that standard.
The Future of War by Lawrence Freedman
Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, British Empire, colonial rule, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Glasses, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Markoff, long peace, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, open economy, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, the scientific method, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl, Valery Gerasimov, WikiLeaks, zero day
George Winston, ‘Was Reagan Influenced By Reading Tom Clancy’s “Red Storm Rising” Before A Cold War Summit with Gorbachev?’ online, War History Online, Internet, 22 Feb. 2016. Available: https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/was-reagan-influenced-by-reading-tom-clancys-red-storm-rising.html 14. President Ronald Reagan, Address to the Nation on Defense and National Security, 23 Mar. 1983. 15. Valerie Edwards, ‘How Ronald Reagan based his foreign policy on Tom Clancy books: President told Margaret Thatcher to read Red Storm Rising thriller to understand Russia’, Daily Mail 30 Dec. 2015, online. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3378683/Ronald-Reagan-advised-Margaret-Thatcher-read-Tom-Clancy-s-thriller-Cold-War-strategy.html 16. Tom Clancy, The Sum of all Fears (New York: Putnam, 1991) 17. Ray Garthoff, A Journey Through the Cold War (Washington DC: Brookings Institution, 2001) 16.
Journal of Peace Research 44.2 (2007): 233–246. Eck, Kristine. A Beginner’s Guide to Conflict Data: Finding and Using the Right Dataset. Uppsala: Uppsala Conflict Data Programme, December 2005. Eckhardt, William. ‘Civilian Deaths in Wartime’. Bulletin of Peace Proposals 20.1 (1989): 89–98. Edwards, Valerie. ‘How Ronald Reagan based his foreign policy on Tom Clancy books: President told Margaret Thatcher to read Red Storm Rising thriller to understand Russia’. Daily Mail 30 Dec. 2015. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3378683/Ronald-Reagan-advised-Margaret-Thatcher-read-Tom-Clancy-s-thriller-Cold-War-strategy.html. Elias, Norbert. The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations. Eds. Eric Dunning et al. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000. Elliott, Christopher. High Command: British Military Leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
The date had no significance other than the link with George Orwell. No state that devoted ‘so much of its energies to physically and psychologically controlling millions of its own subjects’, Amalrik argued, could survive indefinitely. Eventually the ‘Soviet Union will have to pay up in full for the territorial annexations of Stalin and for the isolation in which the neo-Stalinists have placed the country.’36 More significantly Ronald Reagan had asserted strongly at the start of his presidency that in the ideological competition with the United States, the Soviet Union was bound to lose. What we see here is a political structure that no longer corresponds to its economic base, a society where productive forces are hampered by political ones… the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.37 Yet the weight of the Sovietology community, in both academia and government, was much more cautious, convinced that the system was remarkably resilient and also capable of adjusting.
Necessary Illusions by Noam Chomsky
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, full employment, Howard Zinn, Khyber Pass, land reform, long peace, New Journalism, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, union organizing
The study of media coverage of conflicts in the Third World mentioned earlier follows a similar pattern, which is quite consistent, though the public regards the media as too conformist.28 The media cheerfully publish condemnations of their “breathtaking lack of balance or even the appearance of fair-mindedness” and “the ills and dangers of today’s wayward press.”29 But only when, as in this case, the critic is condemning the “media elite” for being “in thrall to liberal views of politics and human nature” and for the “evident difficulty most liberals have in using the word dictatorship to describe even the most flagrant dictatorships of the left”; surely one would never find Fidel Castro described as a dictator in the mainstream press, always so soft on Communism and given to self-flagellation.30 Such diatribes are not expected to meet even minimal standards of evidence; this one contains exactly one reference to what conceivably might be a fact, a vague allusion to alleged juggling of statistics by the New York Times “to obscure the decline of interest rates during Ronald Reagan’s first term,” as though the matter had not been fully reported. Charges of this nature are often not unwelcome, first, because response is simple or superfluous; and second, because debate over this issue helps entrench the belief that the media are either independent and objective, with high standards of professional integrity and openness to all reasonable views, or, alternatively, that they are biased towards stylishly leftish flouting of authority.
In earlier years, the United States was defending itself from other evil forces: the Huns, the British, the Spanish, the Mexicans, the Canadian Papists, and the “merciless Indian savages” of the Declaration of Independence. But since the Bolshevik revolution, and particularly in the era of bipolar world power that emerged from the ashes of World War II, a more credible enemy has been the “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” that seeks to subvert our noble endeavors, in John F. Kennedy’s phrase: Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire.” In the early Cold War years, Dean Acheson and Paul Nitze planned to “bludgeon the mass mind of ‘top government,” as Acheson put it with reference to NSC 68. They presented “a frightening portrayal of the Communist threat, in order to overcome public, business, and congressional desires for peace, low taxes, and ‘sound’ fiscal policies” and to mobilize popular support for the full-scale rearmament that they felt was necessary “to overcome Communist ideology and Western economic vulnerability,” William Borden observes in a study of postwar planning.
This is a primary function it has continued to serve as illustrated, for example, by its criminal acts to undermine the rising “crisis of democracy” in the 1960s and the surveillance and disruption of popular opposition to U.S. intervention in Central America twenty years later.15 The effectiveness of the state-corporate propaganda system is illustrated by the fate of May Day, a workers’ holiday throughout the world that originated in response to the judicial murder of several anarchists after the Haymarket affair of May 1886, in a campaign of international solidarity with U.S. workers struggling for an eighthour day. In the United States, all has been forgotten. May Day has become “Law Day,” a jingoist celebration of our “200-year-old partnership between law and liberty” as Ronald Reagan declared while designating May 1 as Law Day 1984, adding that without law there can be only “chaos and disorder.” The day before, he had announced that the United States would disregard the proceedings of the International Court of Justice that later condemned the U.S. government for its “unlawful use of force” and violation of treaties in its attack against Nicaragua. “Law Day” also served as the occasion for Reagan’s declaration of May 1, 1985, announcing an embargo against Nicaragua “in response to the emergency situation created by the Nicaraguan Government’s aggressive activities in Central America,” actually declaring a “national emergency,” since renewed annually, because “the policies and actions of the Government of Nicaragua constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”—all with the approbation of Congress, the media, and the intellectual community generally; or, in some circles, embarrassed silence.
1968: The Year That Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, East Village, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, European colonialism, feminist movement, global village, Haight Ashbury, land reform, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea
In 1968, a book was published in the United States called The Gap, by an uncle and his longhaired, pot-smoking nephew trying to understand each other. The nephew introduces the uncle to marijuana, which the uncle queerly refers to as “a stick of tea.” But after he smoked it he said, “It expanded my consciousness. No kidding! Now I know what Richie means. I listened to music and heard it as never before.” Ronald Reagan defined a hippie as someone who “dresses like Tarzan, has hair like Jane, and smells like Cheetah.” The lack of intellectual depth in Ronald Reagan’s analysis surprised no one, but most of these analyses had little more to them. Society had not progressed beyond the 1950s, when the entire so-called beat generation, a phrase invented by novelist Jack Kerouac, was reduced on television to a character named Maynard G. Krebs, who seldom washed and would croak, “Work!?” in a horrified tone any time gainful employment was suggested.
“When I look at this thing, I think, My God, I hope we’ll never have to use it,” said Los Angeles deputy police chief Daryl Gates, “but then I realize how valuable it would have been in Watts, where we had nothing to protect us from sniper fire when we tried to rescue our wounded officers.” Such talk had become good politics since California governor Pat Brown had been defeated the year before by Ronald Reagan, largely because of the Watts riots. The problem was that the vehicles cost $35,000 each. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office had a more cost-effective idea—a surplus army M-8 armored car for only $2,500. In Detroit, where forty-three people died in race riots in 1967, the police already had five armored vehicles but were stockpiling tear gas and gas masks and were requesting antisniper rifles, carbines, shotguns, and 150,000 rounds of ammunition.
A Republican state-by-state survey released at the beginning of the year indicated that their only hope to unseat Johnson was New York governor Nelson Rockefeller. Richard Nixon, the party predicted, would narrowly lose, as Nixon tended to do. Michigan governor George Romney had become th