Fellow Patriot:

The voluntary financial generosity of Patriots — people like you — keeps our doors open. Please support the 2020 Year-End Campaign today. Thank you for your support! —Nate Jackson, Managing Editor

Reagan Record - The Blame-Reagan Shift

THE BLAME-REAGAN SHIFT: FROM THE MEDIA TO THE HISTORIANS

L. Brent Bozell

October 9, 1997

Throughout the 1980s and beyond, news media liberals blamed Ronald Reagan for everything from flammable children's pajamas to earthquakes. While the attacks never stop, they did abate in 1994, when Reagan's Alzheimer's disease became public.

Now the battle over the Reagan legacy has entered a new and far more important dimension. The authors of "history" are hard at work, specifically encyclopedias and textbooks, distorting the Reagan record for generations to come.

Try the Encyclopedia Britannica: "In 1981, Congress passed most of the president's proposals, drastically cutting nondefense spending and approving a reduction in personal income taxes ... massive budget deficits resulted from the tax cuts."

The Encyclopedia Americana flat-out lies! "His administration succeeded in dismantling much of the welfare state and many of the regulations on big business that had been instituted in the 1930s and expanded in the 1960s. ... Massive federal deficits piled up, however -- a reflection of tax cutting, greater defense spending and other economic factors."

Collier's Encyclopedia baldly declares: "Reagan persuaded Congress to enact a series of tax rate cuts that mainly benefited upper-income taxpayers. To offset some of the revenue losses, he obtained severe cuts in spending for 'social' items, including Social Security, job training, college loan guarantees, aid to cities, food subsidies and medical care for the poor, disability payments for the handicapped, day-care centers for children, and geriatric centers."

A simple look at a Statistical Abstract would show now none of this garbage is true. Tax revenues lost? Individual income tax revenues increased from $286 billion in 1981 to $349 billion in 1986. Overall tax revenues increased from $599 billion in 1981 to $769 billion in 1986. Reagan's 21 million new jobs saw to that.

Drastic cuts in social spending? Social Security rose from $118.5 billion in 1980 to $287.5 billion in 1992. In the same time span, Medicaid went from $14 billion to $67.8 billion, food stamps from $9.1 billion to $21.8 billion, and AFDC from $6.9 billion to $15.1 billion. >From 1980 to 1992, defense spending rose 30 percent, while social spending rose 44 percent.

Encyclopedia accounts of Reagan may be reprehensible, but some textbooks are even worse. In the conservative weekly Human Events, Peter LaBarbera and Allan Ryskind found an incredibly sloppy mess called "A History of Us" by Joy Hakim. Some distortions are right out of the DNC playbook: "Supply-side economics didn't work. Reagan was spending more money on arms and weapons than had ever been spent before, and the government's income from taxes wasn't keeping up."

Some statements just aren't true: "The 80s, when he presided, were a high-living time. The rich got very rich, and the poor got much poorer." Census Bureau data -- those natty numbers again -- show that average family income increased in every fifth of income earners from 1982 to 1989.

Other statements were just goofy: "This president was about to make some radical changes in the nation's economy, but he did it in such a pleasant manner that at first hardly anyone noticed." Did this woman spend the 1980s in a cocoon?

And then there were the ridiculous mistakes that show this woman has no idea what she's doing, and rather than writing school textbooks, ought to be in school: "The deficit became GIGANTIC. It rose from $58 billion in 1981 (when Reagan became president) to $220 billion in 1986, to (SET ITAL) $2.3 trillion (END ITAL) in 1988 (when Reagan's presidency ended)."

Wow. Makes you wonder what the (SET ITAL) debt (END ITAL) was! Hakim makes no mention that in the last three Reagan years, the deficit dropped into the $150 million range. The actual deficit in 1988 was $155.2 billion. That beats the first few deficits of the Clinton years.

Don't dismiss this ridiculous nonsense. Hakim recently claimed that sales from the factually challenged Oxford University Press "are close to 1 million copies." Hakim defends her top-of-her-head observations as scholarship because "my aim in writing the books was to get boring textbooks out of our schools. ... Children, like the rest of us in the Information Age, want to read about things that really happened." (Insert snickers here.)

Despite the sad spectacle of Hakim's sloppy work, her 10-book series is touted across the country to school administrators and home-schooling parents. The Los Angeles Times declared the book with the Reagan tripe in it "caps off the liveliest, most realistic, most well-received American history series ever written for children."

The Human Events authors note that the "conservative" Weekly Standard recently published a piece by David Warren Saxe calling "The History of Us" the "excellent new history series," and wonder if anyone there bothered to read it. Judging by title Bill Kristol's call for conservatives to salute the big-government policies of FDR and JFK, I think the answer is ... yes.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2020 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.