Watchdog Blog

Gilbert Cranberg: Reagan’s the One

Posted at 10:54 am, December 5th, 2011
Gilbert Cranberg Mug

Having for years emaciated education and other public services, the powers that be in California are considering raising taxes. That’s right, the great unmentionable suddenly has become fit for conversation in mixed company.

While on the subject of taboos, I would fix responsibility for making it virtually impossible for years to have rational debate on higher taxes on the revered Ronald Reagan. He put the subject almost off-limits with a simple-minded slogan: “It’s your money.” With those few words, Reagan made selfishness respectable.

Of course, taxes are the taxpayer’s money. But so what? Society could not function without the resources to fix potholes, operate prisons or support all the myriad other things civilized communities require. Reagan made it seem almost illegitimate for public officials to spend “your” money for a public purpose.

We do not worship idols in this country. If not for that, the Republicans would have seen to it that Reagan’s image is venerated everywhere. If they keep the House and regain the Senate, they still might. Uncritical Reagan worship has blinded people to the reality that he was a genial and likable but narrow-minded and very conservative politician.

The “it’s your money” mantra has inflicted untold harm on the country. The sooner the public recognizes it for the empty and thought-paralyzing slogan it is the better off the country will be.

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