Thanks to tireless efforts by historical revisionists over the past two decades, Ronald Reagan has gotten a lot of credit for achievements that he had nothing to do with. "Winning" the Cold War is a good example.
In reality, Reagan's policies had little or nothing to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In fact, the last thing the Military Industrial Complex ever wanted was to see the Cold War's end (and with it the trillion-dollar gravy train of "defense" contractor funding).
On the other hand, Reagan should get credit for something that he actually did achieve: laying the groundwork for the death of capitalism as we know it.
Capitalism had its first near-death experience during the Great Depression. Ironically, it was saved by the most progressive president that the U.S. ever had: Franklin D. Roosevelt. Although attacked by the business community at the time, FDR's New Deal in fact resurrected capitalism and gave it new life. The New Deal created the Great American Middle Class: tens of millions of well-paid workers that actually had the money to buy the products that the system produced.
It was a wonderful arrangement that made America a superpower and the most envied nation on the planet for decades to come.
However, America's wealthy never got over their hatred of FDR and the New Deal---despite the fact the latter saved capitalism from itself. The Rich & Powerful constantly plotted to abolish the New Deal. And in 1980, with Reagan's election, the wealthy class finally saw its chance to begin the attack on the New Deal---a process that continues to this day.
Under Reagan, middle class entitlements were slashed, as were programs to assist the poor. And sweeping changes in tax policy began to favor the very wealthy, at the expense of the middle class and the poor. Also, labor unions and labor laws were gutted. Lastly, under Reagan's disastrous "free trade" policies, America started shipping all its good-paying manufacturing jobs overseas.
The result of all this was that, under Reagan, the Great American Middle Class began to shrink---a process that continues to this day. And with a much-weakened middle class, U.S. capitalism has hit a major crisis in that fewer and fewer consumers are able to buy the products that the system produces.
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