Some Things Reagan Got Wrong:

Trickle down economics:

Reagan believed that as the per capita gross domestic product of a country grows, in a free market economy, there will be a growth in income at all income levels in the society – the tide that lifts all boats, otherwise known as trickle down economics. In the period after World War II, up until the late sixties, the growth of gross domestic product corresponded to growth at all income levels. We were the economic engine that provided the goods that rebuilt the world after World War II, which helped our economy grow. World War II had destroyed the infrastructure of many countries, but not ours. Through the Marshall Plan, we also provided resources to help the other countries rebuild.

But, by the late sixties and early seventies, the baby boom generation was entering the work force, so the demand for jobs went up; a higher proportion of women began entering the work force, so the demand for jobs went up; and we started running a trade deficit – mainly due to our oil imports, because the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries cartel was able to raise world oil prices. And, the economies in Europe and Asia had recovered, so we no longer had the world markets that we had had before.

Our income growth started to stop with regard to personal median incomes. The median income for men was first greater than the median income for men in 2014, after adjusting for inflation, in 1969. From 1969 to 2014, male median income was on a roller coaster. (https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-income-people/p02.xls). Female median income increased, though, by a factor of about 1.8, from 1969 to 2014. (In 2014, male median income was larger than female median income by a factor of about 1.6.). The increase in median household income from 1969 to 2014 would have been from more households having two breadwinners. At the same time, more of the labor of bringing up children became paid labor.

The gross domestic product increased by a factor of about 3.4 from 1969 to 2014, adjusted for inflation. (http://www.bea.gov/national/xls/gdplev.xls). The population of those over age fifteen increased by about a factor of about 1.8. (http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk https://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/asrh/pre-1980/tables/PE-11-1969.pdf). So, there has been a lot of economic growth, but we have not been seeing economic growth trickling down to men and by just some to women – at least at the median.

Granted, taxes (federal, state, and local) and government spending as a proportion of gross domestic product have not come down over the last 35 years (http://taxfoundation.org/article/short-history-government-taxing-and-spending-united-states). Rather the percentages have fluctuated between about 25% to about 30% of gross domestic product for revenues and between about 30% to about 38% for expenditures.

The world will end in a nuclear fire:

From a show on the Public Broadcasting Network (I think) several years ago, Reagan feared that the prophecy that the world would end in fire referred to a nuclear holocaust. So Reagan worked to get rid of nuclear weapons (a laudable goal). More likely, our world will end in heat from the fires in our coal and natural gas driven steam turbines and our internal combustion engines, because of the greenhouse gasses we are putting into the atmosphere. Reagan, unfortunately, reversed the progress that Carter had made in moving us away from fossil fuels. We are years behind where we should be in dealing with climate change, because of Reagan (and others). And, because of Reagan, we have a generation of Republican politicians who refuse to acknowledge science and our, very good, understanding of what we are doing to our climate.

The problem is not not enough government, the problem is government:

When Reagan was 19 (1930) – the age near which our view of life is formed – the population of the United States was about 123 million, with about 41 people per square mile. By 2014, the population was about 319 million, with about 90 people per square mile, and we were far more urbanized. (Between 1930 and 2014, we added Alaska and Hawaii to our country, which added a lot of area – which diluted the population density.) Our population is getting denser (in more ways than one, given our lack of dealing with our – urgent – problems). Our nation is also a lot more urban now.

When masses of people live in close proximity, people have a lot of judgements of rights and wrongs. In Recovery International’s literature, Dr. Low writes and talks about how, in rights and wrongs, it takes an expert judge to decide who is right and who is wrong, and even then, the decision is just an opinion. Regulations help sort out the rights and wrongs.

We have seen recently in the economic expansion of China, the harm that business can do in a young and poorly regulated economy – from smog in the air to poisonous baby food. Our rules and regulations have grown out of similar problems in the past within our own country.

Even with our current businesses, our national lessons of smoking and climate change bear witness to the fact that big businesses are often unwilling to stop their businesses from producing in the face of harm resulting from the use of their product. We need to put limits on businesses, because business do not necessarily have a moral sense.

Protecting the natural world as our housing base, businesses, and farmland expand is also a real necessity. With more of us, we need to learn to live with the natural world and part of learning to live with the natural world is being regulated.

According to an op-ed by Robert Reich a few years ago, Republicans in Congress and their mission to cut taxes have starved the regulatory functions of our government. We have not had the funds to protect our people at the level necessary and legislated. Reich wrote that the result is the so-called “inefficiency” of government that Republicans like to say exists. Government agencies do not have the human-power to provide the services that are mandated by law. Republicans then blame government “inefficiency” for the poor or lack of or untimely services.

Desperation is a good motivator:

When Reagan was 19, the world was in, and near the beginning of, the Great Depression. Reagan had a good view of the effect of desperation on a society. In astrology, desperation is contained in one of the twelve houses – the eighth house. About one twelfth of our personal and communal lives should be about desperation. However, it is my belief that when a society deals with desperation on a mass scale, we get phenomena like Nazi Germany, the Taliban, and ISIS; all of which grew out of the aftermath of war. There is also the loss to society of the people who never recover after the desperate times – from those who commit suicide to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Yes, desperation can be a motivator, but it can also be very destructive of a society. We need to do what we can to reduce the costs of desperation, as a society, while maintaining the motivation generated by desperation.

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The Big Republican Lies

I grew up in the shadow of World War II in a town with a large Jewish population. We were taught about the Nazi’s. Seems to me for some time now that the Republicans are becoming more and more fascist. I think politicians must struggle with the temptation to use fascist techniques to win elections and that the Republicans have gone way over the line in using fascist technique. One technique that Hitler used was the ‘big’ lie. Tell a lie big enough and long enough and the people will believe the lie. I see Republicans doing big lies just about every day.

When I was in college, I purchased a copy Mein Kampf, by Hitler. I read part of the book many years ago and was struck by the similarity between the themes of Hitler’s attack and the hysteria of the religious (Republican) right. I have thought, for some years now, that I would randomly select pages from Mein Kampf and see if Hitler’s attacks are similar to, say, Rush Limbaugh’s. While I do not follow conservative pundits to any great degree, I will describe what is on each of the pages, paying attention to any present day relevance.

I used the random number table from my CRC tables to choose the page numbers. There are 200 lines in the table, with each line having 14 columns of 5 digits. I used R to generate a random number between 1 and 200, inclusive. R chose 147. I then had R choose a random number between 1 and 14, inclusive. R chose 14. I then had R choose randomly between 1 and 2, with 1 being going up in the table and with 2 being going down. R chose 2. So I started looking for numbers on the 147tth line and the 14th column and I went down the column to find the numbers. The pages of text in Mein Kampf go from 3 to 688. I found 10 numbers, for 10 pages in the book, between 3 and 688, inclusive, by going down the first 3 digits in the column and choosing any set of three digits between 003 and 688, inclusive, below line 146 in the column. When I reached the end of the column, I started again at the top of the column and looked at the last two digits in the column along with the first digit in the next column (the next column being on the next page). My copy of Mein Kampf, is the Houghton Mifflin Sentry Edition C, copyright 1943, translated by Ralph Manheim. The random pages I found were 54, 126, 134, 191, 206, 291, 395, 476, 594, and 603.

Page 54:

On this page, Hitler complains about the Reichstag restricting the Kaiser’s speech, calling the legislators imbeciles, idiots, and babblers. He then criticizes the press for the coverage of the Kaiser by the press, excepting an anti-semitic newspaper. At the bottom of the page, he says that adulation of French culture in the big press would make any German ashamed to be German.

Comment: While Obama has recently criticized Fox news for biased coverage, the Republicans have been complaining for years about a liberal bias in the press. I do not know if there is a pundit out there calling the press names.

Page 126:

Hitler writes about his happiness to be in the German city of Munich doing German art in 1912 , as compared to the Babylon of Vienna.

Comment: Idealizing one’s own culture, while running down other cultures, particularly calling other cultures degenerate, seems to be a facet of fascism. The religious right, anyone? Sarah Palin?

Page 134:

Hitler writes about population outgrowing food supply and how, if a country does not take over a less powerful country with land, the population of a country will have to restrict the growth of the population. Countries that are not of high culture will continue to expand in population.

Comment: Have you read The Bell Curve?

Page 191:

Writes about being wounded in world war I in 1916, after fighting for two years, and returning to Germany to a hospital. Describes the emotions felt on returning to the German fatherland and how proud the soldiers had been on going to war in 1914 as opposed to how discouraged the soldiers were when Hitler was wounded.

Comment: Though being removed from the stress of fighting after two years would seem like heaven to anyone, we see a personalization of the sense of failure at war by Hitler. Certainly, after the failure of Vietnam, there was a conservative backlash in this country and a search for blame.

Page 206:

Writes about his anger and feeling of helplessness on the surrender of Germany in World War I and the end of the imperial crown. Hitler writes of developing hatred for those responsible for the loss of the war. Felt Germany would get no mercy, the Kaiser had collaborated with the Marxists, Jews could not be negotiated with. Hitler writes of deciding to go into politics.

Comment: Fascists always seem to find someone to blame for their suffering and failure. Anyone who disagrees or sees a different future is dangerous.

Page 291:

Writes about the Japanese developing culturally because of European influence; the superiority of Western technology and science; that Japanese culture would stagnate if the culture ceased to have contact with the West; that only Aryan cultures, which have small populations, are responsible for advances in cultures, the masses of a culture being inferior and only supportive. Writes that advances in culture come either from foreign domination or a racial creative nucleus, mainly from inferior cultures being conquered by small superior Aryan populations.

Comment: The superiority of one’s own culture and one’s culture’s importance is a common theme for fascists. I believe one can hear such stuff with respect to African Americans and white culture, or America and the rest of the world.

Page 395:

Expounds on the inherent cultural ability of a country being based on and dependent on the racial purity of the population of the country.

Comment: It gets very crazy, doesn’t it.  Certainly, some parts of white America are very frightened of dark persons immigrating, worried about the purity of American culture.

Page 476:

Criticizes a German journalist for not recognizing that Lloyd George had great appeal to the lower class of England while a German politician, though witty and intelligent, had little appeal to the masses. Complains that German intellectuals write and speak to the educated classes and lack appeal to the average person.

Comment: Shades of the conservative denigrating ‘ivory towers’. Or, the use of appealing pseudo science by the administrations of Reagan and G. W. Bush. Or the emotional appeal of Rush Limbaugh.

Page 594:

Brags about the party newspaper and workers, that the paper encouraged only those who worked well, and that was the reason for the success of the paper when many other papers were failing and many persons were out of work. Brags about getting rid of committees in the party, calling members of committees babbling, interfering, and ‘know it alls’ who did not give good direction. Hitler took over the direction of the party by himself.

Comment: Only the conservatives know how to run a business and the running of the business must be from the top down. Once again, calling people who question names.

Page 603:

Writes about how to approach destroying Marxist unions and creating National Socialist unions. Writes how no unions were helpful at the time to which Hitler was referring since there was no work or money and inflation was bad. Writes had no leader capable of taking on the task of forming a National Socialist union. Complains about an incident because of which Marxist unions grew.

Comment: Anti communism anyone. Reagan?

What I remember from reading part of Mein Kampf years ago is the recurring theme of the Hitler feeling that German culture had degenerated and there was a need to reverse the degeneration and bring Germany back to being cultural greatness. How often have we heard the theme?  Seems like every fundamentalist preacher these days is preaching about American degeneracy. I am afraid it sounds like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and their desire to bring back American ‘decency’ and superiority. In reality, there were no halcyon days of old where everyone was pure and what was created by the culture was superior. The halcyon days never existed.

As a student of astrology, I think in the framework of the people of the world having many different paths. What is appropriate for one, or one generation, is not necessarily appropriate for another, and vice versa. There will always be those who have to be different (me, for example). There will always be those who cling to the traditional. Society, as a group, tends to swing between extremes, but we all have something to offer. My generation was a generation with the energy of the exploration of romance and love. And we did explore romance and love (the last such generation was while Mallory was living in the 15th century). The generation of Obama and Palin are exploring work and power, purity and sex, reason and the occult, the power of the psychic space when approached in a detailed manner.  I believe fascists, and many others, tend to think there is only one correct way to live. Thank goodness and our founding progenitors that our democracy is flexible enough to let us stand up for our own truths in the face of a changing society. Many societies are not so flexible. However, the move on the rights towards fascism disturbs me. While, to many, fascist ideas may seem like common sense, lest you think the trend toward fascism is benign, I would remind you of the concentration camps and the “final solution’.

We humans seem to have a inherent ability to shut out others, whether human, animal, or plant. We see this all of the time. We see specific groups being targeted to be ostracized at any time in society. (In America, I suspect the right has been putting the blame for our problems on feminists and feminism. Am I wrong in this?) I suspect that in times of terror, for example, when an economy is collapsing, as in post World War I Germany, or after a tornado, such as in my town here in Iowa, people look for persons to vent their discomfort on, the most vulnerable in the society. Certainly, those persons whose lives are destroyed have no blame for the problem. I suspect the persons just give society a place to release the society’s terror.

Watching the election these past few months, I am afraid  the Republican party has strayed far on the course toward fascism.  Big lie after big lie after big lie.  I suspect the manipulation is conscious and deliberate, putting the needs of the country behind the drive for political power.  However, we cannot forget the lessons of the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Germany was a highly cultured and civilized country.  Do you think the horror could happen here?  The horror is possible.