|Which is more appropriate?|
This past week is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth. On its own the anniversary doesn't mean anything (nobody celebrated the 100th anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt's birth, for instance) other than this: there is a contemporary political agenda, lacking an individual standard-bearer, who seeks to advance their own cause by wrapping themselves in Reagan's hagiography.
Usually political movements can identify at least one stand-up guy to identify with. But the nascent regime cannot find a true believer able to withstand scrutiny, so they've done the next best thing: they're glommed onto the recognizable name of a dead man.
There are reasons to have a dead man as your standard bearer, especially when all the guidon-bearers mancqué fall so far short of even diminished expectations. The pre-vetted deceased are at least incapable of generating new embarrassments, such as CraigsList ads or taking wide stances in restrooms. Still, it must mean something if your best spokesman is a dead guy. Even Ross Perot, who was mildly eccentric at best, was able to pick a decent, honorable man as a provisional VP candidate.
What were Reagan's accomplishment's as President? What are the big things he is remembered for? Why did we name a boat after him?
- His inauguration appears to have prompted the Iranian release of the Embassy hostages, although Warren Christopher may have had more to do with it
- He embraced the Laffer Curve and renamed it Reagonomics
- His plan to bankrupt the Soviet Union seems to have worked, although it may have been a pyrrhic victory that let the military-industrial complex bankrupt our own country, ironically accomplishing McNamara's vision of mutually-assured destruction
- He advocated the Star Wars Initiative, for which we've given industry billions without tangible benefit
- He fired the striking PATCO air traffic controllers, changing the momentum of organized labor for at least the next thirty years
Fast forward to 2011Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond wherever is necessary in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state employees.
From today's New York Times:
- Governor Walker’s proposal would specifically remove the right of the university’s faculty and staff to bargain collectively.
- Mr. Walker made several proposals that will weaken not just unions’ ability to bargain contracts, but also their finances and political clout.
- His proposal would make it harder for unions to collect dues because the state would stop collecting the money from employee paychecks.
- He would further weaken union treasuries by giving members of public-sector unions the right not to pay dues. In an unusual move, he would require secret-ballot votes each year at every public-sector union to determine whether a majority of workers still want to be unionized.
- He would require public-employee unions to negotiate new contracts every year, an often lengthy process.
- He would limit the raises of state employees and teachers to the consumer price index, unless the public approves higher raises through a referendum.
The same people who bail out the financial industry and the automotive industry are taking away the bargaining rights of teachers and highway workers.
The legacy of Ronald Reagan, both in fact and in his repurposed imagery, is one of union-busting, bankruptcy, and a diminished middle-class. EBM has a very good take on it. RR offers solutions for the upcoming week.