Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, March 5, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, March 5, 2011 



Publisher/ Editor

Susan Henderson

City Editor

Dean Lee 


Patricia Colonello



Art Director

Allison Kirkham

Production Assistant

Richard Garcia


Jacqueline Truong

Lina Johnson


Teresa Baxter

Pat Birdsall

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Mary Carney

La Quetta Shamblee

Glenn Lambdin

Greg Wellborn

Ralph McKnight

Trish Collins

Pat Ostrye

Editorial Cartoonist

Ann Cleaves


John Aveny 

HAIL Hamilton My Turn


What Conservatives Don’t Want You To 
Know About Ronald Reagan

 The roots of our current economic 
crisis can be traced back to Ronald 
Reagan. He was the first president 
to state unequivocally that “budget deficits don’t matter” 
as long as economic growth is there to counter it. 
And it was his “trickle-down economics,” as well as his 
penchant for “off the books budgeting” that G.W. Bush 
embraced years later to justify his huge tax cuts for the 
wealthy and funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
Here are a few things conservatives don’t want you to 
know about Ronald Reagan.

• Reagan was a serial tax raiser. As governor of California, 
Reagan signed into law the largest tax increase 
in the history of any state up till then. Meanwhile, state 
spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan raised 
taxes 11 times in seven of his eight years in office, including 
four times in just two years. Characterizing Reagan 
as an anti-tax zealot is false; he was never afraid to 
raise taxes.

• Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. 
During the Reagan years, the debt increased to nearly 
$3 trillion, roughly three times as much as the first 80 
years of the century had done altogether. Despite the 
conservative myth that tax cuts somehow increase revenue, 
the government went deeper into debt and Reagan 
had to raise taxes just a year after he enacted his tax cut. 
He raised taxes on everything from gasoline to corporate 
income, but was never able to get the deficit under 

• Unemployment soared after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts. 
Unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted 
his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the 
rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, 
income inequality exploded. Despite the myth that Reagan 
presided over an era of unmatched economic boom 
for all Americans, since 1980, median 
household income has risen only 30 
percent, adjusted for inflation, while 
average incomes at the top have tripled, in some cases 

• Reagan grew the size of the federal government 
tremendously. Reagan promised to move boldly, decisively, 
and quickly to control the runaway growth of 
federal spending, but federal spending ballooned under 
Reagan. He bailed out Social Security in 1983 after attempting 
to privatize it, and set up a progressive taxation 
system to keep it funded into the future. He promised to 
cut government agencies like the Department of Energy 
and Education but ended up adding one of the largest 
- the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which today has 
a budget of nearly $90 billion and close to 300,000 employees. 
He also hiked defense spending by over $100 
billion a year to a level not seen since the height of the 
Vietnam war. 

• Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented 
immigrants. Reagan signed into law a bill that made any 
immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 
eligible for amnesty. The bill was sold as a crackdown, 
but its tough sanctions on employers who hired undocumented 
immigrants were removed before final passage. 
The bill helped 3 million people and millions more family 
members gain American residency. 

• 1983 Beirut, Lebanon barracks bombing by Hezballoh 
terrorist of two separate buildings housing United 
States and French members of the Multinational Peacekeeping 
Force - killing 299 American Marines and 
French servicemen. The blasts led to the withdrawal of 
the peacekeeping force from Lebanon, where they had 
been stationed since the withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation 
Organization following the 1982 Israeli invasion 
of Lebanon.

• Reagan illegally funneled weapons to terrorist Iran. 
Reagan and other senior U.S. officials secretly sold arms 
to Iran, a known supporter of terrorism, which was subject 
to an arms embargo at the time, in exchange for 
American hostages. Funds from illegal arms sales and 
drug trafficking also went to fund anti-communist Contra 
death squads in Nicaragua - something Congress 
had already prohibited the administration from doing. 
When the deals went public, the Iran-Contra Affair, as 
it came to be known, was an enormous political scandal 
that forced several senior administration officials to 

• Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin 
Laden. Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union 
by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist 
mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled 
billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and 
sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the 
Pakistani intelligence service (ISI). The Taliban and Osama 
Bin Laden - a prominent mujahideen commander - 
emerged from these mujahideen groups Reagan helped 

 I am amazed how conservatives either deny the 
less savory aspects of Reagan’s presidency, or genuinely 
don’t know the truth of his legacy. Recently when a caller 
pressed conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh 
about why Reagan “a tax-raising, amnesty-giving, 
cut-and-run, negotiating-with-terrorists guy is a hero to 
the conservative movement.” Limbaugh flew into a tirade 
and demanded, “Where did you get this silly notion 
that Reagan raised

STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE


By the time you read this article you 
will probably have completely forgotten 
about the Academy Awards 
presentations; and it’s true that this 
Award Show contained every reason 
to be forgotten quickly. But before it 
completely vanishes from our minds, 
there is a great lesson to be learned 
from reviewing the two and one half 
hour extravaganza. I will spare you 
the suspense and reveal the lesson right now. Ready? 

For you lucky readers who managed to avoid the whole 
experience, or have already pushed it out of your minds, 
letting the cat out of the bag early is my clever (maybe 
not so clever) attempt at satirizing the playing of a 
voiceover of the King’s Speech speech while the nominees 
for movie of the year were being announced. Surprise, 
surprise the King’s Speech was selected as movie 
of the year. Now, what does it say about America that 
another dreary movie about the horribly privileged English 
Royal Family is the recipient of seemingly continuous 
awards? Why do Americans pay so much attention 
to this group of over-privileged, undeservedly wealthy, 
elitist and forever confused, spoiled children? The answer 
of course is obvious. Americans, in their child-like 
fantasies, dream of being Kings and Queens and attending 
Royal Weddings in their summer palaces. And what 
does one have to do to become a King or Queen? Why, 
simply be born in the right place at the right time and 
learn the proper procedure regarding curtsying and the 
use of cutlery. It is amazing that while the whole world 
seems to scream for Democracy, Americans ignore these 
screams and fawn over royalty.

This disconnection from the rest of the world’s concerns 
was obvious during the entire program. One person 
did raise the interesting question as to why there was no 
jailing of Bankers who brought about the present world- 
wide economic disaster, but that was one lone comment 
in hours of irrelevancy. In former years the winners 
and presenters were festooned with ribbons noting their 
connection to significant causes, like disaster or disease 
relief. This year there was no such connection. Furthermore, 
although as always there were documentaries and 
films that related to the problems of the real world, these 
problems were completely ignored. In fact the winners, 
almost without exception, did not refer to the substance 
of their films but instead revealed themselves to mainly 
be interested in thanking their personal staffs for helping 
them make a lot of money and to pick out nice clothes. 
After all, isn’t that what everything is really all about?

Look at the way Kirk Douglas was treated. Here is a man 
who is actually living history. If I recall correctly, it was 
he who broke the Hollywood Blacklist of the 1950’s by 
employing writers who had refused to give information 
to the House Un-American Activities Committee. He 
was the lead character in Stanly Kramer Movies such as 
“Lonely are The Brave” in which the virtue of a life governed 
by principle was examined.

No, I know the presentation was not supposed to be political 
but the whole thing reminded me of the Constitutional 
Convention in which the matter of slavery was not 
discussed because it might have been too disruptive. We 
all know how well that worked out.

Missing in action were actors like Sean Penn, Tim Robins, 
Susan Sarandon and all former Academy Award 
Winners, who had shown an involvement in political 
concerns. Look, to my mind everything is political, and 
the politics of this show was to demonstrate that what 
really is important is just plain glitz. How many times 
did that unbearably misused Anne Hathaway change 
clothes? I guess that is her main talent and the reason 
she was picked. In fact the whole night seemed to be 
about the misuse of talent. Introducing the singers of 
nominated songs was Jennifer Hudson - a kind of American 
hero because of her background and her weight-loss 
and the fact that that gal sure can sing. But did we get 
to hear her sing? Nope, her function was to introduce 
Gwyneth (who I think she called Gynifer) Paltrow to 
sing some faux-country song. Gwyneth Paltrow—isn’t it 
possible to have real singers sing the songs?

Commentators - and the hostess - herself, have explained 
that the show was an attempt to appeal to a younger demographic. 
That means people with enough energy to 
actually leave the house and go to the movies. Probably, 
the show’s producers know what they are doing. This 
younger demographic is probably unaware of their own 
value besides being shallow, uninterested in history or 
issues and probably concerned most about style and 
hair and finding the people who can help them get a job. 
Maybe these are the major concerns of the Americans 
of the future but what does it say about the future of 

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In a week when former 
Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-
AK) describes President 
Obama’s “growing up in 
Kenya with a Kenyan 
father and grandfather”, 
and Gov. Rick Perry (R-
TX) refers to Ciudad Juarez as “the most 
dangerous city in America”, we hear calls 
from newly-Republican statehouses to 
de-fund education and de-value teachers 
(along with calls to dismiss global warming 
and doubt evolution).

 In a month when workers occupy the 
palace demanding ruling oligarchs recognize 
their rights, we find the setting to 
be the Wisconsin capitol at Madison, with 
sympathizers sending words of encouragement 
(and pizza) from Egypt.

 In a year when the approach of April 15th 
amplifies discussions on equitable sharing 
of the tax burden, we learn that if we 
paid any federal taxes at all, we paid more 
than ExxonMobil, General Electric, Bank 
of America and Citigroup - combined.

 It’s a strange world. Education is derided 
while national figures flaunt ignorance of 
presidential biography, basic geography 
and science. Emerging from an historic 
recession is seen as an opportune time 
to strip public employees of collective 
bargaining rights. Politicians work tirelessly 
protecting loopholes to shield profits 
of multi-billion dollar corporations, 
while shamelessly declaring it’s the $30-
60 thousand-a-year nurses, teachers and 
firefighters who need to sacrifice.

 There’s a proposal to trim the federal 
budget by $1.1 trillion over ten years, 
shrinking or eliminating over 200 federal 
programs, primarily with cuts in social 
services and education; there are cuts in 
heating subsidies for low-income families, 
college scholarships for promising 
students, support for the Environmental 
Protection Agency, etc. That’s the proposal 
from President Obama.

It’s a proposal Republicans would barely 
consider a starting point. To demonstrate 
their focus on the deficit, they first want 
to add to it (by some $230 billion, according 
to the Congressional Budget Office) 
by repealing the Affordable Care Act. So 
we don’t become too complacent about 
our old age, they want to turn Social Security 
over to the same yahoos who gambled 
away our 401(k)’s - allowing tens-
of-billions of dollars worth of working 
families’ retirement plans to vanish while 
collecting their own multi-million dollar 

 For Medicare, their solution is to divert 
more billions into the hands of 
private insurance executives, rather 
than allowing those public funds to be 
spent on actual healthcare. The philosophy 
behind the “Medicare Part D” option 
enacted under Bush proved instrumental 
in creating the Medicare budget problems 
we face today - so, naturally, Republicans 
want to expand on it.

 Republicans in the House push a budget 
for 2011 containing $61 billion in cuts, 
gutting aid to states (which face a combined 
$125 billion shortfall for 2012) and 
halting stimulus programs responsible for 
encouraging the recovery we’ve seen over 
the past several months, with the creation 
of 4 million jobs (so far). To ensure the 
deficit remains an issue in 2012, though, 
they’ve coupled those $61 in cuts, which 
would’ve been pumped back into the 
economy, with $70 billion in tax cuts for 
the wealthiest 2%, which will be pumped 
into off-shore tax shelters.

Whether federal, state or household, 
budgets consist of income in addition to 
expenditures. The question is how equitably 
that contribution responsibility is 

 I listed above four corporations which, 
as reported from 2009, paid no federal 
taxes. (In the case of Bank of America, 
our largest bank and 5th-largest corporation, 
we handed them a $2.3 billion 
refund.) According to a congressional 
report release by the General Accounting 
Office in 2008, two-thirds of American 
companies (and 68% of foreign companies 
doing business here) paid no federal 
taxes from 1998 through 2005 - despite 
a combined $2.5 trillion in revenue. A 
quarter of American companies with over 
$250 million in assets, or $50 million in 
sales, companies with a combined $1.1 
trillion in revenue, reported no taxable 
income for 2005.

 One of those who requested the report, 
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), observed 
(with considerable understatement), “The 
tax system that allows this wholesale tax 
avoidance is an embarrassment and unfair 
to hardworking Americans who pay 
their fair share of taxes.”

 Last year, the U.S. Public Interest Research 
Group reported an IRS finding 
that $5 trillion in assets are held by corporations 
and individuals in offshore tax 
shelters. Goldman Sachs, recipient of a 
$10 billion taxpayer bailout, brought their 
standard 35% corporate tax rate down 
to an effective 1% rate by what they call 
(continued on page 14)


 As I See It


GREG Welborn

The raucous debate in Wisconsin over 
union rights and privileges has certainly 
gotten ugly – with some lawmakers fleeing 
the state to avoid having to cast votes 
on the issue – but this is by no means just 
a local Wisconsin issue. What’s being 
debated and tested there will soon be the 
hot topic in state capitals across the land. 
We need to understand what’s really going 
on here so that an informed electorate 
can influence their representatives at 
all levels to fix a system which is literally 
destroying us.

As a conservative, I’ll be the first to say 
that unions should have a right to exist. 
Workers should also have a right to join 
a union and allow the union to negotiate 
for them. But on the other hand, workers 
should have the right not to join a 
union if they choose and/or be free to 
leave the union if they believe that is in 
their best interest. In similar fashion, 
business owners should be free to oppose 
unions. As conservatives, we believe 
in individual freedom and trust that 
a free market will sort out what’s best for 
everyone. Workers clearly want to get 
the highest wage they possibly can, and 
they have no moral responsibility to take 
into consideration the business owner’s 
demands. The business owner clearly 
wants to pay the lowest wage possible, 
and they have no moral responsibility to 
take into consideration the workers’ demands. 
Each party argues vigorously for 
their own interests, and the resulting negotiation 
will result in a mutually agreeable 
outcome. Workers will work for the 
wage they think they can get, and owners 
will pay the wage they think they can 
afford. So long as both sides are free to 
pursue their self interest and neither side 
is favored by the government, the system 
is fair for everyone.

Sadly, the system hasn’t always been fair. 
In the early part of the previous century, 
businesses were successful in convincing 
and/or bribing politicians to pass 
laws that unfairly favored them. Thus 
union power rose as workers sought the 
strength of collective bargaining to even 
the odds. Over time, business owners 
have learned that it is in their best interest 
to treat workers well in order to get 
the most qualified workers. As a result, 
union representation rose to a high of 
about 40% of the workforce in the 1940s 
and then gradually fell to its current 7% 
level. Along the way, unions learned 
how to play the political 
game and were 
successful in getting 
laws passed that 
weakened business 
owners’ rights and 
forced workers to join 

Union leaders have 
seen their power slip away as more workers 
chose not to join unions in response 
to the increasing generosity of business 
owners. Rather than accept a natural 
diminished role in the economy, union 
leaders have fought back by turning to 
the public sector – by unionizing public 
employees. One of the key differences 
here is that unions have an inherently 
unfair advantage against employers in 
the public sector. The unions represent 
the workers, they get to contribute vast 
sums of money to the politicians who 
then sit across the table from them in 
negotiations about how much of the 
taxpayers’ money will be given to public 
workers. Absent from the negotiations 
are the actual voters or even someone 
who has an incentive to represent them 
honestly and forcefully.

The crux of today’s problem in state 
capitals across the country is that nobody 
has stood against the unions with 
a vested interest in opposing their demands. 
Without at least an approximate 
equality of power in the negotiations, the 
voters have been sold down the river, and 
public workers now earn substantially 
more than their counterparts in private 

Consider these statistics. Public workers 
earn on average about 5% more in 
wages than their private industry counterparts. 
That doesn’t seem too out of 
balance, but wages are not the only form 
of compensation. Ask anyone who has 
looked at their healthcare benefits and 
retirement benefits how important those 
items are, and you’ll get an ear full. This 
is where public employees have been able 
to hit a home run. When we add in job 
security, health benefits and retirement 
benefits, public employees earn on average 
30% more than their private industry 

This is simply an unsustainable situation. 
It was tolerable for awhile because health 
and retirement benefits were future benefits 
for which payment didn’t have to be 
made right away. (continued page 14)

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