Published On: Tue, Jun 1st, 2010

The Myth Of Reagan Conservatism

President Ronald Reagan Image/Executive Office of the President of the United States

President Ronald Reagan
Image/Executive Office of the President of the United States

Sean Hannity is always espousing this mythical creature called a Reagan conservative. Has Mr. Hannity and the rest of the Republicans who place this president on a pedestal ever objectively examined his record. Did government increase or decrease from 1981 to 1988? Mr. Reagan’s words certainly sounded conservative but my question is, how conservative was Ronald Reagan is his actions?

During Reagan’s 8 years in office the federal government spent a total of about 22% of GDP. (That’s the biggest-spending eight years since World War II.) Spending grew from $678 billion to $1.14 trillion. Impressive conservative record? Let’s go on. Mr. Reagan, like his successors Bush, Clinton , Bush 2 and now Obama have absolutely no problem with large deficit spending.

If government cuts taxes, but not spending, it still gets the money from somewhere—either by borrowing or inflating. Either method robs the productive private sector.

During his tenure there was unprecedented government debt. Reagan had tripled the Gross Federal Debt, from $900 billion to $2.7 trillion. Ford and Carter in their combined terms could only double it. It took 31 years to accomplish the first postwar debt tripling, yet Reagan did it in eight.

Foreign aid has also risen, from $10 billion to $22 billion. Every year, Reagan asked for more foreign-aid money than the Congress was willing to spend. He also pushed through Congress an $8.4 billion increase in the U.S. “contribution” to the International Monetary Fund.

Mr. Reagan increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts each year of his presidency.

He dramatically increased the War on Drugs costing the taxpayer billions of dollars and violating the rights of many US citizens.

He pledged to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy while campaigning, but after election it the budgets of these cabinets doubled. Reagan even promoted the creation of a new federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs to join the Departments of Education and Energy, which his administration was supposed to eliminate.

He damaged the free market by increasing trade barriers. The portion of imports under restriction has doubled since 1980. Quotas and so-called voluntary restraints have been imposed on a host of products, from computer chips to automobiles. He also promoted increasing spending on farm subsidies. Sound more and more conservative, huh?

He increased the federal workforce by 230,000.

This is just a small sampling of Ronald Reagan’s not-so-conservative record. It’s just a myth, and people like Hannity have elevated a general big government Republican into the God of the conservative movement.

Yes, I know, these numbers appear microscopic after 8 years of Bush and now Obama, but at the time these numbers were huge. Especially for the leader of the conservative movement.

Please people; let’s be honest about the reality of the man.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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