- Created and supported the terroristic drug-running Contras, responsible for the rape, torture and murder of thousands
- Took Saddam Hussien off the Terrorist List in order to sell him the chemical weapons that annihilated Kurds and Iranians alike
- De-regulated Wall Street, one of the effects being the 2008 depression. It’s his deficit we are living with, as exposed by neo-liberal think-tank Mises
“The result has been unprecedented government debt. Reagan has 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.”
- Gave corporations power not seen since the 19th century, leading to the paradoxical effect of higher worker productivity but lower wages (illegal firing of union organisers tripled under his leadership, and protectionism increased)
- Propped up South African apartheid at a time practically every other nation shunned it
Ignorance of what he actually did is one reason. Personality trumps policy far too often in American politics (geddit?). And so his white grin is remembered while his genocidal campaign in Central America is forgotten. (He’s very similar to JFK in that regard – how often do people recall that the Vietnam War was largely his fault?)
Another reason is the fact he was a highly successful class warrior. He bolstered the new Right (neo-cons and neo-libs), reversed the New Deal consensus, introduced the baseless “trickle down” and is loved by the business class for doing so. Generally: make rich happy = good press.
As you can probably guess – being a moderately close relative of the bastard – I have to deal with the nonsense surrounding his legacy rather more than I would like to.