Imaginary Alternatives: Reagan's $50

In one of his most quoted statements, Reagan said, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. " And then, in true Republican fashion, he went on to deregulate a hoard of industries that had a long, well-documented history of desperately needing regulating and he created one of the longest periods of unemployment and wild government spending in US history. In the end, he left a shattered economy and massive debt as his legacy. The Republican history revisionists want to recreate his legacy as one of moderation and economic opportunity. There was opportunity alright, but it was for mobsters who took over S&Ls, the military-industrial complex who had a field decade with taxpayer "investment," and Wall Street's gamblers.

What was lost was the opportunity to fix America's real problems: taking on alternative energy solutions, converting to international metric standards, downsizing the post-Cold War military, modernizing our education system, facing the end-of-the-Industrial-Period and American Century facts and realigning the country for those reduced resources, and the rest of the unaddressed list of real problems. Instead, Reagan put on his happy face and set the country back two decades or more. He deregulated the media, giving us Faux News and the rest of the right wing corporate spokesperson networks. He busted unions, shipping the working class out of the middle class and into debtor slavery. He set Wall Street free of its post-Depression shackles setting the economy up a half-dozen boom-and-bust cycles since he took office and turning our economy from one that produces goods and services to one that produces con games on an international scale.

In a complete flight of imagination, Republicans are promoting a change to the $50 bill. They want to replace U.S. Grant with Reagan's mug. There is some historical connection between the two: 1) they both headed supremely corrupt administrations providing federal and state prosecutors with working material for a decade after they left office, 2) they were both hands-off Presidents (Grant was drunk for his two terms, Reagan was senile and asleep through most of his administration), 3) they both presided over substantial periods of economic recession, and, least likely, 4) they both supported Civil Rights. Grant was a strong advocate for the 15th Amendment (before the Supreme Court turned it to crap) and Reagan once said, "I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary." Who would have thought that the man who took best advantage of the southern flight from the Democratic Party because of the Civil Rights Act actually believed in its principles? Of course, Ulysses Grant actually provided a service to his country, leading the nation's military against the hillbillies of the Old South and saving democracy, the Union, and ending slavery in North America (until the 20th Century revived slavery in a variety of forms, something R Reagan had a hand in).

Since Reagan never actually accomplished anything useful in the defense of the nation or in any other useful area, I think dumping Grant for Reagan would be a foolish mistake. However, Reagan and G.W. Bush did an awful lot toward burying the country in debt and I would strongly recommend that their likenesses be put on an instrument of debt; the $100 savings bond, for example. I am in no way a graphic artist, but the included example is along the lines of what I would recommend. A legend such as, "I need your money to burn" or "Buy U.S. Bonds so Democrats can pay off our bad debts" or something equally quaint could go a long way toward truth in advertising our national savings bonds.

It looks like the $50 Reagan bill is doomed to failure. Something like 80% of Americans favor Grant over Reagan. Apprarently, the repackaging of Sleepy Ronny hasn't gone as well as the promoters hoped. Republicans always want to take the easy way out of work, representing the idle rich as they do. It's going to take a lot more Faux News propaganda before Boomers forget their losses from Reaganonmics. Of course, the quote Reagan should have been remembered for is, "
It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?" He never did.

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