Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Reagan, the union buster

Some of those who idolize Ronald Reagan like to believe he knocked down the Berlin Wall with the force of his personality and the strength of his convictions. While I usually scoff at such claims, I do think Reagan's move to fire the air traffic controllers in 1981 was a huge step toward defanging the union movement in America.

It was a significant turning point in the direction of the culture.

All these years later Reagan gets a lot of undeserved praise from modern conservatives for what went on during his eight years as president. Never mind that he both raised taxes and ran up a huge debt, he talked a lot about fiscal prudence. Never mind that he secretly dealt arms to Iran, Reagan talked tough and his legend as a conservative ass-kicker is preferred to the sad truth: He kicked Grenada's ass ... that's about it. 

However, the union-busting move mentioned above was important and it definitely pushed the nation to the right. Reagan's fans can legitimately claim that no president since the Great Depression did more to injure the lifestyle of American workers than Reagan.

If that makes him a hero in your book, then so be it.

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