Opinion

Two Ticking Time Bombs That Began Under Reagan And Are Only Getting Worse

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Posted: Sep 23, 2019 12:01 AM
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Two Ticking Time Bombs That Began Under Reagan And Are Only Getting Worse

Source: AP Photo/Barry Thumma, File)

I grew up during the Reagan years, and I remember them well. To me, the war and social upheavals of the 60s were history I’d never experienced and the country had thankfully moved past, and I was too young to remember the Carter malaise. So, the sense of national unity, patriotism, and optimism under the Gipper seemed like the norm, not an eight-year aberration, for a child of the 80s like myself. In hindsight, President Reagan was exactly what the country needed at the time. His inspiring speeches, calming demeanor, and even strident anti-communism were the perfect tonic for a previously fractured country. Obviously, he had his political enemies, but at least they were relatively congenial about it, and the partisan divisions didn’t seem quite as partisan, nor as personal, as they seem now.

Bush Senior’s 1988 victory was more than just a continuance of Reagan’s term, it was also a validation of his policies. The aristocratic, genteel Bush was no Ronald Reagan, but he was the next best thing. To someone who spent every year of grade school and high school with a Republican in office, it seemed like we would never lose. So, as you can imagine, Bill Clinton’s stunning 1992 victory over Bush not only denied him a second term, it absolutely broke the heart of a politically passionate college student who never really knew what it was like to lose to a Democrat, much less a socialist-loving, draft-dodging liberal. (In that sense, I do have a small slice of sympathy for how liberal millennials felt losing to Trump after eight years of Obama.)

Fast forward through eight years of Clinton, eight years of the younger Bush, and eight years of Obama, all the way to the election of 2016. Since 1992, no election result has rocked me to my core, in either direction, like 2016. As down as I was that year, the reverse and more defined my demeanor that November night 24 years later. If anyone could turn the map and win the Rust Belt, I knew Trump could. But whether ANYONE could was a question until that fateful night. When the talking heads first announced Wisconsin to Trump, I remember feeling like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. The die was cast and it was just a matter of time until either Pennsylvania or Michigan came along. When they did, our country had a fighting chance after all.

The past three years, of course, haven’t gone exactly as we conservatives would have liked, but all in all, it’s hard to dispute that Trump is governing as a conservative and is making decisions, especially in the realm of judicial nominations, that put us in a more solid place going forward than we otherwise would have been. The economy is booming. Unemployment is low, and opportunities abound for those willing to work hard.

Still, even with our victories, an unsettled feeling looms, a dark cloud hovering over what seems like should be a bright future. In truth, two ticking time bombs that could very well bring our country to ruin began in earnest under Ronald Reagan, continued under every succeeding president, and have only gotten worse under Trump, despite what I firmly believe are his best intentions. 

National Debt

When Reagan assumed office in 1981, the less than $1 trillion national debt was 32 percent of GDP. When he left, it had almost tripled and was approaching 50 percent of an ever-growing GDP. Critics who were concerned then couldn’t possibly have imagined the debt being $24 trillion and well over 100 percent of GDP, but that’s where we are, and it’s not sustainable. 

“Already interest on the federal debt – $324 billion – exceeds annual spending on transportation, international affairs, employment, training, and social services,” David Wessel of the Hutchins Center explains. “And since more than 40 percent of the federal debt is held by foreigners, particularly China and Japan, a lot of those interest payments go abroad. This, too, will erode the growth of U.S. living standards over time.”

“The longer we wait to put the federal budget on a sustainable course, the bigger and more abrupt the changes in government benefits and taxes will have to be,” he continued. “Changes are inevitable; the sooner we start, the more gradual and gentle they can be.”

Except politicians these days, including Trump, don’t have the political will or often even the desire to make any changes that would point this ship in the right direction deficit-wise, and they aren’t likely to ever have it unless they are absolutely forced to do so by a severe economic crash.

Immigration

Nobody imagined then that the amnesty deal under Reagan would result in tons of amnesty and virtually zero border control, but it’s only gotten worse since then. Like it or not, demography equals destiny. It … just … does. Fill the country with socialist-loving immigrants who think their countries of origin would be totally wonderful if only their former countries could afford to give them all the free stuff they’re about to score in the United States, and pretty soon they’re helping to ensure their new country is just as hellish as the old one. It happens inside the country too as. For example, Californians move to Texas to escape that state’s crappy policies and high standard of living only to vote to implement those things in places like Austin. 

Sadly, such immigration from both inside and outside the country is boosting Democrats’ hopes to win Texas in 2020 for the first time since Jimmy Carter pulled it off in 1976. The demographic changes are happening in other places as well, obviously, as Democrats continue their push for a “permanent Democratic majority” under the pretense of actually caring for the plight of immigrants. When Texas goes blue, the nation goes permanently blue as well, and when that happens it won’t be long before you can kiss your freedoms, and America, goodbye.

I believe Trump means well, and I think his reelection could put things off for several years if he’s able to somehow secure the border and curb spending to some degree. One thing is for certain: a Democrat in office would have absolutely sped this train to its ultimate derailing much faster. However, regardless of when it happens, a debt crisis will bring this country to its knees financially in ways none of us have ever experienced, only serving to exacerbate existing societal fractures the current rolling economy has managed to keep under wraps thus far. Immigration will eventually turn the country blue, ultimately meaning socialism, totalitarianism, freedom suppression, massive societal unrest and an unavoidable economic crash.

Either way or both, all of us should prepare for rocky times ahead.