Paul Craig Roberts
Institute For Political Economy
A writer’s greatest disappointments are readers who have knee-jerk
responses. Not all readers, of course. Some readers are thoughtful and
supportive. Others express thanks for opening their eyes. But the
majority are happy when a writer tells them what they want to hear and
are unhappy when he writes what they don’t want to hear.
For the left-wing, Ronald Reagan is the great bogeyman. Those on the
left don’t understand supply-side economics as a macroeconomic
innovation that cured stagflation by utilizing the impact of fiscal
policy on aggregate supply. Instead, they see “trickle-down economics”
and tax cuts for the rich.
Leftists don’t understand that the Reagan administration intervened in
Grenada and Nicaragua in order to signal to the Soviets that there would
be no more Soviet expansion or client states and that it was time to
negotiate the end of the cold war. Instead, leftists see in Reagan the
origin of rule by the one percent and the neoconservatives’ wars for US
In 1981 curtailing inflation meant collapsing nominal
GNP and tax revenues. The result would be budget deficits–anathema to
Republicans– during the period of readjustment. Ending the cold war
meant curtailing the military/security complex and raised the specter in
conservative circles of “the anti-Christ” Gorbachev deceiving Reagan
and taking over the world.
In pursuing his two main goals, Reagan was up against his own
constituency and relied on rhetoric to keep his constituency on board
with his agenda. The left wing heard the rhetoric but failed to
comprehend the agenda.