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Ronald Reagan doesn't cut it

To outsiders Americans seem to put their presidents on a pedestal - be they good, bad or indifferent.  

thinkprogress has "done" a ranking of US presidents and finds that at least 5 are more than wanting.    One of them Ronald Reagan, poster-boy for so many in the GOP.

"President Reagan ushered in the misguided era of massive deficits, bloated military spending and tax cuts for the very rich that America still struggles to this day to put to an end. Yet Reagan wrongly receives credit for the economic boom that began a few years into his presidency due to events entirely outside of his control. When Reagan took office, America faced double-digit inflation rates matched with a sharp spike in unemployment.   Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, a Carter appointee, chose to break the first problem by exacerbating the second — driving up interest rates in a successful effort to break inflation. 

When Volcker finally took the brakes off the economy and ended the recession he created by lowering interest rates back to more normal levels, housing and auto sales took off, the economy boomed back to life, and Reagan rode the undeserved credit to a second term in the White House.

As Rosalynn Carter once said, Reagan made America “comfortable with our prejudices.” Reagan infamously began the final leg of his presidential campaign by traveling to the Mississippi town where three civil rights workers were brutally murdered and proclaiming “I believe in states’ rights.” Reagan ignored the AIDS crisis for years. He gave us Justice Antonin Scalia. And he tried and failed to appoint another justice who once claimed that the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters is rooted in a “principle of unsurpassed ugliness.”

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