To get this lesson started, let me take you way back to a simpler time. A time of Heineken and tight jeans. Led Zeppelin and the Muppets. A time known as the Bicentennial- 1976.
~~groovy psychedelic fade in~~
The bicentennial was a time of overwhelming “patriotism” celebrating the signing of the declaration of Independence 200 years prior in 1776. American flags were so prevalent that whole God damned country looked like a post 911 Fourth of July celebration. Even radical artists and activists like Bob Dylan and Abbie Hoffman got into the mix with American flag fashion. And it also inspired the biggest lie to be told to the American people in the past 50 years: Neo-Liberalism.
See, as we had just finished fighting the commies in Korea and Vietnam, the absolute least patriotic thing you could do was be a communist. So, some very sly and crafty politicians, like our good friend Mr. Reagan, flipped it around: the MOST patriotic thing you could be was an Extreme Capitalist!
F***ing brilliant right?! WRONG. You see, this mindset set the legislation in motion, that set the precedent and trend in legislation in motion, of systematically cutting from social and education services in order to lessen taxes for larger businesses. You following? Good. Let me break it down for you.
In his early days, Reagan actually started out as a liberal democrat and champion of the New Deal policies of Democrat president Franklin D. Roosevelt. He even helped out with the 1950 senate election of Helen Gahagan Douglas over Richard Nixon. However, when he got hired to host the General Electric Theater series in the mid 1950s, he started to adopt the very conservative views of the large corporation that employed him, endorsing conservative politicians as a registered Dem. Eventually, in 1966, he was nominated by the Republican Party for Governor, with the campaign promises of “Getting those welfare bums back to work” and “fixing that mess in Berkeley” (in response to the free speech movement of students like Mario Savio and Angela Davis) He was elected, and in his first term, still approved tax increases to balance the budget, as opposed to large program cuts. Walk with me.
Reagan was true to his word to stand up against the students. In May of 1969, he ordered CHP to break up the People’s Park protest of Berkeley in an event that would go down in Hystory as Bloody Thursday, as it led to the death of Student James Rector and the blinding of Alan Blanchard. After that, he ordered 2,200 national guard troops to occupy the city of Berkeley in order to prevent the student protest backlash. A year after “Bloody Thursday”, Reagan responded to questions about campus protest movements saying, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.” When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty Hearst in Berkeley and demanded the distribution of food to the poor, Reagan joked, “It’s just too bad we can’t have an epidemic of botulism.”
In 1976 he decided to enter the presidential ring instead of seeking another term as governor, but the damage had already been done. While running, he was by far the biggest chamion of Neo-Liberalism, or what I like to call “Radical Capitalism,” Which largely follows Smithian Classical Economic Theory. (There’s a reason why we study Keynes) His presidential speeches on Trickle Down Economics still rang home to his California supporters, ( you know, the folk that cheered for his Berkeley bloodbath) and when in 1978, prop 13 came around requiring a 2/3 majority on creating revenues (something that would change how our state budget from then on) and also freezing corporate property taxes to the level at which they were purchased, all of the California Reaganites showed up to the polls in droves. To make up for this tax shortage, and in spirit of the continuing war on the public sector, especially public colleges, the Radical Right introduced the first ever “fees” to the University of California since the ratification of the Master Plan for Education in 1960.
Since Reagan took presidential office in 1982, where he was the champion of “trickle Down” economic theory, we have experienced more than a 1,100 percent increase in student fees, while simultaneously continuing to cut corporate taxes, through breaks, new loopholes, and flat out decreases, since we still only need a simple majority to cut taxes. Why is this? Because the majority of voters, whether they know it or not, are still brainwashed by that bicentennial bulls**t about extreme capitalism being the most patriotic thing we can do. To relate to popular current events: ITS THIS MINDSET THAT HAS LEDT THE RICHEST 1% OF OUR NATION TO PROCURE ENOUGH ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL POWER TO CONTINUOUSLY AND SYSTEMATICALLY F**K THE 99% OF US THAT HAVE TO WORK FOR A LIVING.
So anyway, FUCK RONALD REAGAN.
I love you,