Ronald Reagan and the Gospel of Greed
Keywords: Inequality, Income, Wealth, Greed, Reaganomics
AbstractThe legacy of Ronald Reagan is mixed. Admired by some, vilified by others. Ardent Democrat turned impassioned Republican. Dedicatedunion president turned union buster. Champion of smaller government who increased the size of the federal government during hispresidency.Vociferous spokesman for reducing the national debt who tripled the national debt. Some Americans idolize the man. Othersdisagree. What is the enduring legacy of Ronald Reagan? How will history remember the 40th President of the United States? This paperargues the case for caution in lionizing the man. It presents evidence that casts doubt on the legacy, evidence that suggests the most enduringaspect of the Reagan presidency may be his philosophy that “greed is good,” that poor people are lazy, useless to society, parasitic,and deserve no help from others, especially not from government. It is a philosophy that runs counter to the teachings of every majorreligion, including that of the Christianity that Reagan professed. The paper compares and contrasts Reagan’s “Gospel of Greed” withwhat Andrew Carnegie called “The Gospel of Wealth.” The legacy of Ronald Reagan is that one should get as much as one can, that lifeis a zero-sum game, that the best socio-economic system is one based on social Darwinism, “survival of the fittest.” This is the enduringlegacy of Ronald Wilson Reagan.