Yesterday Marked the Beginning of the Death of Reaganomics in America

President Obama delivered his big deficit-reduction speech yesterday. The President’s plan pledged to cut $4 trillion out of the deficit over the next 12 years by reducing domestic and defense spending – getting more bang for the buck in Medicare – ending the Bush tax cuts – and closing corporate tax loopholes. He also used the stage to draw a clear contrast between his plan and the Republican plan written by Paul Ryan that will likely be passed out of the House today or tomorrow.

Many on the Left worried that the President would embrace the recommendation of last year’s Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction panel – including big cuts to entitlement programs. On this subject – the President was vague – simply saying, “If we don’t make any changes at all – we won’t be able to keep our commitments to a retiring generation.”

In other words – let’s wait and see what Congress comes up with. But what the President did that was so important yesterday – was for the first time offered a public rebuke of Reaganomics from the White House – throwing cold water on the idea that the government is the problem and rejecting the notion that the American way of life has to be fundamentally changed because of a budget crisis created BY the Republicans.

No President in 30 years has laid out a more thoughtful and sharp criticism of the direction that Reagan took our nation – and I hope that yesterday marked the beginning of the death of Reaganomics in America.


Richard1951's picture
Richard1951 13 years 10 weeks ago


I heard you commenting that Obama was giving the GOP too much credit. Remember your Shakespeare: Julius Caesar's funeral. Antony has already been approached by the assassins and given the choice of joining with them or sharing Caesar's fate. He knows that the assassins are all there at the funeral. He begins by praising them: again and again he uses the term "honorable men." The crowd is right with him. Brutus is an honorable man, Cassius is an honorable man. But Antony uses a wonderful gambit in rhetoric and succeeds in turning the world "honorable" on its head. He has not come to "praise Caesar", but in fact, he does, and by praising Caesar, he begins to imply the guilt of the "honorable men" who killed him. Obama is, I believe, playing the same difficult game. Everytime he insists that all the parties to the national debate are "patriotic" he is telling us: "so are they all, all honorable men." In the end, the American people are forced to conclude that the GOP is at best greedy and evil and at worst, insane.

Think about it.



DRichards's picture
DRichards 13 years 10 weeks ago

Re: the GOP is at best greedy and evil and at worst, insane.

It seems to me that most of the mega rich are addicts; they are addicted to greed. Most addicts would not be called evil, or insane. We do need to confront these people regarding their addiction though; addiction is a sickness, and these people need help!

Richard1951's picture
Richard1951 13 years 10 weeks ago

Re: Addiction is a sickness.

Agreed. Addiction is a form of mental illness, insanity in the oldest use of that word. William James, who might well be considered the father of American Psychology was the first to notice the connection between mental illness and uncontrolled destructive "habits of mind." To me, the radical right wing's perception of reality is a classic example of being addicted to acting in a habitual predictable way that is or seems to be contrary to a fundamental recognition of reality. This "disconnection" with reality is one of the reasons why arguing with a right winger is frustrating and often fruitless. It's frustrating for the same reason that arguing with a paranoid is frustrating: because their world view is essentially delusional.



ixzist's picture
ixzist 13 years 10 weeks ago

How about an Intervention-style reality show where the GOP are approached individually and convinced to go into rehab for greed? The proceeds could go to Planned Parenthood and other necessary social programs.

gerald's picture
gerald 13 years 10 weeks ago

Obama said what needed to be said and I hope that he will keep repeating what he said until and even after the 2012 election. Americans aren't very bright so important information will take more time to sink into their brains.

gerald's picture
gerald 13 years 10 weeks ago

@DRichards, greed is an addiction and so is war an addiction.

gerald's picture
gerald 13 years 10 weeks ago

Here is a letter from Jesse Ventura.

You control our world. You’ve poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You’ve liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You’ve profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit… we are bleeding… but we ain’t got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution!


The Serfs.

owkrender 13 years 10 weeks ago

Things aren't always so rosy Down Under. A paragraph from Wikipedia on Australia's own Scott Walker figure, John Howard, Prime Minister no less:

With the 1996 election of the Federal Government under Prime Minister John Howard increasing pressure was brought to bear on industrial relations reforms to reduce the industrial power of Australian trade unions. This has included the introduction of Australian Workplace Agreements — individual contractual agreements on pay and conditions between an employee and employer — and the reduction of minimum conditions contained in Industrial awards. One of the first targets of the conservative Government was to undermine the power of the Maritime Union of Australia, through breaking its closed shop on waterfront labour. The 1998 Australian waterfront dispute resulted with stevedoring firm, Patrick Corporation under CEO Chris Corrigan, attempting to sack its entire waterfront workforce of 1400 people through company restructuring. The Australian Council of Trade Unions condemned the sacking as a gross act of collusion between Patrick, the Government, and the National Farmers Federation, and with the threat of legal action against the Government and Patrick Corporation, a settlement was negotiated to allow some reform with the MUA retaining its effective closed shop.

DRichards's picture
DRichards 13 years 10 weeks ago

The Siren Song of Empty Promises

Rachel Maddow described President Obama's speech on Wednesday as a "defining moment" for his administration, and she was absolutely correct. It was an excellent speech in the main, filled with the kind of lofty rhetoric we have become accustomed to since Mr. Obama first burst onto the political scene in 2004. In it, he proposed taxing the rich, cutting the defense budget and decreasing the cost of health care. He defended Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. For many in the progressive community, it was a reminder of the man who fired the imaginations of so many during his presidential campaign.

Therein lies the problem: it was all just words. Again. There have been many such "defining moments" during this administration, most of which involved retreat, surrender and failure after festooning the walls with words. We heard great talk about including the public option in the health care bill - until Mr. Obama retreated, leaving many to wonder if he ever meant to include it at all. We heard great talk about closing Guantanamo, until he retreated. We heard great talk about repealing the Bush tax cuts for rich people, until that fell by the wayside as well. The very fact that we are still talking about those damnable tax breaks is evidence enough of how far those words go, and that is not very far at all, so far.

And then there were the other words in Wednesday's speech: the ones that tipped a wink to the Bowles-Simpson proposal to eviscerate the social contract which has sustained this nation for generations. There were the words, "Any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table." If that is true, Mr. President, then a plan to provide Medicare for all must also be on the table … but no, that's not "reasonable" or "responsible." The debate over the future of this country has been skewed so far to the right that centrism appears radical, even as the worst elements in our nation win the day time and again.

Words are no longer enough, even pretty ones. Action is required, not only by our elected officials, but by you and me. Mr. Obama spoke of "shared sacrifices" on Wednesday, but it is time for shared actions as well. It is this endeavor to which Truthout has committed, and all of us here bear a responsibility to each other, to you our readers, to the country and to the world entire. When the real radicals of the right are allowed to frame the debate - allowed to disseminate outright lies with no answer or recourse - it is to this diseased estate we are delivered.

Scooter's picture
Scooter 13 years 10 weeks ago

Greedy, mean and stupid. I think that pretty much sums up whatever they call themselves, tea party, republicans, conservatives. I think they are trully hiding the ball. Even if there were away to make the defecit disappear without raising taxes and keep all the programs as they are they would not be happy. Their problem is not that we can't afford it, they love spending. Look how much debt during the Reagan and Bush presidencies. The fact that social security and medicare exist is the problem. It is their goal to get rid of these programs, whatever it takes. They should be forced at every opportunity to admit to this position. To be honest with the people who elect them.

lalsphere's picture
lalsphere 13 years 10 weeks ago

Sorry Thom, sounds like campaign Obama to me - haven't heard that guy since Iowa. : (

lalsphere's picture
lalsphere 13 years 10 weeks ago

great words! nice signature too!

gerald's picture
gerald 13 years 10 weeks ago

Obama needs to kick off his campaigning early for the numerous stupid voters in our fascist-Nazi country. Jesus frequently had to explain His words to His apostles even His followers had a difficult time comprehending His words. Why do the the fascist-Nazi politicians repeat their messages? They understand how dense are the American voters. Obama keep repeating your messages!!!

making progress's picture
making progress 13 years 10 weeks ago

Hearing Thom gushing over just another good speech from Obama, makes me sick. You're suckling on the Washington Power Teat, Thom. I have guarded optimism, at best.
Stop searching for justification of your hopes for Obama. Instead, you should be challenging your opinions against those who are More Progressive Than You. How else do you expect to grow?

If we can’t understand the reality around us then we cannot even use the word hope. You have to respond to the real not the imaginary.

You've become too establishment oriented. What happened to the Anti-Establishment Thom Hartmann? The one who was skeptical but optimistic. Hope, without action, is useless.

Do you believe this culture is going to undergo a voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable existence?

making progress's picture
making progress 13 years 10 weeks ago

“Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

rhollenhorst's picture
rhollenhorst 13 years 10 weeks ago

I am going to reread Ravi Batra's, "The New Golden Age". It's a little like reading Tom Clancy in the early 2000's, except it's non-fiction. I think he was right on the mark - the times, they are a changing.

The age of acquisition is nearing its end. It will come years sooner if Obama knows what he's doing.

reasonjr's picture
reasonjr 13 years 10 weeks ago

I have to agree with DRichards on the point that the rich are addicts. I'll even thrown in addicted to power as well as addicted to money. They're no different than the gambler sitting there on that stool shoving the last dollar that his family has into his one armed god. Why doesn't anyone try to get them help?

But, as far as the President's speech goes, I'm not going to hold my breath or run out and buy that new car or anything. He has been known to lie and spin the wheel of change counter clockwise. He hasn't made my life better one bit, but there are a lot of wealthy people who can't say that. The truth is, he's trying to put a different perspective on himself in front of those he needs to vote for him in 2012. Anything that he does now will be a little too little and a little too late for a lot of folks. Anyway. . . I would never vote for a Satan loving Republican, but I sure as Hell won't be voting for him again.

I also believe it's time for a R E V O L U T I O N !

nordlie1 13 years 10 weeks ago

He talked about no tax cuts for the rich again as if he just didn't give them (on his own accord mind you)--another Bush Tax Cut which he benefitted just a few months ago. Said before coming into office he wouldn't do it. Now he's saying it again in office. He's the reason they're rushing to deadlines to cut program spending on Americans now because of this increased deficit alone. Gotta be a crisis to push wealth benefits to the wealthy. He appears to be satisfied with his tax cut and doesn't need another $200K. Never had so much money-can live without another guilty conscience. He plays to several audiences at once including across seas. Hell with him. He doesn't help me.

He implies all Americans must make some future sacrifices. Guess things ain't bad enough yet.

billmag's picture
billmag 13 years 10 weeks ago

It took 54 years for liberalism to runs its course ending in "The Great Depression". If you accept that neo-liberalism started with Ronald Reagan in the beginning of the 70s then, I believe that we have another 10 years or so before the country is so fed up with the tax cuts for the rich and the crushing of the poor and middle class that the people finally wake up and set a new course. Frankly, I'm not sure that Americans have the intestinal fortitude to do what needs to be done. Perhaps Janis Joplin sang it best, "Freedom's just another word for nothing else to lose." We are getting very close to "Freedom".

Barliman's picture
Barliman 13 years 10 weeks ago

In Buddhist terms- deluded is exactly the correct word to use for those addicted to greed.

In terms of clinical psychiatry the use of the term deluded is almost certainly correct as well, except that the delusions in question are exceptionally well encapsulated, and on the surface appear to have adaptive value for those in the thrall of these delusions.

rtkillay's picture
rtkillay 13 years 10 weeks ago

I think it will take forever with the congress we have.

Berry's picture
Berry 13 years 10 weeks ago

Thom , As usual, " Great show. Bring it home!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 13 years 10 weeks ago

The speed at which the Reaganomic TRICKLE DOWN tide will turn depends on how soon lawmakers can grow spines like that of Senator Sanders. President Obama certainly sounded like he had one.

We also need to plug the giant TRICKLE UP hole created by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley legalized looting act . Bring back Glass-Steagall, greed before 1933 wears the same face in 2011!

jaykaygee43's picture
jaykaygee43 13 years 10 weeks ago

Anybody else noticed how the fatigue rises as the threat of despair grows?

The moral bankruptcy of the Ayn Rand enclave cannot be over-estimated. Note, for example, that the great love relationship in "The Fountainhead" begins with a rape. I've always believed that was a critical insight into Ayn Rand's mind.

A few days ago, I was called by a young friend, the father of two small children and our church's former board chair. He asked me whether I'd ever seen a bumper sticker that read, "Atlas is Shrugging" and whether I knew what it meant. I explained - and I've been deeply troubled ever since.

As so many of us have heard, and perhaps even thought, "where are the moderate Muslims to critique the policies of radical Islam?" is the time right for us, who are Liberals in the midst of the revisions of Christianity that have arisen since the beautiful indignation of the mid 1960's, to step up and challenge the covetous greed of this generation's quasi-Christian political MadMen, and look again to Union Theological Seminary for the moral leadership that powered the coalition of the Civil Rights movement and the Anti-Vietnam war movements?

Help us, Thom. It's time, isn't it, to take the moral decay, and the decayed so-called Christianity that lets Republicans keep reciting, "fairness isn't the issue!," and "it's a spending problem, not a revenue problem," as though they have every right to lie, cheat and steal, and being born where they are is proof that God is on their side and Jesus got it wrong?? ! ?

making progress's picture
making progress 13 years 10 weeks ago

I agree completely with Glenn Greenwald. I am surprised that anyone who follows the news closely would believe anything Obama says. The only thing that really matters is what he actually does. So far he has been a true Republican and a true friend of corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the electorate.

I am embarrassed to say that I voted for Obama on the basis of his speeches. I don’t appreciate the spin rhetoric regarding what progressives mistakenly read into his campaign promises.
Chris Hedges is right; the only thing we have left is civil disobedience. To put any faith in electoral politics is extremely naive and dangerous.

dnarnadem 13 years 10 weeks ago

When I heard about that Kansas representative tea-bagger state that it would, I paraphrase here, be a good idea to shoot "Illegals" from helicopters, a redo of Palin shooting elk or moose from one, I kinda figured that we are dealing not with humans here, but with craven homeopaths! These people are dangerous! Literally!

If this man can state this in OUR house of representatives, today, in 2011, what does that tell you about the civilizing process of these quasi-human fanatics? Another question - what about the people who elected this buffoon? What does that tell you about the civilizing process of those voters? And this man has not resigned!

These people, I can wager, are all probably Christian white folk who make it a fanatical ritual to go to a Christian church at least 3 times a week and wear their religion on their sleeves like a badge!

And yet they elect a man who wants to shoot and kill humans from helicopters! America, this is the type of individual, teabaggers, who are now running our country! Do you believe they have any, ANY, compunction to do right by America? These are fanatics, zealots, and fundamentalists who, without any shame whatsoever, state publically in one of our highest house of government state that it would be a good idea to shoot human beings from helicopters! Just think what they must tell each other when they meet in their private conclaves!

This is the EVIL side of human nature. There is an iconic Picture of a Lynching of a ‘Black Man’, taken in the South back 70-80 years ago. And there surrounding this poor man, are a group of white folk, their faces ecstatic, glorying in their ‘Kill”. They are literally rejoicing in this murderous lynching, surely not any different a rejoicing than when they attend their Sunday morning Christian services and feel the spirit coming into them!

When I first saw this picture I was aghast! Surely this is not a normal human attribute, I told myself. This has to be an exception to the rule!

That was back in my high school days. And sad to say I now know it is not an exception. When given the opportunity, when the shackles of morality are loosened, when it becomes the Christian or whatever religious persuasion you belong to ‘Right’ thing to do, decent god-fearing people do becomes murderous and evil, and do murderous and evil things.

So if you think that these teabaggers are going to do right by America I suggest you start reading more history. These people are crazy, and crazy people cannot be reasoned with. And they will do crazy things. Until the 2012 elections, America is in for a radical crazy roller coaster ride with these fanatics who are dead set on destroying America, not saving it!

rti's picture
rti 13 years 10 weeks ago

Right-on! You are so right about Obama giving (semi-)progressive speeches, then doing a corporatist 180 or '150'. Actions speak louder than words, now for him - words don't matter any more with/for him.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 13 years 10 weeks ago

How soon will the tide turn? Well, that depends partly on whether Obama's latest speech is just another bunch of lies and/or promises that he doesn't have the character to keep, which is what all of his major promises from his first presidential campaign have turned out to be. No wonder he's not trying to use the same grassroots people who got him elected: he has betrayed their trust, and rather than admitting that blatantly obvious fact, he is pretending- like the politician he is- that it never happened, because now that corporate America knows that THEY can trust him, they will- if need be- help him cheat his way back into the offal office.

Frankly, I think that Obama is George Bush with a better vocabulary and better organizational skills. But if all I wanted was a candidate with a good vocabulary, I would have voted for my 9th grade English teacher. And if all I wanted was a candidate with good organizational skills, I would have voted for that traitor Jack Welch who used his organizational skills to turn G.E. into a tax-dodging, job outsourcing, ego-centric hack of a corporation, and who is so blind to what he has done that he actually wrote a book so he could brag about it to more people.

Obama has not closed Guantanimo, rendition continues unabated, military criminals are not prosecuted on his watch, he spends more money on war than Bush, and to make sure that he is doing it properly, he even started his own nice little war in Libya, which, coincidentally, is sitting on a lot of oil that some multinational corporations want to steal, and those multinational corporations own most of the senators and representatives in our congress, as well as our president and virtually all of his hand-picked cabinet, and a majority of our supreme court. Obama has had three years to start taxing the wealthy, but it wasn't until now, when, coincidentally, he is running for re-election, that he has even mentioned taxing the wealthy. It's like he's saying, "If you want me to keep any of the promises I made to you when I was running for president the first time, you'll have to RE-elect me." If you think that is good behavior, just ask yourself, how would your wife or husband react if you treated them that way? How would your kids react if you treated them that way? How would Obama's own wife and kids react if he treated them that way? Having seen a bit of his wife, I rather suspect that she would divorce him. In other words, Obama is treating US- the country that he swore to protect- in ways that he would not dare treat his own family. That is the definition of base hypocrisy, and in a man as intelligent as Obama, we can only assume that it is intentional, rather than a mostly unconscious expression of severe mental illness, as was the case with George Bush.

If Obama has done anything, he has re-affirmed my belief that with a few notable exceptions like Paul Wellstone and Bernie Sanders, virtually anyone who wants to run for a political office is, by definition, morally unqualified to do the job. So I say to Mr. Obama and the other republicans who are currently running this country, you need to consider how many more lies you can tell us and how many more promises you can make and break, before we force a return to paper ballots and start electing third-party presidents.

HenryP's picture
HenryP 13 years 10 weeks ago

Fundamentally changing the "American way of life" is not a nice thing to say. When I see what is happening in other countries, I have to wonder why there are so many who want us to be just like them.

U.S. Citizen's picture
U.S. Citizen 13 years 10 weeks ago

So, I guess he rejected Clintonomics or Rubinomics also since that is what Reaganomics morphed into. He could start by getting rid of any Clinton advisors and stop being a Clinton corporatist. However, I would like to see Robert Reich in his administration. I'm a bit skeptical since The Great Equivocator wasn't talking about raising taxes sooner.

Berry's picture
Berry 13 years 10 weeks ago

I have to say , someone Is watching your show thom, and saying yes! I forgot. My complaint about Obama , is why he isn't talking more about these issues. Obama Get in their face please! Talk to us ! I agree , Republicans are still trying to get through 5th grade. It doesn't look good! Its so hard to believe what one hearing from them. *^% Are these adults? They sound like, 10 year old children making up rules while the game is already in play for their benefit only. ( They called them Bullies )

dianhow 13 years 10 weeks ago

GOP creed is and has been since 1981 Reaganomics deregulation- Bush Cheney Goldman Fed / Paulson 2008 crash 700 Billion TARP / edge of depresion is to bring another ' GIlded Age ' when Robber Barons ruled everything. Con courts did their part with the disgraceful 'Citizens United'. that should have been named ' Robber Barons United' The GOP will bully, lie, they will do / say anything to crush Obama, to stop his policies' Ruthless & cold like pods that take over our soul when we sleep .Ryan,Walker, Newt, & GOP Bagger loyal followers have that look in their eyes.. that says ' Get out of my way ' small people '.I will run you over if I have to '

dianhow 13 years 10 weeks ago

Yes Obama was on right target but we must make sure he follows through   

Your Reps  tell them now and often

We are watching Keep them honest & motvated



Tokarski's picture
Tokarski 13 years 9 weeks ago

I agree with drichards, lalsphere, making progress and others here smart enough to step back and take a deep breath after an Obama speech. Thom, you're way too easy. It's just a speech. Candidate Obama has arisen from the ashes. Yippee.

There's a rule in Washington that "A porcupine with his quills down is just another fat rodent."

And that is the point of Obama's speech - a soothing message for progressives in order to coax them into putting their quills down. It works, at least on you, Thom. It worked on me too - for about ten minutes.

Thom - we all know how wicked the Republicans are. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to keep your quills up, and those of your listeners, as this soothsayer does his magic. Focus on Obama, understand that what you see is real, what you hear is not.

Tokarski's picture
Tokarski 13 years 9 weeks ago

I think it was here on Hartmann where he cited a video of a conservative organizers telling his followers to go out and pan books and movies on the rating sites like Amazon - does anyone have that link?

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Through compelling personal stories, Hartmann presents a dramatic and deeply disturbing picture of humans as a profoundly troubled species. Hope lies in his inspiring vision of our enormous unrealized potential and his description of the path to its realization."
David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy, The Great Turning, and When Corporations Rule the World
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Never one to shy away from the truth, Thom Hartmann’s collected works are inspiring, wise, and compelling. His work lights the way to a better America."
Van Jones, cofounder of and author of The Green Collar Economy