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Why we fight, part 2

So someone on Reddit linked to this, a survey of college professors on who the best and worst presidents were.

Okay, it’s just college professors in central Pennsylvania. But still: Ronald Reagan, the best president on the economy? Jimmy Carter, the worst?

These are the opinions of one Sanjay Paul, professor of economics at Elizabethtown College.

I won’t go into all the reasons that this is wrong; my book (which comes out THIS YEAR jesus christ finally finally finally) goes into plenty of detail about that. Well, okay, here’s one thing I couldn’t fit in my book: a remembrance of those horrible, horrible Carter years, from Ben Hamper, who got his first job at an auto plant in Detroit during those dark times:

I had been poor all my life, then suddenly I couldn’t turn my head without bumping into another financial windfall. I’d get up in the afternoon, start rummaging through my drawer for a fresh set of skivvies, and there would be a couple of $100 bills I’d forgotten about. [Hamper, Rivethead, p44]

An entry level job. In Detroit.

Anyway, the point is not that Paul is full of crap in this instance, although that’s true, or that he’s not worthy to be instructing the next generation about anything, although that may also be true.

The point is that it’s not just Paul. This particular lie–that Reagan saved us from evil, nasty old Carter and his bad policies–has been repeated so often that otherwise intelligent people believe it, to the point that anyone pointing out, say, that federal taxes on most people increased during the Reagan years, that growth in the 1980s was lower than in the 1990s OR the 1970s, or that the credit for controlling inflation goes, not to Reagan, but to Paul Volcker (who was appointed by James Earl Motherfucking Carter)–sounds like a wacko.

Even in my most disordered fantasies, I don’t think that my book will stop the Sanjay Pauls of the world from spouting their drivel. But maybe more people will at least recognize their drivel for what it is.

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