Ronald Reagan portrait - photo by Gage Skidmore

How Republicans used Reagan’s ‘Government is the problem’ as a means to destroy confidence

Government 1

To be fair, I won’t lay all the blame at the feet of Republicans because as it turns out, Americans’ confidence in just about any institution you can name is at or near all-time lows. For the purpose of this short little diatribe I’m just going to focus on government and how Republicans have tarnished it for their political ideology.

Over 30 years ago when Ronald Reagan became the 40th President of the United States, he said during his inauguration speech, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.” Of course he said specifically “in this present crisis,” but Republicans and conservatives have latched on to the “government is the problem” part as a way to push their ideology, which consists of lower taxes, less regulation, and less government. I want to clarify that last one.

To Republicans, less government means less assistance to the poor and impoverished. They will say they care, but they want churches and charities to take care of that “problem,” because for government to give aid that means using tax payer dollars, including rich people’s tax payer dollars, and we just can’t have that. Republicans believe the only help people deserve is through voluntary acts via churches and charities instead of collectively agreed upon acts administered through government, as an extension of the community.

By demonizing government and saying it’s not the solution, but instead the problem, Republicans are able to erode public confidence in the institution of government. Once confidence has eroded enough, that is when Republicans are able to chip away at programs that benefit the poor and keep people from falling into poverty. Programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance. Republicans want these programs to either be cut back severely or privatized altogether. If Republicans are successful at eroding confidence in government, they might just be able to get away with it. While these programs poll high, as confidence in government fades, you might find more people are apathetic towards anything related to government. Get enough Americans in that mindset and Republicans have finally chipped away confidence in government to the point where they are able to destroy or kill once cherished government programs.

This is the path we are on, and if you are feeling apathetic towards government, and if you are thinking your vote doesn’t count, and if you are thinking it’s all an exercise in futility – I’m afraid you have surrendered to the Republicans agenda to destroy confidence in government.

Not only do Republicans say “government is the problem,” then get elected, and prove it - This was the game plan all along.

photo by Gage Skidmore

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About the author / 

David K. Sutton

Chief Writer and Editor of The Left Call - I'm a full-time IT engineer, part-time political blogger. I founded The Left Call in 2011 because I believe in social justice, economic equality, and the idea of forming a more perfect union. In addition to written content, I also host the LEFT CALL RADIO Podcast.

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