Letter to the Editor: The roots of our current polarization start with Reagan

Reader Larry Benson outlines the three ways the previous president aided the rise of biased media and the decline of the middle class

First of all, a big shout out to Stanley McKie and his infrequent but always to the point letters to the editor and a big thank you for his continued support of my efforts to rationalize our understanding of various events in our local community and beyond.

But now I would like to point out some of the reasons for the increasing polarization of our country.

The seeds of our problems regarding these issues, in my opinion, have their roots in the Reagan administration. Yes, the Reagan administration, which ushered in at least three of the huge problems, largely created by his policies.

The first of which was his embracing of the “Trickle Down” policy of constant tax cuts for the already super wealthy claiming that if you give the wealthy more money that somehow this will eventually spread to the society as a whole. The Republican Party has taken up this mantle as their “go-to” in all of their actions since with devastating effects on our countries economy.

In 1980 there were approximately thirteen billionaires in our country and now there are over seven hundred. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to whether this has been good or bad for our country.

The other policy of Reagan’s was his rescinding of the “Fairness Doctrine.” For those of you too young to remember, this was a policy which broadcasters were required to adhere to, the media was required to present both sides of any controversial issue to the public so they could weigh the efficacy of the issue with a fair and balanced examination of the particular issue at hand.

What followed was the likes of Rush Limbaugh and many others of his ilk who continually bastardized and convoluted the facts of any issue to suit their own prurient interests, mostly for financial gain and their own political leanings. Now what we have are the folks like Tucker Carlson and others like him in our media touting their opinions and outright falsehoods as news, which many of their followers want to believe are facts, even though the facts may be something quite different. We need only look to the 787 million dollar successful lawsuit by Dominion voting machines against FOX News as one example of the way some media have manipulated the news for their own interests.

I also can’t fail to mention his third equally devastating policy, the firing of the air traffic controllers union. This led to an expansion of that policy by industry as a whole and the demise of labor unions representation from 35% in the 1970s to our current 12%. To be sure, this wasn’t the only reason for union membership’s demise but I believe it was a huge contributing factor. While unionization has its own problems, they are the only means labor has to respond to the often unfair labor practices of industry. Just sayin’.

Larry Benson