Ronald Reagan’s Legacy? Stupidity and Cupidity?

By Donald A. Collins | 31 December 2023
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

Welcome to 2024!

There is a complete wonderment by many experienced political analysts at the ability of Donald Trump with his Teflon Don performance so far to evade not only conviction which also includes the continuing approbation of his MAGA cult and the fealty of most of his elected GOP Congressman. And to use his claim of victimhood and innocence to raise huge sums of campaign funds.

It is even more mystifying when one considers the decades long route via GOP cupidity that ensued from the Reagan root of attacking falsely our successful institutions of government which in retrospect have been key to our rise as the world’s most powerful and successful country in history.

As 2024 looms as the most crucial election in our history since the Civil War, even if Nicki Haley, who is chasing Trump for the GOP Presidential nomination, didn’t initially articulate the cause of the Civil War as slavery, taking stock in our current divided government becomes more and more difficult for many voters.

Let me argue the facts of the GOP dominated route to cupidity.

The media din of partisan messaging often financed by dark money can also throw even some sophisticated voters into cults or unsubstantiated mid sets of group opinions as they ignore the facts as most of us require the need to pursue making a living to sustain our daily lives.

Even more astounding to so many of us of both parties is how we could have a serious felon as the leading GOP candidate running for President again!! I have in earlier op ed pieces harkened back to Ronald Reagan’s famous August 12, 1986 press conference. His words there repeated his earlier statements and are now highlighted in the archives of the Ronald Reagan Library and referred to as profoundly wise by many of his GOP admirers.

That day, Reagan, after claiming credit for the previous 20 years of prosperity, reiterates his famous by saying, “I think you all know that I’ve always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”

You can read the full text of his 8/12/66 conference here.

The train of events that followed Reagan’s happy warrior years convinced many of both parties that we could have a cheaper and cheaper Federal government and still spend and spend and never worry about our growing national debt which was $5.7 trillion when Clinton left office was in 2001 and is now over $31 trillion.

How is it possible that Reagan failed to acknowledge in his anti-government statement the taxpayer involvement of US government national defense spending which is 12% of annual Federal spending ($727 billion in 2022)?? Of course, that spending is one of our great job creators and beloved politically by all its recipients.

No one in our troubled world would NOT want such spending, but again getting it paid for by its corporate beneficiaries which could have happened if the GOP hadn’t eliminated Glass Steagall which likely caused the financial debacle of 2008 or the 2010 passage of Citizens United which allowed corporations to buy the control of Congress with unlimited campaign contributions.

Read those histories here.

Glass Steagall here.

Citizens United here.

Then Donald Trump as soon as he got elected and installed as President in January 2017 had no trouble getting the GOP controlled Congress to reduce the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, assuring his popularity with our richest citizens and corporations.

The wealth gap in America between rich and poor then and now has never been greater. Of course, the millions of Americans now living pay check to pay check when given enough false GOP information may be enough to give Trump the victory in November. That disaster coming despite the Biden Administration’s competence and effectiveness in keeping unemployment low and the Federal Reserve’s giving our economy a soft landing after inflation and high interest rates.

Our income taxes pay for a huge range of government services which has enabled it over time to gather experts in various fields whose research and ingenuity have provided countless benefits while enforcement of our laws allowed the restraining improper private sector overreach–yes, cupidity is bi-partisan.

Good use of our tax money? How about government management of our precious National parks?

Of course, not properly funding the Internal Revenue Service (whose budget has long been deemed inadequate to find tax cheats) has not helped keep the rising National debt under control.

Then we could name the importance of having the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as environmental disasters accelerate, just to mention a few of many tax supported government both Federal, state and local that are vital to our daily welfare.

The simplistic stupidity of that Reagan statement was undigested at the time and since gained continuing GOP accolades as Reagan emerged its most beloved conservative hero.

Read here about this influential 2 week of meetings of powerful men in a California nature setting;

Personal confession. I was present at the Bohemian Grove Encampment at a luncheon in Herbert Hoover’s Caveman Camp when Reagan delivered his Here’s to America, may she always be in the right, but here’s to America right or wrong speech which caused the big money men assembled there to fund the start of his successful run for election in 1980. And, yes, like many in America, I proudly shook the hand of this rising savant.

Bohemian Grove is a restricted 2,700-acre (1,100 ha) campground at 20601 Bohemian Avenue, in Monte Rio, California, United States, belonging to a private San Francisco–based gentlemen’s club known as the Bohemian Club. In mid-July each year, Bohemian Grove hosts a more than two-week encampment of some of the most prominent men in the world.

Read here about the Bohemian Grove encampment.

Far less well known or publicized are perhaps the most important uses of our tax dollars and their enabling of the work of the National Institutes of Health. The NIH, well recognized worldwide as a distinguished medical organization, has made amazing contributions to our health and welfare, including vaccines for many diseases including COVID. Its initial substantial pre-trial research aids drug companies in producing commercial products.

Read here from the NIH website about how this works.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), and especially its largest and oldest institute, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), have long been among the best – but perhaps not the most well-known supporters – for the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries, providing non-dilutive funding, scientific guidance, education for potential future employees, and importantly, collaboration opportunities including clinical trials and technology licensing partnerships. In this study, various databases were used, including the NCI Technology Transfer Center (TTC) internal agreement database, NIH technology licensing database, Global Data, Pitchbook, and NIH RePORTER, to explore and analyze collaborations and licensing partnerships between NCI TTC and life science and pharmaceutical companies. For early-stage companies receiving funding or taking part in collaborations and licensing, there is a significant relationship between these NIH agreements and successful financial exits. NCI support not only reaches these early-stage firms but also extends to the Top 20 pharmaceutical companies. These two findings highlight the importance of NCI collaborations for both early-stage and established life science and pharmaceutical companies.

There is growing concern that new drug development and approvals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are at the lowest level since the 2000s. Despite increased spending in research and development and better technologies for the identification and validation of new drug targets, pharmaceutical companies still face serious challenges in developing new drugs (Schofield 2013, Cunningham and Link 2015, Weckowska 2015). Academia, industry, and government all remain important contributors in the drug development ecosystem, and many of the challenges in drug development pathways may be resolved through strong collaborations within the ecosystem of academia, industry, and government.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the one of the largest non-dilutive funding providers for biomedical research globally, with an annual investment of more than $41.7 billion dollars. NIH funding is distributed between Extramural and Intramural research activities. Ninety percent (90%) of NIH’s funding is awarded for extramural research activities that take place in universities, medical schools, and other research institutions (Ferguson and Langer 2021). About ten percent (10%) of NIH’s funding supports intramural projects conducted by scientists in NIH’s own laboratories. NIH has provided financial support to life science companies in the form of grants and contracts; however, NIH’s support for life science companies is not limited to funding. NIH also offers substantive collaboration and technology licensing opportunities to life science companies and academic institutions to advance their research, as well as provide cutting-edge training for their future employees. In this study, the involvement of the NCI and specifically, its Technology Transfer Center (NCI TTC), in the overall success of life science and pharmaceutical companies is explored, highlighting the role of collaborations and licensing partnerships mediated by NCI TTC. We hypothesize that (1) collaborations and licensing partnerships mediated by NCI TTC play an important role in the success of early-stage life science companies, particularly those focused on drug development and (2) NCI TTC also supports the Top 20 global pharmaceutical companies with the highest revenue.

Bottom Line: “NIH funding and its distribution to the previously identified 206 early-stage life science companies was calculated. Of those with NIH funding, 64% were able to achieve “Successful Outcomes”.

Another view but still very positive: “According to Pitchbook data, 1,437 companies received NIH funding between 1992 and 2021, and 206 out of the 1,437 NIH-funded companies completed an exit plan and were included in this analysis. Of these, 54.9% had a “Successful Outcome” defined by the following: “Acquired,” “Merged,” “Privately Held,” “Publicly Held,” or “in IPO (Initial Public Offering) registration” situations. On the other hand, 45.1% had an “Unsuccessful Outcome” defined by: “Bankruptcy” or “Out of Business.”

Read more of the above information here.

This attempted destruction of our precious government institutions by these decade’s long attacks initiated by Reagan and continued by such deconstructionists as Newt Gingrich and others led inevitably to Trump and the repetition of his lies seem like truth to his angry cult. He was abetted by the traitorous concurrence of the non-governing grandstanding elected GOP Congressional partisans to bring America to the most major threat to our democracy’s survival since the Civil War.

NIH funding and its distribution to the previously identified 206 early-stage life science companies was calculated. Of those with NIH funding, 64% were able to achieve “Successful Outcomes”.

Attacking government despite these huge successes and making government institutions our false enemies has matriculated onward with relentless repetition of institutional attacks by such leaders as Newt Gingrich and now Trump.

So now we begin a fateful year with Trump, almost certainly the GOP Presidential nominee, who does not believe in anything but a return to power which he now knows how to manipulate into an authoritarian or even fascist regime.

Examples: Trump cares not a whit about our Constitution, women’s reproductive rights, climate change, real immigration reform, or NATO as in the last case he feels he is able to make deals with Putin.

Not all of us Americans know or realize the implications about the math in the 2020 election. When Biden won the popular vote by 7 million, he only won in the 6 swing voter states by about 400,000 votes, just enough to give Biden the electoral college victory, which despite irrefutable proof to the contrary Trump still calls fraudulent and which many GOP MAGA and elected Congressional members claim to still believe.

Read the details here.

After this protracted period of stupidity and cupidity, we hope voters will understand the consequences of not allowing Trump to win a 2nd term make our November 2024 votes turn 2025 into a truly happy new year.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”, “Vote”, “Can Homo Sapiens Survive?”, “Will Choice and Democracy Win?”, “Can Our U.S. Survive 8 Plus Billion of Us”, “Economic Growth: A Cancer on all Earthly Life” and “On the Precipice of Political Disaster in 2024”.

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