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per year, as well as corporate and investment tax breaks engineered by the Reagan administration. The net effect of Reagan’s economic policies has been to drive a wedge between the haves and have-nots of this country allowing many members of the upper-middle class to use tax breaks in order ” to..become more affluent while forcing many from middleincome security to the precarious edge of that plateau, looking toward a future of debt, dependency, and poverty. And that wedge does not fall harmlessly on those in the very middle. That is where the civil war is waged in the gut. It can be seen in climbing interest rates and housing costs, making it more and more difficult to attain that symbol of middle-class status, the owned home. It is felt in the reduction interest rate increase from 9 percent to 14 percent for parents taking out student loans for their children. With the reduction of federal Impact aid to local school districts, many districts were forced to raise property taxes. Interest rates for Small While Reagan talks about getting government off our backs, his policies are producing greater economic burdens for the middle-class wage-earner. Business Administration loans were increased as were rates for homeowner and small business disaster loans, while property coverage to which these loans applied was reduced. The family farmer was hit by programs designed to favor corporate farming; the commuter was hit by reductions in mass transit subsidies. Beyond that, the increasing federal deficit means the entire country is going into hock. Interest rates will climb, as the government becomes the leading competitor for credit. The burden for the deficit will fall, as do all tax burdens, on the middle-class wage-earner. When Ronald Reagan or Phil Gramm complain about federal assistance programs, saying the wage-earner gets nothing for the taxes he or she pays, they ignore the benefits to society as a whole that can be provided by a single mother, for instance, who is able to continue working because she receives childcare assistance. On the other hand, when the wage-earner pays taxes that merely go toward paying the interest on an increasing federal deficit, that is getting nothing for something. Reagan’s war against the middle class is being waged silently with repercussions that may last far into the future. As a result of Reaganomics, middle-class wage-earners will be made prisoners of an increasing tax and interest burden brought on by the deficit. While Reagan talks about getting government “off our backs,” his policies are insuring that the middle class of this country will be slaves to the federal deficit for years to come. Distorting Tradition s 0, WHY is this assault on the middle class not being addressed in the presidential campaign? To a large extent, it has been because the Reagan forces have been able to orchestrate the campaign to avoid substantive issues, such as the deficit and arms control, and to concentrate instead on packaging. This packaging includes appearances in which Reagan is surrounded by the trappings of the presidency, at once unassailable and inaccessible, and talks about “leadership” without discussing foreign policy. It is a CONTENTS October 12, 1984 FEATURES 2 Reagan’s War on the Middle Class Geoffrey Rips 4 The President’s Tall Tales Mike Royko 5 What This Election Is All About . James Ridgeway 8 Illusions of Peace and Strength Ronnie Dugger 9 The Administration Gets Wind of a Farm Crisis Jim Hightower 12 Workers and the Law of the Jungle Ray Marshall 19 Damn the Environment Let’s Do Business Pete Gunter 22 Wronging Individual Rights Gara LaMarche 27 Let Them Eat Ketchup Julia Brody & Norton Grubb 32 Dark Days for the Consumer Dana Loy 35 The Gender Gap in Texas Martha Boethel 42 Dave Denison 45 Now Showing: Reagan’s America Jan Jarboe DEPARTMENTS 15 Political Intelligence 29 Social Cause Calendar 42 Books and the Culture 45 Afterword 4….., -.,.. ”: .'” / . i -,1 0.,”:7 0: ‘ p -be 1-:….i.i.#:,/, \\ 5 _ , 2 -“‘ Ilera.;t ….. “/”. ‘ 7 ”!” i i il i “7’ c: 1: . …0,.`,:ZAS 4 iiiiM *. . iti”. VV. . litIA – Illganig Sle … ;.1:. , NM Mt \\ WI 7 // -17/ … / 77 “/, / . . . ..S7 1:.-* -‘”._.,..11,.. ‘. s . ‘ 41101,1 CdAili511114..’ . . :::6;;:. .. ;^ \\ : . . ‘.7.1. ….::.’ !” :5′, ‘.11% %.,..% .1.:* V… .. .`4!-“”” ‘ . Cover Illustration by Tom Ballenger THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3