Ronald Reagan

Latest Presidential Ranking Survey For Presidents Day Changes Ratings Of Several Presidents Upward And Downward

The game of Presidential rankings is one always changing, and the newest survey of scholars, including this author as a participant, does not disappoint in that regard.

The Siena College survey, now done six times since 1982, once for each new President being considered in the rankings, has some surprises.

157 experts, questioned by the Siena College Research Institute, raised two of the Founding Father generation to the top ten, with James Madison number 7 and James Monroe, his successor at number 8. In so doing, two modern Presidents were dropped out of the top ten, with Ronald Reagan at number 13 and Lyndon B. Johnson at number 16.

A rare occurrence was that Abraham Lincoln was number 3, when usually he is on top, although in earlier Siena College surveys, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been number one, now number two, with George Washington moving up to number one.

Barack Obama, number 8 in the American Political Science Association survey in 2018, and number 12 in the C Span 2017 survey, ended up number 17 in the Siena College survey, so below such Presidents as Woodrow Wilson, James K. Polk, John Adams, and Bill Clinton.

And Donald Trump, who was dead last in the APSA poll, was number 42, above James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, with Johnson ending up below Buchanan, the opposite of both the C Span and APSA surveys.

Of course, the game of Presidential ranking is a never ending and highly debatable one, and the way that Presidents are ranked is purely in the eyes and expertise of the beholder.

Should a great man, such as Madison or Monroe, but not as accomplished as more modern Presidents, such as Reagan or LBJ, be higher in the ratings?

That is left up to how people perceive Presidents, and whether they include the whole life, or just the actual years of the Presidency, in their judgments.

95th Anniversary Of Woodrow Wilson’s Death: The Decline In Historical Reputation, Although Still In Top Quarter Of All Presidents

On February 3, 1924, Woodrow Wilson, who had been in retirement only for nearly three years, died in his home, the Woodrow Wilson House, in Washington DC, at the age of 67.

Wilson had never fully recovered from the massive stroke he suffered on October 2, 1919, and he was unable to gain support of the US Senate for the Versailles Treaty and American membership in the League of Nation that he had fought for when he attended the Peace Treaty negotiations in France, the first President to travel overseas as America’s diplomat.

Wilson had accomplished much domestic legislation that was memorable, including the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, and the first federal labor laws.

But his record on racial segregation was horrendous, and he opposed the woman suffrage movement for a long time. He also presided over massive attacks on civil liberties during the First World War, totally intolerant of dissent.

And his mission to the Versailles Peace Conference ended in failure, as America did not join the League of Nations, and ratified its own peace treaty with Germany and the other nations on the losing side of the war.

Wilson’s reputation for his accomplishments kept him in the top ten of all Presidents for many decades, but lately he has come under fire, and his spot in the Presidential polls of scholars has declined. He is now out of the top ten at number 11 in the C Span Presidential Poll of historians conducted in 2017, after having earlier been number 6 in 2000, and number 9 in 2009. The American Political Science poll of Political Science professors had pegged Wilson at number 10 in 2014, and in 2018, he slipped to number 11, the same as the most recent C Span poll.

The troubling part is that Wilson fell behind Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson in the recent polling, and is only 15 points ahead in the C Span 2017 poll over number 12, Barack Obama, just as he left the Presidency.

So do not be surprised that Wilson will likely slip to number 12 in the next polling, with Obama surging ahead of him, as Obama looks ever better in comparison to Donald Trump, who ended up at the bottom of the APSA 2018 poll as number 44 out of 44.

Elizabeth Warren’s Proposed Tax On MultiMillionaires and Billionaires Not Going To Impoverish Anyone, As Two Percent And Three Percent Loss Of Wealth Is Laughable For Them To Be Disturbed About

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a declared candidate for President, has proposed a wealth tax on multimillionaires and billionaires, and has caused a ruckus, including that of two potential Presidential candidates, who are billionaires.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who has indicated he plans an independent candidacy, is outraged, as is Michael Bloomberg, former NYC Mayor, who plans to announce as a Democrat for President.

Both want to only give support through generous donations, but are opposed to being forced to pay a high level of taxes.

But their protest is preposterous, as they could never spend or utilize all of their fortune, and they seem unwilling to take the view that their success requires them to pay a small percentage in taxes.

What does Warren propose, after massive tax cuts for the wealthy under Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump?

Those who have assets of $50 million or more would pay 2 percent annually, which is only $1 million, and easily made up in interest.

Those who have assets of $1 billion or more would pay 3 percent, or a minimum of $30 million, which is a “drop in the bucket” if you have a billion dollar fortune, and also easily made up in interest over the next year.

A wealthy person never really loses his assets as the interest is always more than two or three percent.

Only a small less than one percent of taxpayers would face this tax, but it would raise a lot of money to deal with social and economic matters that affect a population becoming poorer and the middle class dwindling.

For these and other wealthy people to complain about this small percentage of their wealth being taxed, is totally preposterous and outrageous.

Urgency To Raise Marginal Tax Rate On Wealthiest To 70 Percent, As Existed In Years 1936-1951, And 1963-1980, With 90 Percent Between 1951-1963, All Of Which Created The Middle Class

With the middle class rapidly diminishing, and poverty spreading to more and more of Americans, a trend since 1980, it is urgent that America go back to the tax policy that prevailed from 1936-1980.

From the time of the New Deal at its peak in the mid 1930s through the year of the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the US government, by its tax policy, created a growing and prosperous middle class, and while the wealthy complained about the tax rates, it did not harm them, but made a vast difference to the nation.

The marginal tax rate, meaning the tax rate above a fixed income, reached 70 percent from 1936 to 1951, and was raised further to 90 percent from 1951-1963, followed by a return to 70 percent from 1963-1980. It allowed a growing middle class to improve their life style and buy goods and services that could not have occurred without this small sacrifice by the wealthy.

Now, it has been proposed that the marginal tax rate go back up to 70 percent on incomes over $10 million, so notice this is not raising taxes on the first $10 million of income, and is not going to strip the top one percent of their wealth by any means.

The middle class dwindled once the tax rate was allowed to plummet under Ronald Reagan onward, and has led to an economy where former middle class people, who still think they are middle class, have to work second and third jobs, and both wife and husband must work full time, in order to struggle to remain in the lower middle class at best.

This is not good for the struggling middle class, and in the long run, is a detriment to the wealthy. The anger and bitterness over the unfairness of our tax policy endangers everyone.

Instead of keeping the tax rate at what it was, the wealthy have had three massive periods of tax cuts, under Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and now Donald Trump. It is time for that horrible tax policy to come to an end, as the wealthy do not need any more exploitation of the middle class and the poor to be on their necks.

January 22-23, 1973, An Historic 48 Hours: The Death Of Lyndon B. Johnson, End Of US Involvement In Vietnam War, Abortion Rights Approved By Supreme Court

Rarely in American history has there been a period of 24-48 hours with events occurring that have had such a massive impact on the nation, as January 22-23, 1973.

We saw the death of President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 22, 1973, at the age of 64, two days after he chose not to show up at the second inauguration of Richard Nixon, leaving no former President at those festivities. He died, depressed that the Vietnam War had not been ended, but 24 hours later, the Paris Accords were announced, ending US involvement in Vietnam, leading to withdrawal of all US military forces within two months, although later those Accords were violated by North Vietnam in April 1975, leading to the unification of North and South Vietnam.

Also, on the day that LBJ died, the Supreme Court came up with a decision that has more divided America to this moment, in a social sense, than any other, and that was Roe V Wade, allowing abortion rights to women in the first two trimesters, spurring a right wing “Pro Life” movement, and the promotion of Christian extremist movements in American politics, which helped to bring about the victory of Donald Trump and Mike Pence in 2016.

The Great Society programs of LBJ have been under attack since 1973, particularly under Ronald Reagan, and now Donald Trump, and the effects of the Vietnam War still permeate American society.

And if the right wing has its way, we will eventually see the reversal of the Roe V Wade decision, although the vast majority of Americans support abortion rights.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

Iowa Congressman Steve King Just The Tip Of The Iceberg, As Donald Trump Is The More Significant White Supremacist And White Nationalist

The decision of the House Republican leadership, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to condemn Iowa Congressman Steve King and strip him of his committee assignments, is a lame and belated acceptance of the Republican Party of how racist and nativist King has been for years, with the GOP tolerating him and his promotion of white supremacy and white nationalism.

He is not the only Republican who has shown evidence of racism and nativism, and many Republicans are now worried about the long range future of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and H W Bush.

The party has catered to white supremacists and white nationalists for years, taking over that role from the old former Southern segregationists who, thankfully, abandoned the Democratic Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act under President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

There should be no place for such racism and nativism in any establishment political party in America, but Donald Trump paid homage to them after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, when he said both sides in the conflict had good people, which was a sign he was allied with David Duke, Richard Spencer, and the right wing radio talk show hosts that spew such hatred regularly.

Until and when the Republicans in Congress in the House of Representatives and Senate repudiate the ultimate racist, nativist, hate monger, and misogynist—DONALD TRUMP—which they refused to do to this moment, then the action taken against Steve King is pure hypocrisy, to save their own rear ends.

The Republican Party is dead in the water as a future force until they return to the progressive trends of Lincoln and TR, the true paragons of virtue in their party history.

The Most Diverse Congress In American History

The 116th Congress, which opened on Wednesday, is the most diverse in American history.

It contains the following in the House of Representatives, “the people’s branch”:

102 women

52 African Americans

39 Hispanic-Latino Americans

20 Asian Americans

34 Jewish Americans

2 Native Americans

2 Muslim Americans

Most of these groups are Democrats, with only a scattering of Republicans among them.

So we have a very diverse Democratic Party, and a heavily white Christian male Republican Party.

The future is in the hands of the Democrats long term, and if the Republican Party does not become more diverse and back away from the cancer of Donald Trump, the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and Bush will end up in the dustbin of history, to be replaced by a moderate conservative party under a different banner and agenda.



The Centennial Of The Death Of Theodore Roosevelt

Today marks the Centennial of the death of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

Although TR passed away at the young age of 60, he had led a life few people, and few Presidents, had led.

He had run for Mayor of New York City at the young age of 28 in 1886. He had been the head of the NYC Police Board in 1895-1897, the equivalent in modern terms of being Police Commissioner. He had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897-1898, and then at age 39 had led troops into battle (The Rough Riders) in the Spanish American War in the spring and summer of 1898, becoming a war hero. He had then, immediately after his war service, been elected Governor of New York in the fall of 1898, followed by becoming Vice President at the young age of 42 in 1901.

And then, fate would have it that President William McKinley would be assassinated in September 1901, making TR our youngest President at 42 years and 10 and a half months, with TR being a path breaking President for the next seven and a half years. He would expand the authority and scope of the Presidency, and become a model for many future Presidents.

TR would become the greatest environmental President, and promote the growing role of the federal government in American life, and advocating “progressivism”, proclaiming he was proud to call himself a “progressive”, and ushering in what has become known in American history as the “Progressive Era” years from 1900-1917.

TR would bring America also into world diplomacy and naval supremacy, with his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating the end of the Russo Japanese War at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and his manipulation that led to the building of the Panama Canal.

TR was larger than life, and promoted newspapers and periodicals across the nation to send White House correspondents to follow the statements, actions, and antics of the 26th President. He was always the center of attention, in and out of office, as he craved public adulation. He has been regarded by historians and political scientists, on a consistent basis, as a “Near Great” President, as number 4 in scholarly polls over the long haul, just behind three “Great” Presidents–Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

TR’s impact on the nation has been massive and will continue to be so, and only Lincoln is rated higher as a Republican President in American history. And it is clear that TR would be shocked, were he to return and see the conservative swing of the party in the past four decades since Ronald Reagan, and the extremist and dangerous trend of Donald Trump in the past two years. It seems certain that TR would be on the barricades protesting the great damage done to the Presidency by the 45th President, who has set out to destroy everything the 26th President brought about in the early 20th century.

Walter Mondale 91 Years Old, And Adds To Record Of Longest Surviving Retired Vice President, With Longest Surviving Retired President, Jimmy Carter

Today is former Vice President Walter Mondale’s 91st birthday, and he adds to the record daily as the longest surviving retired Vice President, sharing that with the longest surviving retired President, Jimmy Carter. Both will have been out of office for 38 years on January 20.

Mondale is at this point the 5th oldest Vice President in American history, with John Nance Garner (under Franklin D. Roosevelt) having reached the age of 98; Levi Morton (under Benjamin Harrison) dying on his 96th birthday; George H. W. Bush (under Ronald Reagan) reaching the age of 94; and Gerald Ford (under Richard Nixon) reaching the age of 93. Only John Adams (under George Washington) otherwise reached the age of 90, surpassed by Mondale a few months ago.

Mondale also goes down as, in many ways, the most active, involved, and engaged Vice President we have ever had, although it does seem as if Joe Biden may have been as intimately involved with Barack Obama during their two terms of office, with more information on that involvement to follow with future research.

Happy 91st Birthday, Vice President Mondale, and many more, and the same for President Jimmy Carter, who will become the longest lived President on March 22 of this year; will reach 95 on October 1; and will have the longest Presidential marriage on October 17, with his beloved wife, Rosalynn.