Excerpted from “Reagan’s Legacy: Homelessness in America” by Peter Dreier:
“Reagan came to office in 1981 with a mandate to reduce federal spending. In reality, he increased it through the escalating military budget, all the while slashing funds for domestic programs that assisted working class Americans, particularly the poor.”
“Reagan presided over the dramatic deregulation of the nation’s savings and loan industry allowing S&Ls to end their reliance on home mortgages and engage in an orgy of commercial real estate speculation. The result was widespread corruption, mismanagement and the collapse of hundreds of thrift institutions that ultimately led to a taxpayer bailout that cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
The 1980s saw pervasive racial discrimination by banks, real estate agents and landlords, unmonitored by the Reagan administration. Community groups uncovered blatant redlining by banks using federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act information. But Reagan’s HUD and justice departments failed to prosecute or sanction banks that violated the Community Reinvestment Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in lending. During that time, of the 40,000 applications from banks requesting permission to expand their operations, Reagan’s bank regulators denied only eight of them on grounds of violating CRA regulations.
By the end of Reagan’s term in office federal assistance to local governments was cut 60 percent. Reagan eliminated general revenue sharing to cities, slashed funding for public service jobs and job training, almost dismantled federally funded legal services for the poor, cut the anti-poverty Community Development Block Grant program and reduced funds for public transit. The only “urban” program that survived the cuts was federal aid for highways – which primarily benefited suburbs, not cities.”
“The consequences were devastating to urban schools and libraries, municipal hospitals and clinics, and sanitation, police and fire departments – many of which had to shut their doors.
The most dramatic cut in domestic spending during the Reagan years was for low-income housing subsidies. Reagan appointed a housing task force dominated by politically connected developers, landlords and bankers. In 1982 the task force released a report that called for “free and deregulated” markets as an alternative to government assistance – advice Reagan followed. In his first year in office Reagan halved the budget for public housing and Section 8 to about $17.5 billion. And for the next few years he sought to eliminate federal housing assistance to the poor altogether.
Another of Reagan’s enduring legacies is the steep increase in the number of homeless people, which by the late 1980s had swollen to 600,000 on any given night – and 1.2 million over the course of a year. Many were Vietnam veterans, children and laid-off workers.
In early 1984 on Good Morning America, Reagan defended himself against charges of callousness toward the poor in a classic blaming-the-victim statement saying that “people who are sleeping on the grates…the homeless…are homeless, you might say, by choice.”
–Excerpted from the article “Reagan’s Legacy: Homelessness in America” by Peter Dreier https://shelterforce.org/2004/05/01/reagans-legacy-homelessness-in-america/
Here’s a quick recap w/ some additional info:
Before Reagan there wasn’t really any homelessness, there were tens upon thousands of little halfway homes operating across the country. He took all those away to finance his useless Star Wars defense program. Reagan put our veterans out on the street.
It is also a disgusting crime that Reagan and the CIA sold cocaine to the black communities to finance their supposed “anti communist” corporate control activities in South America:
Under Reagan’s direction, members of the Reagan Administration and the CIA were illegally selling arms to Iran despite an arms embargo. They then took that profit and used it to fund “Contras” in Nicaragua. The Contras were essentially Pinkerton guards working for the US corporation-friendly regime installed there. Their goal was to kill the people of Nicaragua who were fighting for a democratic government in their own country. These Contras were also selling cocaine to fund their operation; Reagan and the CIA took that cocaine and deliberately funneled it into African American neighborhoods in the United States.
The profits from the cocaine were then used to fund the Contra’s unjust war back in Nicaragua. This was viewed by the Reagan administration as serving two purposes: it made money and it destroyed black people. Gary Webb was the Pulitzer prize winning reporter who brought the CIA crack cocaine scandal to light in his reporting for the Mercury News in the 1990s. In 2004, he was found dead from two gunshots to the head-yet his death was officially ruled a suicide.
Reagan is not a patriot, he is a war criminal. He put all the veterans in the street and introduced crack into the black neighborhoods. He should have spent the rest of his life in jail.