January 11, 2013

CERTAINLY THE LAST UNAMBIVALENTLY SECOND WAY PRESIDENT:

Richard Nixon -- the last great liberal (Douglas E. Schoen,  January 09, 2013, FoxNews.com)

Nixon was not only a fervent supporter of the Clean Air Act, the first federal law designed to control air pollution on the national level; he also gave us the Environmental Protection Agency. The creation of the EPA represented an expansion of government that would face fierce opposition were it being debated today. The EPA is also one of the agencies on Capitol Hill that the business community most detests--along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which polices working conditions. OSHA is another Nixon creation.

Herbert Stein, chief economic adviser during the administrations of Nixon and Gerald Ford, once remarked: "Probably more new regulation was imposed on the economy during the Nixon administration than in any other presidency since the New Deal."

How many remember that Nixon was a champion of affirmative action? "Incredible but true", as Fortune magazine put it in 1994 when Nixon died, "It was the Nixonites that gave us employment quotas." Though many credit John F. Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson with initiating affirmative action, it was rather Richard Nixon who first sanctioned formal goals and time frames to break barriers to minority employment.

Social Security benefits, a cornerstone of the Democratic Party platform, were also crucial to Nixon's policies. He ushered in a minimum tax on the wealthy and supported a guaranteed income for all Americans, a move that would rile today's Republicans to unprecedented heights.

And finally, consider health care: Nixon's proposed reform would have required employers to buy health insurance for their employees and subsidize those who couldn't afford it. Nixon's version of national health care was a far more liberal concept than Bill Clinton's or Barack Obama's--and it failed because of Democratic opposition, not lack of support from Nixon's own party. (Ted Kennedy later said that opposing Nixon's health-care plan was one of his biggest political regrets.)

Posted by at January 11, 2013 5:05 AM
  
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