The Economy in the Reagan Years: The Economic Consequences of the Reagan Administrations

The Economy in the Reagan Years: The Economic Consequences of the Reagan Administrations

The Economy in the Reagan Years: The Economic Consequences of the Reagan Administrations

The Economy in the Reagan Years: The Economic Consequences of the Reagan Administrations


The arguments over the economic policies of the Reagan Administration will continue until sufficient time has elapsed for a consensus to be possible. In the meantime, it is necessary for contemporary scholars to record their opinions as a base for the consensus. Campagna has recorded his conclusions based on considerable research on Reagan Administration policies. He begins by describing what was planned by the government. From there, he discusses what actually happened, and devotes the remainder of the work to his opinion of what has been left with which the future must deal. Campagna concludes that the Reagan economic policies failed. He establishes a position for others to attack or defend in their own publications in the continuing argument.


Under Ronald Reagan, economics was, for a time at least, no longer the dismal science. He, along with whom Ayn Rand called "capitalist hippies," rode the wave of disenchantment with the Carter administration to foist on the American public a "revolution" in the approach to the management of the economy. Armed with simple answers, a straightforward economic program, and a religious zeal, they proceeded to apply their prescription for a struggling economy.

It is not our purpose to examine the emergence of Ronald Reagan on the national scene. Others will have to undertake that intriguing task. Whether he benefited from the conservative swing in the nation (from Nixon to Ford to Carter), or whether he benefited from an antipolitician mood (read anti-Washington), or simply whether his personal appeal allowed him to take advantage of a willingness to take a risk by the voting public, Reagan was able to capitalize on these trends to win election and be granted the chance to try out his economic program and philosophy. Cynics might add that power brokers saw a chance to use an innocent person for private gain in the name of conservatism.

Whatever the explanation for the phenomenon of Ronald Reagan, he was given most of what he wanted of his economic program. In fact, he eventually received more than most presidents in this regard. This is a major theme of this book, and one that allows for the examination of rather clear promises against results; the success or failure cannot really be blamed on others if the program received a reasonable chance to operate.

This book, then, is concerned with the evaluation of that economic program. It is composed of three parts. They ask three direct questions: What was planned? What happened? What are we left with?

Therefore, Part I sets out the aims of the program. After examining the legacy of Vietnam and the first half of the 1970s in Chapter 1, the Carter years are covered both as a forerunner of Reaganomics and for the state of the economy when he left office. Chapter 3 sets out the Reagan agenda so that the record of what he hoped to accomplish is made clear. Finally the role of ideology, so important in the Reagan administrations, is discussed in Chapter 4.

Part II deals with the results of the economic plan. Fiscal policy is covered in Chapter 5 and monetary policy in Chapter 6. The regulatory policy is examined in Chapter 7, whereas all other results of the economic plan are discussed in Chapter 8.

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