Ronald Reagan's America - Vol. 1

By Eric J. Schmertz; Natalie Datlof et al. | Go to book overview

Preface

Supporters of the presidency of Ronald Reagan will tell you that the "Reagan Revolution" defeated inflation; lifted government from "the backs of the people"; reduced taxes and interest rates; restored the prestige of the United States in the world; rekindled American patriotism; rebuilt America's military might to defend and to be ready to defend free peoples from aggression; accelerated the defeat of Soviet communism; set the stage for the dismantling of the Soviet Union, thus defusing a nuclear threat of four decades to American security; established a sensible balance between industrial progress and environmental protection; and rehabilitated the authority of the states and local governments to bring government closer to the people.

Opponents of the policies of the presidency of Ronald Reagan will tell you that these policies increased the national debt by over $1 trillion; created an economic environment for debt-laden, corporate-leveraged buyouts and savings-and-loan manipulations; gutted social programs and structured a "trickledown" economy that increased unemployment, homelessness, inadequate health coverage, bankruptcies, and the percentage of Americans living at or below the poverty level; squeezed the size and economic vitality of the middle class; supported autocratic governments abroad -- at times clandestinely; neglected enforcement of civil rights at home; and loosened the laws protecting the environment.

Whether one is of the former or the latter persuasion, or some variation or combination, there can be no denial that Ronald Reagan, the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve two full terms, had an immense and commanding presence on the national and world scenes. And that, but for the two-term limit on serving as president and like the president he ad-

-xiii-

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