Ronald Reagan's America - Vol. 1

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

soared.

Personal income tax rates were reduced dramatically from 70 percent to 28 percent.

The rate of inflation fell sharply.

Interest rates, especially mortgage rates on homes, fell sharply.

Unemployment dropped to low levels.

Federal spending on social welfare and other domestic programs more than doubled in spite of the increases for defense spending.

It wasn't perfect. The rate of increase of federal spending was reduced, but not enough-and the deficit widened, significantly increasing the public debt. Serious mistakes were made in the deregulation of the savings-and-loan industry.

But what if one were to ask these questions: What was the greatest economic expansion the United States ever had? When did it occur?

Well, if you use standard criteria such as goods and services produced, net new jobs created, number of months of consecutive economic growth, the change in the rate of inflation and the rate of interest, and the change in wealth represented by changes in the price of stocks, then you are reluctantly (or happily) drawn to the eight years of economic growth that began in 1982 when Reagan's economic policies began to work. The only other economic expansion that even comes close was the wartime expansion of the 1960s.

How long, or even if, the Reagan legacy will last is in the hands of others now. But history will record that, in the space of a few brief years, this nation led the world back from the brink of a nuclear holocaust, won the intellectual war over the communist idea, and enjoyed a historic spurt of economic prosperity.

And it all happened on President Reagan's watch.


NOTES
1.
Emmet John Hughes, The Ordeal of Power ( New York: Atheneum, 1963), p. 329.
2.
Ibid.
3.
Fred I. Greenstein, The Hidden-Hand Presidency ( New York: Basic Books, 1982), p. vii.
4.
Remarks of the President to the 41st Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals, Sheraton Twin Towers Hotel, Orlando, Florida, March 8, 1993.
5.
Photocopy of handwritten letter from President Ronald Reagan to General Secretary [sic] Yuri Andropov appears on p. xxxvii in Revolution by Martin Anderson (Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, paperback edition, 1990), letter dated July 11, 1983.
6.
Martin Anderson, Revolution ( New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988), p. 175.

-39-

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