STAYING THE COURSE
They don't call it Reaganomics anymore.
RONALD REAGAN, IN MANY SPEECHES
THE FIRST TWO NOVEMBERS of his presidency were unkind months for Ronald Reagan and the interval between them cruel and costly for the Americans who had accepted his invitation to dream "heroic dreams." In November 1981 the shaky underpinnings of Reagan's economic assumptions were disclosed by publication in The Atlantic of William Greider "The Education of David Stockman. " A year later the Democrats gained twenty-six House seats in the midterm elections, giving House Speaker Tip O'Neill sufficient Democratic regulars to overcome the coalition of Republicans and "Boll Weevil" Democrats who had given the Reagan administration a working majority. In the year between these two events, the U.S. economy recorded its worst decline since the Depression. By November 1982 more than 9 million Americans were officially unemployed, a statistic that would rise to 11,534,000 by January. 1 Grim as they were, these statistics understated actual unemployment. Between 2 and 3 million Americans had been out of work so long they were not actively seeking jobs and therefore were not officially counted in the army of the unemployed. Many other Americans, perhaps as many as 10 million, had been forced by factory shutdowns or relocations to take service or pickup jobs at lower pay. With the job losses came business failures--17,000 of them in 1981 alone, the second-highest figure since the Depression year of 1933. 2 By the end of 1982, the nation's steelmakers were operating at only 35 percent capacity. 3 In January 1983, 20,000 people lined up in 20-degree weather to apply for 200 jobs at an auto-frame factory in Milwaukee. 4
Reagan, whose jaunty optimism rekindled memories of Franklin Roosevelt, was compared in these hard times to Herbert Hoover instead. Arriving at a Minneapolis political fund-raiser in February 1982, Reagan was greeted by a banner proclaiming "Welcome President Hoover." In June,