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The Reagan Presidency - Research Paper Example

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Ronald Reagan was the 33rd president of the United States. His presidency is most remembered for sweeping economic changes and foreign policy successes and blunders. He was a Republican that is given credit for a renaissance in conservative politics on the national stage…
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The Reagan Presidency
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Download file to see previous pages This, coupled with foreign policy mistakes such as the handling of the Iranian hostage crisis made the current president, Jimmy Carter, a very unpopular figure. Ronald Reagan ran on a platform of returning pride to America. Many citizens felt that the country was in a state of decline due to the weak economy and the Iranian hostage crisis. Ronald Reagan promised to take a hard line with states such as Iran, as well as the archenemy of the United States, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He said that he would return America to a position of strength on the international stage, called the enemies of America evil and proposed and economic program that would cut taxes and reduce regulations in an effort to stimulate growth in the economy. Ronald Reagan won the 1980 presidential election by a landslide. President Reagan made good on his economic promises early. He appointed individuals to governmental agencies that were given the task of dismantling regulations that hurt American business. The Environmental Protection Agency under James Watt was especially vigorous in slashing through prior regulations. Under President Reagan, controls on natural gas and oil drilling, timber harvesting and surface water protection were all relaxed (Lash et al 1984). Regulations were also relaxed on savings and loans in an effort to increase growth in this sector of the finance industry. This deregulation led to a record number of savings and loan failures in the 1980’s This relaxing of regulations was just one part of a supply-side economic theory that became known as “Reaganomics.” The thought was that if constraints on business growth were removed, such as taxes and regulations, then more profitable businesses would grow and create more jobs. This job creation would benefit the business owners first; because they would make more money through business expansion, but then the theory said that the benefits would eventually “trickle down” to the workers and employees. More profitable corporations should result in more jobs with higher wages. Today, the debate still rages as to whether Reaganomics and the trickle down theory worked. The American economy did improve, but many economists point to the fact that record government spending on the military and soaring federal budget deficits drove much of this growth. Other economists point out the fact that the better wages never materialized because the wealth created by lower taxes and less regulation never trickled down, it stayed at the top (Perotti 1992, 311-16). President Reagan enjoyed many successes when it came to implementing his foreign policy. He took a hard stance against Communism across the entire globe. Any nation that was battling communist rebels or insurgents could usually depend on foreign support from the United States. At the very end of his second term, Ronald Reagan saw the beginnings of the end of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev had introduced Glasnost as the official policy of the ruling communist party. Changes were rapidly happening that would see the Berlin Wall come down, many of the former Soviet Republics break away from Russia and Eastern Europe have free and fair elections for the first time in two generations. Many of these changes were attributed to the policies put in place during the Reagan Presidency. Unfortunately, not all of Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy initiatives were successful or even legal. The administration became mired down ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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