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American Presidency - Essay Example

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For this paper, I have chosen Ronald Reagan’s domestic policy as the best among those pursued by other American presidents staring from Harry Truman for two specific reasons. First, is that Reagan’s domestic policy has been one of the most coherent from the beginning and…
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American Presidency
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Download file to see previous pages An interrelated program of domestic-policy reforms characterized the Reagan policy agenda. We see this in the administrations work to reduce the size and scope of the federal government, which entailed lowering federal taxation and domestic spending as well as the deregulation and returning of the power to the states.i The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 was the first of changes that Reagan launched in his pursuit of his domestic policy. This legislation brought about far-reaching budget cuts and policy shifts and is considered to be one of Reagan’s major achievements in domestic policymaking. Besides significantly trimming domestic spending and trimming the federal government’s role in domestic program areas, the legislation had two other significant effects: first, it substantially changed welfare programs, and second, it increased the proportion of federal grant funds that are channeled to the states and reduced the share paid to local units of government.ii
Reagan’s experience as governor of California, prior to his election as President, influenced his attitude toward domestic policy. As governor, Reagan became convinced that the states could play the major role in running domestic programs such as welfare. He saw in this experience that domestic policy choices are best made at the state level and that this philosophy became the foundation of his New Federalism. Reagan emphasized this in his 1982 State of the Union address:
Our citizens feel they have lost control of even the most basic decisions made about the essential services of government, such as schools, welfare, roads, and even garbage collection. They are right. A maze of interlocking jurisdictions and levels of government confronts the average citizen in trying to solve even the simplest of problems. They do not know where to turn to… who to hold accountable.iii
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