The 1980 US presidential campaign pitted Republican Ronald Reagan against Democrat Jimmy Carter. Why do you think Reagan beat Carter?
Reagan inherited an economy that was in bad shape. The prime lending rate was like 15%, credit cards were 15-25%, there was gas rationing and soaring inflation that was 20%. He had an economic plan that was about cutting government size, taxes and building the US military back up. People got fed up with Carter and the government taxes.
Sounds kind of like the Tea Party movement…
Sort of. The Tea Party is about following the Constitution and amendments, cutting taxes and government size. But it is not a political party despite what most people think. They have conservative values for the most part like the Republican Party.
Reagan linked his campaign to the spreading tax revolt by promising substantial tax cuts. Equally important, he called for restoration of American “strength” and “pride.” (Brinkley, Chapter 31, 2012). What did he actually do about this while in office?
He had Reaganomics (supply-side economics). He cut taxes on the premise that businesses and investors could push the economy into growing after the energy crisis of the 70’s, high taxes and high interest rates on loans. The US economy blew up in the mid/ late 80’s.
What about the size of the government? What did he do about that and what were the results?
He cut government programs. I am not sure which. I think he did some cuts on Medicare and Medicaid. Low income housing. He broke the air traffic controller union after they tried to strike for better wages. They made way more than most already so he canned most of them.
There were reductions in food stamps, subsidized low-income housing, limitations on Medicare and Medicaid payments, reductions in student loans, school lunches, and other educational programs; and an end to many forms of federal assistance to the states and cities (Brinkley, Chapter 31,
References: Brinkley, A. (2012). American History (14th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database. Schewizer, P. (2002). Reagan’s War. New York, NY: Double Day.