Was President Reagan overrated or underrated? This is such a controversial question. Some believe he was overrated while others believe the latter. Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th president of the United States. Reagan was born in Tamping, Illinois on February 6, 1911. In 1920, after living in a series of towns as a child, Reagan family settled in Dixon, Illinois. Here his father opened a shoe store (biography, 2014).
Reagan graduated high school n 1 928 and continued his adult education at Eureka College in Illinois. Here, he was an athlete and scholar. He played football, ran track, and was captain of the swim team. He also acted in school plays and was president of the student council (biography, 2014). Reagan graduated in 1 932 and in the latter part of the thirties he signed a seven year contract with Warner Brothers studio. He starred in over 50 movies during his time as a Hollywood actor (biography, 2014). Political Career Reagan started his political ventures in 1964. He gave a televised speech for
Barry Goldwater who was a Republican presidential candidate at the time. Two years later he became the governor of California and was re-elected for a second term in 1 970 (biography, 2014). After two failed bids for the Republican presidential nomination, Reagan finally made it in 1 980 when he beat Democratic incumbent and current president Jimmy Carter. He was inaugurated January 20, 1981 and became the oldest person elected to the United States presidency (biography, 2014). Economics: “Ergonomics” His presidency was from 1981 to 1989. Reagan employed various initiatives urine his novo terms as president.
His contribution to the growth of the economy was through controlling the money supply and the reduction of taxes. This way, he successfully curbed inflation and reduced government spending (Moss & Thomas, 2013). “Ergonomics” as it came to be known, amounted to a conservative assault on the liberal welfare State. This method had been established during the previous fifty years before Reagan took office (Moss & Thomas, 2013). Reagan believed that he could create millions of new, well-paying jobs and generate economic growth if the private sector old increase its investment in productive enterprises.
The increased revenue from a stronger economy balances the lost revenue through tax cuts. His tax cuts were favorTABLE to both the government and the citizens. By the end of the summer of 1981, “Ergonomics” was in place and after only a year it was obvious that these policies did the opposite of what they were intended to. The country went into a severe recession. The bankruptcies of businesses elevated to depression levels. High interest rates priced homes and cars beyond the reach of millions of families. This caused those two industries to plunge into depression. Also, unemployment exceeded 9 percent which was the highest rate since 1941.
The country was held up in its worst decline since the Great Depression (Moss & Thomas, 2013). By 1 983, the nation’s economy had begun to recover. The economy recovered strongly and the surge continued in 1984. The GAP rose by 6. 8 percent. This was the largest one-year gain since the Korean War. Unemployment and interest rates also declined as well as housing starts and new car sales picking up. For both years, the inflation rate dropped to four percent and was at its lowest since he early asses (Moss & Thomas, 2013). During the economic recovery, however, over 7. 5 million Americans were still out of work. 5 million people were poor in America which was six million more than when Reagan assumed office. According to the Census Bureau, the country’s poverty rate reached 15. 2 percent in 1983. This was the highest it had been since 1965 (Moss & Thomas, 2013). Many economists believed the Ignited States entered a seven- year period of prosperity after the revival from the recession. However, others charged that his policies had actually increased the deficit and hurt the idle class and poor (biography, 2014). Reggae’s second go round During his second term Reagan vowed to get it right.
He made tax reform his top legislative priority. A new Tax Reform Act was developed and Reggae’s administration supported the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Both of which were passed by congress in 1986 (Moss & Thomas, 2013). Besides reviving the economy, Reagan also faced the outbreak of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and homelessness. By the mid-ass, the epidemic swept the country and caused thousands of deaths, mostly amongst gay men (Moss & Thomas, 2013). The administration refused to acknowledge AIDS publicly which made research and studies on the disease a slow process (Moss & Thomas, 2013).
The homeless symbolized the hopeless failures of the Reagan era. The homeless was a diverse group including the unemployed, dysfunctional veterans, drug and alcohol abusers, and racial minorities to name a few. The number of homeless people was anywhere between 200,000 and up to more than one million. Reagan conveyed sympathy for the homeless but never offered any new federal programs to alleviate their grief (Moss & Thomas, 2013). Iran Contra affairs Iran” and “Contra” came to be spoken in the same breath was the outcome of complex covert activities, all carried out, in the name of democracy.
When Iraq and Iran were at war in 1 985, Iran requested to buy secret weapons from the United States. National Security adviser felt this might help improve the United States relations with Iran and Lebanon, increasing the United States influence in the Middle East, so he sought out Reggae’s approval. Reagan, however, did not agree. His primary focus was on the seven hostages that were being held captive by Iranian terrorist in Lebanon so instead he reposed the arms for hostages proposal (PBS, 2013). More than 1,500 missiles had been shipped to Iran. Three hostages had been released, but only to be replaced with three more.
When exposed by the Lebanese newspaper, Reagan denied that the United States had traded weapons for the release of hostages. When Attorney General Edwin Mess was investigating the accusations, he discovered that only $12 million of the $30 million the Iranians reportedly paid had reached government coffers. Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council stated that he had been distracting funds from the arms sales to the Contras, with the lull knowledge of National Security Adviser Admiral John Pinpointed. He assumed Reagan was aware, as well.
During the investigation, no evidence could be found linking Reagan to the diversion (PBS, 2013). In 1989, he left office with the highest approval rating Of any president since Franklin Roosevelt, despite the whole Iran-contra ordeal. Conclusion President Reagan is a legend in the history of the Ignited States. He is credited with the control of inflation and ending the long, drawn out, cold war. On the other hand, there were also many downfalls during his time as the president. The recession of the early ass, the rise in the number of homeless people, and the Iran-Contra scandal.