Ronald Reagan

1981-1989

Elections

  • Ronald Reagan was a Republican
  • He won by a landslide
  • He was likable, a Washington "outsider", stressed the positive aspects of America
  • 3rd party John Anderson took some of Carter's vote
  • In 1994, he again won in a landslide election against Mondale

National Budget

  • Reagan dramatically reduced taxes
  • This led to revenues to decrease too
  • The military was agressively expanded
  • He thought decreasing the size of the federal government would reduce the deficit
  • The exact opposite happened and the deficit increased

Cold War

  • Reagan increased military spending
  • Star Wars (SDI) - research into a space-based missle shield system
  • Grenada was invaded to topple a Communist government
  • Reagan's initial antagonism towards the Soviets was reduced when Gorbachev came to power and they made some negotiations

Iran-Contra Scandal

  • Sandistas - Nicaraguan Communists
  • Contras - Nicaraguan insurgents who fought Sandistas and hurt civilians
  • Iran-Contra Affair - Reagan administration secretly sold weapons to Iran, took income to buy weapons for Contras
  • The affair was criticised as as breaking "checks & balances" system

Economic Legacy

  • supply-side economics - Reagans philosophy for the economy
  • less taxes = greater profits
  • more profits = more employees
  • Therefore, wealth would "trickle-down" and help the economy
  • Reagan deregulated on a large scale
  • His low tax, deregulated economic policy led to mixed results
  • Inflation decreased, but the unemployment rate was high
  • Conservatives like his ideas, liberals don't