“TO WHAT EXTENT SHOULD PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN AND ‘REAGANOMICS’ BE CONSIDERED A SUCCESS IN ITS ATTEMPTS TO REVERSE THE ECONOMIC RECESSION OF THE LATER 1970S AND EARLY 1980S?”
Bell Ringer: Do you feel actors/actresses would make good Presidents? Why or Why Not?
What do you know about Jimmy Carter’s Presidency? What was he plagued with?
Purpose, Background and Context
In the late 1970s, America was swinging toward conservative values. Many people were tired of the protests and extreme behaviors of the 1960s. Many others felt the government had grown too large and was spending money on social problems that could not be solved. President Ronald Reagan’s election to the presidency in 1980 has been considered one of the most significant of the 20th century. Promising an “Era of National Renewal,” President Reagan assumed the presidency with the commitment of reversing the nation’s economic woes and the promise to bring back old-fashioned values. Reagan believed in supply-side economics, which was a far different approach compared to his predecessors. Since the 1930’s, the Presidents who came before Reagan believed higher taxes would support government spending. Supply-side economics called for reducing taxes on the wealthy and large corporations which would result in savings and investing. The wealthy and businesses would use the money invested to create jobs and the result would be a large supply of goods to buy. Regan believed with lower taxes, Americans would have more to spend. However, lower taxes also meant less money flowing into the Treasury. To make up for this difference, Reagan cut spending on programs such as welfare and Medicare. His economic policy, known as “Reaganomics,” has continued to evoke debate and controversy over its success. This lesson explores the extension to which Reaganomics can be considered a success as solving the economic hardships of the later 1970s and early 1980s.
“These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. We suffer from the longest and one of the worst sustained inflations in our national history…in this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem…It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment…In the days ahead I will propose removing the roadblocks that have slowed our economy and reduced productivity…It is time to reawaken this industrial giant, to get government back within its means, and to lighten our punitive tax burden.”
-Ronald Reagan, “Inaugural Address,” January 20, 1981
Directions: President Reagan’s economic program was considered a radical departure from the programs of all the previous administrations since the New Deal. Today you will….
• Understand characteristics of the United States economy by examining basic economic indicators
• Demonstrate skills for historical research and analysis of primary sources by examining an excerpt from President Ronald Reagan’s January 20, 2981 inaugural address.
• Demonstrate skills for historical research and analysis by evaluating basic economic indicators from President Reagan’s term(s) in office.
TASK 1)Go Online. And define the following terms IN YOUR OWN WORDS!:
“Supply Side Economics” “Trickle-down Economics”
Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States and a former Hollywood actor. LOOK AT THE 1980 ELECTION RESULTS.
• Who won the popular vote? By what margin?
LOOK AT RONALD REAGAN’S INAUGURAL ADDRESS GIVEN ON JANUARY 20, 1981, AND ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS
1. Count the number of times Reagan used the words “economy” and government”. Why do you think he used these words so many times?
2. What inferences can you make about Reaganomics based on his inaugural address?
3. What is the “affliction of great proportions,” President Reagan mentions? Support your explanation using specific examples from the speech.
4. What does Reagan say will result in “tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals?”
5. Explain what is meant by the following: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem?”
6. What does Reagan state his objective is?
7. According to the President, how must the Federal Government operate to accomplish this objective?
8. Overall, What are the GOALS: of Reaganonomics??
9. Look at the Inflation Chart, Was Reagonamics a Success? Explain?
10. Look at the Government Debt/Deficit Chart, Chart, Was Reagonamics a Success? Explain?
11. Look at the Government Spending Chart, Chart, Was Reagonamics a Success? Explain?
12. Look at the Unemployment Chart, Chart, Was Reagonamics a Success? Explain?
13. Look at the GDP Chart, Chart, Was Reagonamics a Success? Explain?
THE SUPREME COURT AND REAGONOMICS (LAST FROM I-TUNES FILM 8:30 MINS)
1. What is the role of the federal government?
2. What were the simple ideas? What was the overall goal
3. What does Reagan push forward?
4. What did Reagan claim?
5. What arguments are getting the most play?
6. What did Raegan want to dismantle?
7. What happened in the end?
8. How did Raegan describe the deficit increase?
9. What did Reagan do with social security?
10. What did Raegan do in 1983?
• Reaganomics cut spending on programs such as welfare, Medicare, and school lunches. Reagan also removed government limits on the automobile industry, airlines, and pollution. President Reagan also opposed two major Supreme Court rulings and named conservative judges to the Supreme Court. Go online and investigate how Reagan’s actions did not benefit all Americans equally researching each of those topics and telling who benefited and who did not.
• Was Raegan more like FDR (Keynes) or Hoover (Hayek)? Explain in relation to government’s involvement in the economy, capitalism and “socialism”
• Compare the role of the government during the presidencies of Reagan and Obama. Begin the discussion by analyzing the political cartoon. Next, list examples of how Obama has increased the role of the Federal Government.
• Ronald Reagan is considered one of the best Republican Presidents by American popular belief. Look at the Chart between Liberals and Conservatives on The Economy, Taxes, Social Security, Private Property…
1. which group did he more closely align with? Explain.
2. Why do you think he did this?
3. Does this change your view on what role the government should play in/with the economy?
4. Connect with the question “How does fear and confidence drive decision making?”