Ronald Reagan – Defending the 1980s (March 24, 1999)
March 24, 1999
The Community Journal
Leif Torkelson penned: “Healthy and Strong” (March 17, 1999). In this letter, he attacked Ronald Reagan’s record and distorted history. Torkelson described a “huge tax break for the upper class.” Additionally, he claims, “it was Ronald Reagan who ran up the national debt.”
Presidents do not have the power or authority to “run up the national debt.” Presidents can only spend money that has first been appropriated by Congress. The Democrats that controlled Congress are largely responsible for the high spending levels during the 1980s.
Yes, Presidents do influence Congress. And Ronald Reagan is responsible for the large military build-up. We should point the finger at him for:
- Solving the hollow military problem (remember Jimmy Carter and the Iranian hostage fiasco?)
- The fall of the Berlin Wall
- The collapse of the Soviet Union
- The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact
- The technology and equipment available for fighting the Persian Gulf War
Reagan also influenced Congress to enact across-the-board tax cuts. What effect did these tax cuts have on revenues to the federal treasury? REVENUES DOUBLED between 1980 and 1990. Consumers simply had more money to spend and/or save. Businesses expanded which created new jobs. Interest rates and inflation both declined. America enjoyed an unprecedented eight years of prosperity.
At this point you might be asking yourself: Okay, so if Ronald Reagan is responsible for our safer world, the doubling of federal revenues and an unprecedented economic expansion, then why did the federal deficit and national debt soar? Unfortunately, the Democrats who controlled Congress demanded massive increases in social spending and pork barrel projects. Compromise is the name of the game in Washington. Reagan was forced to submit to the Democrats wild‑eyed spending in order to get his tax cuts, strong economy, and a powerful military. Although revenues doubled, the Democrats still managed to spend too much of our money.
Ronald Reagan is (arguably) the greatest President in this century. But one question remains: Why do the Democrats hate him so much and vilify “trickle down Reaganomics”? Liberals attack Reagan’s success because they wish to build popular support for higher taxes, more regulation, higher government spending, and centralized power and control. The country clearly needs another Reagan Republican in the White House.
John E. Becker