Silverfox » 17 Feb 2014 3:27 pm » wrote:
Back to Reagan just for a moment.
A few thoughts occur to me that haven't been discussed.
First, unemployment. Lots of numbers floating about but little comment on the fact that Reagan actually changed
the way unemployment was counted (in a way that still helps out today's President, ironically).
Second, stagflation. Volcker (and Carter) can be argued to have most of the credit for solving that, by limiting the money supply and easing the pricing of oil. This is if you accept that it was driven by oil price hikes and an expansionary monetary policy under Nixon, which many do.
Third, Reagan benefited from a weak dollar (I recall getting two dollars for a pound in the 80s) and an oil glut (and reduced oil prices - under $30 a barrel).
Fourth, far from a reduced government, Reagan ended up with more government employees. The military spending increases (up 60%?) are indeed pumped into the economy via people's salaries.
Fifth, if this was all a necessary expenditure to end the Soviet Union, why was Reagan so keen on holding talks of disarmament and detente?
This is a guy who won the presidency with 50.7% of the vote. After he had struck a deal with the Iranians NOT to release hostages under Carter - offering arms to pay for their help. Sure enough, as soon as he got in - hey presto - hostages released!
He certainly left a legacy. A bit like Thatcher did over here. And people feel strongly about him, one way or the other.
I do think, however, that he failed to walk on water. He did some good things and some bad things. Mostly, I think he was a force for the worse and I track the death of the USA I remember being so fond of as a child, growing up, to him.