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What You May Not Know About Ronald Reagan

Updated on December 10, 2014

The White House

Lavish First Lady: There is no question that Nancy Reagan was one of the biggest spending first ladies The White House has ever seen. From the beginning she was criticized for replacing and refurbishing White House d├ęcor at incredible taxpayer expense. She got into real trouble when it was revealed that she was accepting very expensive gowns and accessories as gifts without reporting them. Law said that any gift over $335 had to be reported. Many of the gifts she accepted ran past $10,000. When this became public she agreed to stop taking the gifts.

Solar Energy: During the energy crisis of the 1970s president Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the White House Roof. One of the first things that Ronald Reagan did as president was to order them removed.

Staff: The previous administration had also reduced the staff at The Residence, probably more as a symbolic austerity measure more than anything. The Reagans almost immediately refilled the eliminated positions and added more.

The President's Economics

Tighter Money Supply: Even though Mr Reagan is best known for cutting taxes and federal spending, perhaps the step that best helped the economic recovery of the 1980s is the Federal Reserve's tightening of the money supply. When Reagan took office, inflation and interest rates were high and rising. Getting these items under control helped spur private sector spending and hiring. How much influence the president had over this policy is debatable. He did, however, bring on Ben Bernanke who served four more presidents following Reagan and is well thought of in economic circles.

Serial Tax Hiker? One of the facts that critics of The Reagan Administration like to point out is that there were 11 (or 13, depending on your source) tax raises during the eight year term. While factually true, it is misleading. Upon Ronald Reagan's guidance, Congress passed a huge tax reduction bill in 1981, the first year of his presidency. In the following seven years, many of those reductions were rescinded or rolled back. About half of the original tax cuts were intact when the Reagan presidency was over. This means that there was still a huge net tax reduction during the 1980s.

Labor Unions: One of The Presidents biggest political and economic victories was the breaking of the Air Traffic Controllers Union. When the Union decided to strike, Illegally, since they were federal employees, Mr.Reagan gave them 48 hours to return to work or be replaced. He stuck to his word and fired the workers. While President of The Screen Actors Guild while in Hollywood, "Dutch," as was one of his many nicknames, was convinced and concerned that labor unions were being influenced by socialists and communists. He carried these concerns into Washington.


Iranian Hostages: 52 American hostages had been held in Iran for 444 days following the storming of the American embassy in Tehran. These hostages were released just one hour after President Reagan was inaugurated. A very short time later military parts and weapons were being shipped to Iran through Israel, one of our strongest allies. There is strong evidence which shows that Reagan officials were negotiating with the terrorist in Iran even before he took office. some suggest that there was even collusion to make sure that hostages were not released until after The Oath of Office was taken.

President Carter had refused to negotiate with the terrorists at all and was considered by the Iranians as The Great Satan. They may have devalued release in an attempt to humiliate the Former president.

There is some suggestion and sketchy evidence that suggests that some men at the top of the Reagan campaign even started negotiating before election. The suggestion is that the Republicans wanted to avoid an "October Surprise" of hostages being released, thus elevating Carter's campaign. IF this is true, and it is a BIG IF, this would comprise treason.

Bombing of Marine Barracks: In October 1983, a barracks holding 1800 US Marines was bombed in Beirut, Lebanon. 241 Marines were killed and another 100 were wounded. Just days later, as caskets and corpses were being lined up on tarmacs in the United States, Ronald Reagan ordered the invasion of the small island of Grenada. 18 Marines were killed there, most by friendly fire. The United states response to the bombing in Beirut was to withdraw all troops. Was this a case of the tail wagging the dog?

South Africa: Ronald Reagan and his advisors were strong opponents of divestment in South Africa as a means to end apartheid in that country. There was a wave of businesses and organizations pulling money out of South Africa in response to the minority white government's treatments of Blacks in their country. Many called for congress to act. The administration, instead, labeled Nelson Mandela a terrorist and supported the existing minority government. Mandela later won the Nobel Peace prize and is considered a historical civil rights and political leader. He was removed from the terror watch list in 2008.

"The Gipper"

Secret Service: The handsome ex actor was loved by most of his secret service detail as well as the residential employees. At least one of his former agents from his protection detail has written a tribute to the man and president. His code name was "Rawhide."

Campaigning: His successful 1980 run for the presidency was his third attempt to become president. In 1976 he ran against incumbent Gerald Ford and some say this helped Carter defeat Ford. His campaign was also accused of stealing president Carter's briefing book for the 1980 debates, a charge that Regan himself did not deny.

The Speech: In 1964, Ronald Reagan travelled the country with a stump speech supporting fellow conservative Barry Goldwater for president. senator Goldwater was so impressed he asked The Gip to deliver his speech on national television on the eve of the '64 elections. Although Goldwater was defeated, this speech is seen as the beginning of the "Reagan Revolution."

Calvin Coolidge was one of Ronald Reagan's favorite presidents because of his philosophy and policies of low taxation and limited government. Coolidge served from 1923 to 1929 as the 30th president of the United States.

Father and Brother: Both worked for agencies created by FDR as means to bring down unemployment in the Great Depression.

Bruce Springstein: The singer and song writer objected to the Reagan campaign's use of "The Boss" song Born in the USA.

The Lifeguard: While serving as a lifeguard during summers in his youth, he is credited for saving many lives. Some reports have him rescuing over 100 potential drowning in just 4 summers. Of course some of those could have been teen girls looking for attention from the handsome Dutch.

The Ranch: The true cowboy, actor that he was, Rawhide loved to spend time on his California ranch. He spent days chopping wood and riding horses. The Reagans spent 345 days of their 8 year term on vacation, most of it at the ranch.

Governor Reagan

True Conservative and Libertarian: As governor of California in the 1960s, Reagan opposed compulsory education of children. True to his philosophy of keeping government out of people's lives, he did not believe that parents should be forced to educate their children if they did not see fit.

The Governor also opposed the Fair Housing Act which had been passed into federal law. Again, he did not believe that government should force landlords to accept any tenant they did not want, even if it was based on color of their skin. He did his best to help California land owners to avoid this law.

Political Career

California Governor from 1967 to 1975

US President from 1981 to 1989

Ronald Wilson Reagan

40th President of the United States, Republican

Born: February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois

Death: June 5, 2004 in Los Angeles, California

Graduated from Dixon High School, 1928 and Eureka College 1932


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    • russinserra profile image

      Russ Inserra 3 years ago from Indianapolis, In

      It is true, however, that the wealth gap started growing in the Reagan administration and has kept growing since. There is evidence that lower tax rates for the upper income helps this gap grow. Take a look at what happened during the Coolidge administration.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      As a young man in the Reagan era, I just missed getting to vote for him by two years. But even as a young man I could feel the country changing for the better in the early 80s. He missed on a couple of things and Paul Volcker probably deserves credit for the money supply, but RR steered the ship back in the right direction. Voted up.