US History: President Ronald Reagan (1981 - 1988)
The Reagan Reforms and Legacy
The Christian Science Monitor summed up Ronald Reagan's presidential legacy in the following way on December 18, 1997 by columnist Murray Weidenbaum :
Ronald Reagan's legacy was a fascinating mixture: lower inflation and higher deficits; lower taxes and higher levels of government spending; less unemployment and bigger trade deficits; fewer strikes and more government jobs; reduced economic regulation and expanded social regulation; the deepest recession in half a century and the longest peacetime recovery ever.
A Radio and Film StarClick thumbnail to view full-size
In the US Army Air Force, 1940s
In the Joe McCarthy Witch-Hunts
Cold War Hunting and Hats
- Analysis of "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller
The Communist Witch-Hunts, as portrayed as the Salem Witch Trials, affected this famous playwright and Ronald Reagan as well as over 200 others.
- Hedda Hopper Hats - and the FBI Files
Ronald Reagan switched political parties around the time of his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Friends Joe McCarthy and Hedda Harper together brought political pressure to bear upon actors and other Hollywood artists.
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
Ronald Reagan Timeline
January 20, 1981 -- Inaugurated as US President. Iran releases 52 hostages after over one year in captivity, on the same day.
July - US Congress passes the Reagan Tax Bill with a 25% tax cut.
August 3 - Air Traffic Controllers go on strike and Reagan fires any not back to work within 48 hours.
September - First Female US Supreme Court Justice is added: Sandra Day O'Connor. Immortalized in the film First Monday.
Autumn - "The worst recession since the 1930s", but this sentiment was repeated about the recession of 2008 - 2010. [Note: businesses in Central Ohio began to close down in early 1982, including some McDonald's restaurants.]
Reagan speaks out against the "evil empire" of Communism, while he increases the US Defense Budget. Several armed conflicts occur that include the US and Communist forces.
Reagan asks for peace talks with the USSR and aide for the Nicaraguan Contras. That Contra aid request is defeated in Congress. The request became more controversial when journalist Gary Webb uncovered facts that the CIA trained and funded Contras with drug money raised by traffickers in Los Angeles and elsewhere, which the CIA ignored, leading to a cocaine epidemic in America. This is concurrent to the Reagan "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign. (See the book and film Killing the Messenger.) High US unemployment continues in 1984, with increasing numbers of people apply for Public Assistance and Social Security Disability payments.
January - Regan is inaugurated again, at age 73.
June - Terrorists begin a history of hijacking airplanes with TWA flight 847.
November - Reagan and Gorbachev meet in Geneva, but disagree on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Talk is made of nuclear reductions, but this meeting and one in 1986 lead to no agreements.
January - The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes within 2 minutes of launch, because of a faulty O-ring. The entire crew, including Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe are killed. The families each receives $1 million from insurance policies.
November - US arms sales to Iran results in money funneled to the Nicaraguan Contras.
February - The Tower Report allows that President Reagan could have been unaware of the funding of the Contras. [Note: Saturday Nigh Live skits portrayed the President as fluent in many world languages and planning the government initiatives of all players.]
June - Reagan demands that Gorbachev tear down the Berlin wall.
December - Gorbachev agrees to reduce nuclear arms by only 4%.
The USSR withdraws troops from Afghanistan.
First Lady Nancy Reagan admits to using astrologers for booking the President's public appearances.
May - The US Senate passes the INF arms control treaty, the first since SALT II in 1972.
In The Oval Office Study
One of the Top 100 Leaders and Revolutionaries in the 20th Century
As decreed by TIME Magazine, most of the leaders in the following list of twenty most politically influential people were active during the years that Ronald Reagan was Governor of California and President of the United States; or, their prior influence carried into the political world of the President.
Himself on the list, Reagan had major interactions with many of the others, finally resulting in the fall of the Berlin Wall and Soviet Union Communism in 1989.
- David Ben-Gurion - Prime Minister and leader of the formation of the Israeli State in 1948.
- Ho Chi Minh - Founder and President of Communist North Viet Nam during much of a 30-year armed conflict.
- Winston Churchill - British Prime Minister during WWII.
- Mohandas Gandhi - The ultimate in nonviolent resistance in India.
- Mikhail Gorbachev - General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the Reagan years. Some Russians believed him to be an Emissary form God because of the port wine birthmark on his forehead. Soviet Communism fell under his term of office.
- Adolf Hitler - The psychiatrically disturbed, yet charismatic, Nazi leader that produced the Jewish Holocaust that killed millions of all minorities, created human-skin lampshades, and inhumane scientific experiments on human beings, including Twin Studies in which body parts were removed from one twin and grafted onto another.
- Martin Luther King - Pastor and Civil rights Leader during the 1950s - 1960s that followed radical Pastor Vernon Johns in the Movement at his home church.
- Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini - Middle East Muslim autocrat that revived Muslim traditions and culture against advancing influences of the West.
- V.I. Lenin - Russian Communist leader after the Russian Revolution and the formation of the Soviet State. He invented the concentration camp and influenced other dictators, including Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tsetong, and Pol Pot.
- Nelson Mandela - Political leader and hero of South Africa.
- Pope John Paul II - Head of the Catholic Church in the Vatican for many decades. He instituted the new Mysteries of Light into the rosary celebration.
- Ronald Reagan - US President that fought against Communism as a political system rather than as a people to be contained and controlled, and asked that the Berlin Wall come down.
- Eleanor Roosevelt - A tireless social issues advocate, often considered a co-president with husband and cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Four-term President during the Great Depression and WWII. He served the US even though he had poliolitic paralysis of the legs.
- Teddy Roosevelt - Rough Rider in the Spanish-American War, US President, and Uncle to Franklin and Eleanor.
- Margaret Thatcher - Prime Minister of England during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. She advanced capitalism in the world marketplace and applied pressure with Ronald Reagan against the Soviet Union to dismantle itself under Gorbachev.
- The Tank Man - At Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989 in Beijing a lone male shopper stood in front of a line of 18 tanks and stopped their progress. He climbed the first and told the driver that the military was creating chaos. After that, no one knows what happened to him.
- Margaret Sanger - The Irish practical nurse in NYC that observed her own mother due after 11 live births and 7 stillborn or spontaneously aborted fetuses. Though illegal, she promoted the use of barrier and spermicidal contraceptives in the early 1910s, culminating in the founding the the precursor to Planned Parenthood and the development of the birth control pill.
- Lech Walesa - An electrician from Poland, he won the presidency and led his country out of Communism.
- Mao Tsetong - Chinese Communist Premier, he established Beijing as the capital of the new country in 1949.
Reaganomics In Personal Experience
The Reagan Administration has been well known for its system of "Reaganomics," a system purported to be one of cutting waste, reducing taxes, and enhancing free enterprise/capitalism. However, to shore up this program and to increase the US Defense Budget, budget cuts in some vital areas were instituted that enhanced America's strengths, but hurt some innocent people.
One of the moves under this system was to place disability recipients, especially patients supported by SSI and SSDI funds, under a microscope of analysis and cross examination. In Ohio, such disability recipient were cut from benefits without preamble. They received a letter stating that they had already received their last check.
They became homeless and some of them simply died on the streets as the local homeless shelters filled to over-capacity.
Operation Coffee Cup - Against Socialized Medicine
"Start Your Own Business"
Just as well welfare reform in the late 1990s - early 2000s, some former recipients decided not to reapply and were able to either find jobs or living arrangements and support with relatives. However, many others were left without income, health insurance, homes, or families.
They became homeless and some of them simply died on the streets as the local homeless shelters filled to over-capacity and some even closed down.
A disability patient of mine in the late 1980s was hospitalized during a worsening in her musculoskeletal condition that has resulted from work-related and non-work related injuries, inherited debilitated diseases and conditions such as profound arthritis, and some other health complications.
This woman was in a body cast - both legs and both arms were in traction. Thus, she was unable to move. A divorced woman about 60 years old, she had one adult nephew, who visited her and picked up the mail from her small subsidized apartment.
One letter was from President Reagan, explaining, in short, that she had been cut off disability payments, insurance, and her housing, and should start her own business. I copied it and placed it in her file with an extensive report to the Social Security Administration that requested her reinstatement of benefits.
Reaganomics Finally Trickles Down
"26 yrs after...the president's massive tax cuts for the ultrarich at last trickled all the way down to deliver their bounty, in the form of a $10 bonus, to...car-wash attendant Frank Kellener."
A Woman Who Lost Everything
My patient was reinstated for benefits, but not for many months. Meanwhile, she had to find new housing, going to the end of the waiting list for subsidized apartments, which was a 2-year wait.
Hundreds of such individuals had been left without family, and had a much rougher time of surviving. Local attorneys set up additional offices in trailers all over southern Ohio, recruiting such individuals into legal proceedings that would help recover their disability payments. Some, indeed, received a lump sum of back pay along with a reinstatement, and the attorneys took 1/3 of these amounts.
At the same time, I witnessed a 21-year old client receive Total and Permanent Disability status and payment because he had a heart murmur that his own physician stated was not a barrier to his office job. Another 21-year-old received "Total and Permanent" on the basis of drug addiction.
At the same time, the designation of ADD/ADHD was coming into play and Ohio granted the first disability payment in America to children who were diagnosed with these conditions. In fact, there were a lot of forces encouraging children to be diagnosed and paid for having "ADD" at the time. Some children were even coached in portraying symptoms, a course that lost some of its effectiveness when standard diagnostic tests for ADD/ADHD were written and adopted. Interestingly, some of these children were teens whose parents had been cut out of their own disability payments.
Overall, I saw that this portion of Reaganomics did not work well.
Doctor, Paraplegic and Olympian Ronan Tynan Performs at the President's State Funeral on June 11, 2004
© 2008 Patty Inglish