Reasons Ronald Reagan Failed As US President

Introduction:

The advertising campaign has begun full force to move Ronald Reagan into the category of legendary presidents. There are several freeways named for the president and a handful of congressional representatives put forth his image for a new coin.

But is all this hoopla justified? President Reagan's policy decisions remain a low point in America's history. It's time to label Reagan's presidency for what it really represented. He may have been the "Great Communicator," but his foreign and domestic policies were failures. The United States has yet to recover from some of the more serious policy decisions.

Iran-Contra Scandal or Contra-Gate

This 1986 scandal involved President Ronald Reagan and his senior advisors. The group presented arms to Iran, an action outlawed as part of an embargo. The guns were given as part of a deal to release American hostages held in Iran and to raise money to fund a counter action in Nicaragua.

Fact: Reagan admitted his administration's role in the Iran-Contra Scandal and appointed a commission to place specific blame. By the time the lengthy hearings finished, the American public was bored and daytime TV fans were upset that the hearings pre-empted their daytime television programs of soaps and game shows.
Fact: Reagan admitted he was wrong giving arms to rebels and selling guns to hostile forces. He violated U.S. treaty law and avoided congressional involvement in the failed foreign policy.

New Gilded Age

The original Gilded Age was corrupt and gave the rich goods and services, while the poor went hungry. The gold gild described by author Mark Twain was the apparent wealth of society, while the core of society was dark and corrupt. Reagan's Gilded Age gave the same appearance of wealth, but the realty didn't match Reagan and his supporters vision of greatness.

Fact: Wages for the middle class went down under Reagan's terms in office.
Fact: Homeownership fell during both terms.
Fact: The number of people in the upper class rose, while the number joining the poverty class of poverty.
Fact: Real income fell during the Reagan Administration.

Increasing Poverty

The trickle-down economic policy of the Reagan White House failed to lift people out of poverty or create new jobs. In fact, cutting the tax rates for corporations and the rich led to reductions in spending for education and health care programs to help the poor.

Fact: By the end of Reagan's second term, more than 1.2 million people were homeless and living on the streets, including many children and Vietnam War veterans.
Fact: Reagan closed state-operated mental hospitals as California governor, putting many mentally-ill onto the streets, and his policies continued to promote leaving the needy without housing or medical care during his presidential term as part of the federal government.

Funding For Big Business & Defense Contractors

Reagan entered office with a mandate to cut spending, but the only spending cut under his Administration was to assist people. Military spending increased under his two terms. He promoted military equipment to create a "Star Wars" defense system, but despite high levels of funding, the system was never operational.

Fact: Reagan cut federal assistance to states and localities by more than 60%. This cut municipal improvements, including utility upgrades for water and sewers and assistance to repair public schools.
Fact: Many fire departments and public hospitals in rural areas were forced to shut down, forcing local residents to rely on volunteer fire departments with aging equipment and travel for miles to receive medical care.

Reagan's Gifts to Big Business, Lenders and Developers

Although Reagan's apologists claim the former president never was about big business and that instead he support small business, the de facto of Reagan's policies did indeed favor big business. Many of the major breaks to oil and gas companies came under the Reagan years in office.




Final Thoughts

Reagan believed that people should pull themselves up by the bootstraps. He didn't believe in government assistance programs.

Quite an interesting policy for a man who couldn't pay for his own West Coast residence while he was in the White House. Reagan also took money for his Simi Valley-area ranch and land for his future presidential library from his wealthy supporters. Reagan must have misplaced his own bootstraps.


Supporting Links






Comments

  • tracyann 4/14/2011

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    Interesting list.

  • GeorgeSommers 3/12/2011

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    Amazing how Reagan is considered by Republicans to be their "JFK". I'll admit he was fun to watch and charismatic, but I agree his policies were abyssmal. And, ironically, he probably wouldn't have even been conservative enough for the Tea Party>


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