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The Reagan Years - The Economic Message Of September, 1981

("The voodoo you do so well") When President Reagan spoke about the economy, most people were mystified. He was the one who stressed the "trickle d


("The voodoo you do so well")

When President Reagan spoke about the economy, most people were mystified. He was the one who stressed the "trickle down theory", the cuts in domestic spending, the increases in Military spending, the gutting of programs. What it managed to do was create a bigger gap between the poor and the wealthy, while fracturing the ever-shrinking middle class. All of this rose doubts, even within the ranks of the GOP, as White House advisers put spin in every way possible, hoping no one would look too closely at what would be disastrous long-term remedies to short term problems.

On September 24, 1981 President Reagan went before the public to outline his latest set of plans. The results were met with skepticism as is evidenced by this post-address round table, part of the September 24th edition of Nightline with Ted Koppel. It featured Murray Weidenbaum, a Reagan Economic adviser. Harold Brown, former Defense Secretary. Senator Paul Tsongas (D-Mass) and Congressman Toby Moffett (D-Conn).

Congressman Toby Moffatt: “ Well, this is part of what George Bush called ‘Voodoo Economics’, and I think if the President wants to really do something, what he ought to do is stop embracing these economic assumptions that don’t make any sense. He wanted tight money, he has tight money. We have 20% interest rates, small businesses are caving. The cuts are going to fall very heavily on the poorest of our people. He’s a charming fellow with what turns out to be a cruel program, and what he should do is back off on these tax cuts, defer them, until we have a balanced budget in our sights, and really cut back on what is the most massive defense increase in history. It’s not a Defense cut.”

I think it would be safe to say that much of what went on with the economy during the Reagan Years has had an effect on our current economic situation. Those "fixes" that were presented by The Great Communicator did not work. And to think they could work again is to live in a fool's paradise.

But then . . .so many still do.

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