Why Reagan Remains Highly Relevant Almost 30 Years Later

Reagan tax cuts defenseHave you noticed? Liberals are counseling conservatives to be “realistic” and no longer look to Ronald Reagan for answers to the problems of 2018 and beyond.

After all, they say, he was elected president nearly four decades ago, when the Cold War was still being waged and stagflation was strangling the economy.

Reagan ideas like supply side economics and maintaining a defense establishment second to none, they say, are no longer relevant in a global economy and in the absence of an aggressive adversary like the Soviet Union.

Well, extreme caution should be exercised when a long-time adversary offers you advice. To paraphrase an old maxim—beware of liberals bearing gifts.

Still, when even friends suggest the same thing, a prudent man will ask himself whether the suggestion has any merit. Yes, Reagan was a great president, one of the two great presidents of the 20th century, but this is the 21st century. Unquestionably, the world has changed—it is no longer bipolar, politically or economically.

However, before consigning our 40th president to the history books, we would do well to examine a few of his accomplishments, determine what ideas guided them, and ask whether those ideas are still relevant.

First, through his personal charisma and his belief in the exceptionalism of America, Reagan restored Americans’ confidence in themselves and their future. As the social philosopher Michael Novak put it, “He awakened the better angels of our nature.”

Reagan led America out of a great psychological depression caused by the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, and the misery index of the Jimmy Carter presidency.

Second, Reagan applied the principle of limited government to the economy, cutting taxes and initiating other supply side measures such as deregulation and reduced federal spending, which produced an unprecedented period of economic prosperity lasting well into the 1990s.

He insisted that if you reduced tax rates and allowed people to spend or save more of what they earned, “they’ll be more industrious, they’ll have more incentive to work hard, and money they earn will add fuel to the great economic machine that energizes our national progress.”

As a result, during the 1980s, economic growth averaged 4.6 percent annually, the gross national product doubled, and 17 million new jobs were created.

Third, Reagan ended the 40-year Cold War by winning it. He did it through a policy of “peace through strength,” a concept first articulated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

This Reagan Doctrine was a prudent foreign policy that included a strong national defense, U.S. support of pro-freedom forces in Afghanistan and Nicaragua, a firm commitment to the Strategic Defense Initiative—which the Soviets could not match—aid to Poland’s Solidarity movement and similar anti-communist groups behind the Iron Curtain, and a sustained diplomatic offensive led by Reagan, who famously predicted in 1982 that Marxism-Leninism was headed for the ash heap of history.

Before the decade was out, Soviet communism in Eastern and Central Europe had collapsed and two years later, the Soviet Union—the “evil empire”—dissolved.

To summarize these accomplishments and the ideas upon which they were based: (1) Reagan restored public confidence in American ideals and institutions through his optimism and can-do spirit; (2) he ignited a historic period of economic growth through commonsense economics—tax cuts, deregulation, reduced government spending, and low inflation; and (3) he ended America’s longest war by winning it through a prudent foreign policy based on America’s founding principles and backed by our capabilities.

Do the ideas of patriotism and American exceptionalism, commonsense economics, and peace through strength still make sense? Of course they do.

Are Reagan and his presidency still relevant? Of course they are.

Should we apply his principles to help preserve a sound national defense and encourage a sound economy today? Absolutely.

Should we advise our liberal friends that the way back to the White House and a congressional majority for them is to forget about Franklin D. Roosevelt and his four-term presidency? Without a doubt. It’s imperative to be relevant, you know.

From - The Daily Signal - by Lee Edwards

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4 years ago

I remember very well. I had just become able to vote. The hostages would soon be released from Iran as soon as Ronald Reagan became president. I remember looking at Jimmy Carter back then as a wimp. President Carter’s big accomplishment that I have to acknowledge him credit for, was negotiating the peace between Israel and Egypt. But all in all the Soviets and Chinese looked at him as a weekling and took full advantage of him. When Reagan became president, I had such a sense of pride in this nation again. The nation was strong again. We were working again and we could invest again. We could enjoy life and the pursuit of happiness again. I thought, how could the country ever go back to previous ways of making the economy work. From what I saw it seemed to me that Reagan’s plan worked. From what president Trump has done, it is obvious that these philosophies do work. Like President Reagan, President Trump has restored my pride in this nation once again. I never really liked his personality, but I said back in 2008 that if there is anyone who could get the economy going it was Donald Trump. I said if he would be President, you would see the economy roaring. As we see the truth about the Democrats agenda, this nation needs President Trump and us more now than ever.

4 years ago

Interest payments on consumer loans, including those on credit cards, used to be tax-deductible. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, eliminated many tax shelters, but also eliminated the tax deduction for consumer loans — except for mortgages. People who had enough equity in their homes could take a second mortgage to buy a car etc and have a deduction on their interest. I had several co workers who knew how to get around the rule and do this.
Another thing is that NAFTA was President Reagan’s dream. This did not do well for our country Many businesses left our country and went south of the border because they did not have to pay the high taxes and wages. The PeeDee lost several businesses to Mexico.

4 years ago
Reply to  Cookiepress

I remember small businesses doing very well in the Regan era. Reagan may have supported NAFTA but, I’m sure he would have worked out a much better deal than what Clinton did.

Herb Lieberman
4 years ago

EXCELLENT and factual article…Thank you..

Robert Curry
4 years ago

Reagan LOVED AMERICA, his home, and he was willing to whatever was necessary to keep it AMERICA, and ALL AMERICANS FREE! Bottom line, REAGAN LOVED HIS COUNTRY, and WE LOVE HIM!

joseph Kiesznoski
4 years ago

He was the Best, Now we have two of the best I president trump.

4 years ago

Reagan didn’t kill communism or any of the other evils that have plagued mankind since Eve took a bite out of the apple. But he did do what he could to beat them back. Which is all any man can do.

We’ve gone from a president and leadership that consistently aided and abetted the enemy. To a president that is, once again as did Reagan, willing to stand up and fight. He will only be as successful as the amount of support he receives from you and me will allow him to be.

Trump is willing to lead. But is America wiling to follow him to greatness and prosperity? Our enemies, foreign and domestic, will never go away. But we can keep them at bay if we are willing to do what it takes.

Burton Pauly
4 years ago
Reply to  bajaron

And Reagan brought the people back to Patriotism, and pride in our nation. And I give him credit for sending the old soviet union to it’s knees. And the rest of the world gave him his space. And he brought the interest rate that Carter gave us back down to a lot less than the 20 pct. And we loved the Man…

4 years ago

I don’t think Communism is dead, by any means. Putin is a KGB man. His war is not fought by building planes and tanks that compete with domestic resources and fuel domestic inflation; he spends the war machine money on intelligence and KGB. The KGB gets jobs of US citizens in the US and has the US economy subsidize his efforts. Meanwhile, he continues to undermine the US with “newspeak” [1984] policies. Pretty slick, Vlad!

Robert Curry
4 years ago
Reply to  Hank

Hillary, and the Progressives support Putin, not America! They want power, as they are already CORRUPT!

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