“The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.”
~ Ronald Reagan
Said to be a great communicator, the two-time President of the United States, Ronald Reagan is credited with the end of the Cold War earlier-than-anticipated. During his terms at the White House, Reagan managed not only to negotiate a reduction of nuclear arms with the erstwhile Soviet Union, he also succeeded in cutting taxes, an enviable achievement by all accounts.
Ronald Reagan: A Life Fully Lived
Born on February 6, 1911, in the small town of Tampico in Illinois, Ronald Reagan lived till the ripe old age of 93. The younger son of a shoe salesman, Reagan graduated from Dixon High School in 1928. An athlete and active participant in school plays, he went on to major in Economics and Sociology from Eureka College, Illinois.
Born to achieve fame and fortune, he chose a career in entertainment, starting out as a radio sports announcer and moving on to sign his first seven-year contract with Warner Brothers in 1937. Over the next thirty years, he would appear in over 50 films, the best known of which were Kings Row, All American and the biopic Knute Rockne.
The “ex-prez” met his first wife, actress Jane Wyman in 1940, to whom he was married till 1948. He had a daughter with her, Maureen, and adopted a son, Michael. During World War II, Ronald Reagan made training films at part of the US Army, since he failed to qualify for combat due to poor eyesight. Following his discharge from the military, he served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild, during 1947-1952. This was when he met his second wife, actress Nancy Davis, whom he married in 1952 and had two children with, Patricia and Ronald.
The seeds of Reaganomics were sown when Reagan moved on from a plateauing film career to television in 1954, with The General Electric Theatre. During this time, he was also a public relations spokesperson for General Electric and led business discussions where he argued against excessive regulations by the government and wasteful expenditure. These went on to becoming the key themes of his economic policies during his terms at President.
Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004, finally succumbing to complication arising out of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Ronald Reagan: Politics & Reaganomics
Ronald Reagan started his career in politics in 1964 and within a short span of time was elected as the governor of California, in 1967. He served as governor for two consecutive terms, finally succeeding in filing his presidential nomination as part of the Republican Party in 1980. He started his career as the oldest individual to be elected as President of the United States, at the age of 69, with a bang by narrowly escaping an assassination attempt.
The first order of business for the President was to bring the US economy back on track. His persistence led to the passing of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which gave citizens some relief in income tax rates, while offering incentives for savings and small businesses. The subsequent Tax Reform Act of 1986 was responsible for bringing both individual and corporate income tax rates down to the lowest among the large industrialized nations of the world.
On the other hand, Reagan focused on job creation in a way that there was a significant increased in the employment rates of women and African Americans. He also managed to bring down federal spending for the first time in more than a decade. Government spending growth fell from 10% in 1982 to about 1% in 1987. Some of his other major achievements over his two terms in office include:
- Creation of over 20 million new jobs
- Increase of real gross national product by 26%
- Decline in inflation to 4.1% in 1988, from 13.5% in 1980
- Increase in the net worth of families with an annual income of $20,000-$50,0000 by 27%
- Drop in unemployment to 5.5%, from 7.6%
Ronald Reagan is famously quoted to having said later, “I could tell our economic program was working when they stopped calling it Reaganomics.”