October 19

RCL #8: Paradigm Shift Essay Draft

  1. Introduction
    1. Discuss the current economic “culture” in the U.S.
    2. Low taxes, deregulation, free trade/globalization, etc.
    3. Much of this can be attributed to the actions of President Ronald Reagan
    4. General political shift to the right in the nation
    5. Predictably, people are divided on whether this has been good or bad, especially as of late
  2. Events Leading Up to Reagan
    1. More Keynesian economic policies in decades preceding
    2. FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society, higher taxes, stronger union rights, etc.
    3. So-called “Golden Age of Capitalism” where all socioeconomic classes benefited from growth
    4. Humiliations of 1970s cause Americans to lose faith in this system
    5. Vietnam War loss, recessions, energy crisis, Iran hostage crisis, Soviets invade Afghanistan, etc.
    6. Culminated in incumbent President Carter’s loss of 1980 election to Reagan
  3. How Reagan Won Election
    1. Made appeals to Americans’ then current frustrations with government’s handling of issues
    2. “Government is the problem”; cite specific source for this!
    3. Charm, positive attitude, and wit resonated with voters
    4. Also allied with Christian leaders, formed “Christian Right” coalition
    5. Discuss disillusioned Democrats who supported him (AKA: “Reagan Democrats”)
  4. Reagan’s Accomplishments
    1. President Reagan managed to restore confidence in much of the American populace
    2. “Reaganomics” often attributed to economic boom of the 1980s
    3. Slashed taxes and regulations, especially on big business
    4. Ended or reduced several government assistance programs
    5. Stood up to “Evil Empire” Soviet Union; ended detente of ’70s; involved in some proxy wars
    6. Relations with USSR improved greatly during Reagan’s second term, partially thanks to the more liberal Premier Gorbachev
  5. Reagan’s Impact on Future Politics
    1. Popularity rubbed off on his VP, George H.W. Bush, who won the presidency in 1988
    2. Destabilization of USSR under Reagan led to its subsequent collapse under Bush 41
    3. Bill Clinton was a “New Democrat”; more conservative than previous party presidents to appeal to Reaganites
    4. Republicans took Congress in 1994, showed conservative stronghold created by Reagan remained
    5. Bush 43 continued Reagan-esque policies such as tax breaks
    6. Obama’s victory hinted at reversing right-wing trend, but GOP control of Congress stated otherwise.
    7. When running for 2016, Trump may have attempted to brand himself as “The New Reagan”; “Make America Great Again” was actually used way back in 1980.
  6. Proponents of Reagan’s Impact Argue:
    1. Obviously, Reagan remains popular with modern conservatives and Republicans
    2. Tax cuts and deregulation have helped businesses and economy grow
    3. Collapse of communism led to U.S. as world’s sole superpower (for now, at least)
    4. Spread of democracy worldwide continued thanks to Reagan’s policies
    5. End of the Cold War set the stage for free trade and globalization
    6. Christian Right remains an influential part in many U.S. social issues
  7. Opponents of Reagan’s Impact Argue:
    1. Politics too heavily-dominated by the right nowadays
    2. “Trickle-down economics” has led to increased income inequality for past 30+ years
    3. Free trade led to loss of domestic jobs
    4. Christian Right’s influence a nuisance to some social liberals
    5. Discuss lack of attention to HIV/AIDS epidemic during Reagan era
    6. Policies sometimes blamed for the 2008 economic collapse
  8. Recent Backlash from Both Sides
    1. Recent events may indeed lead to another political paradigm shift in the near future
    2. Bernie Sanders on the left; wants to return to more controlled economics of New Deal era
    3. Despite making parallels to Reagan, President Trump is protectionist on trade; wants America to become less globally-involved
    4. Similar right-wing or populist movements to Trump in Europe; Brexit, France’s Le Pen, etc.
    5. Perhaps mention Obama’s possible attempt at “Change”
  9. Conclusion
    1. Reagan marked a shift in politics that is still seen today
    2. Has remained a stronghold despite some opposition
    3. His legacy is clear, but still up for debate whether good or bad

Posted October 19, 2017 by ajs680 in category Uncategorized

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