Leading up to the year 1981, America had fallen into a period of “stagflation”, a portmanteau for ‘stagnant economy’ and ‘high inflation’. Characterized by high taxes, high unemployment, high interest rates, and low national spirit, America needed to look to something other than Keynesian economics to pull itself out of this low. During the election of 1980, Ronald Reagan’s campaign focused on a new stream of economic policy. His objective was to turn the economy into “a healthy, vigorous, growing economy [which would provide] equal opportunities for all Americans, with no barriers born of bigotry or discrimination.” Reagan’s policy, later known as ‘Reaganomics’, entailed a four-point plan which cut taxes, reduced government spending, created anti-inflationary policy, and deregulated certain products. Though ‘Reaganomics’ was successful both at controlling “stagflation” and promoting economic growth, it has and always will be an extremely controversial topic regarding the redistribution of wealth.
Immediately after being sworn into office, Reagan implemented the first of many tax cuts. The Economic Recovery Tax Act passed in 1981 took 20% off taxes from top income levels and 25% off taxes from all lower income levels. Additional tax cuts, enforced in 1986, lowered taxes for those with high incomes by another 28% and those with lower incomes by 15%. These cuts were enacted based on the principle that tax breaks for the upper echelon of society would encourage investment and spending, creating new jobs for lower income individuals. Though these acts helped America during an economic low, they had consequences which are still being felt today. During Reagan’s presidency the distribution of wealth shifted unfairly towards individuals...
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... the one to maneuver us out of a situation we had never been in.
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