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The Legacy of Jesse Jackson

Powerful Essays
In the 1980’s President Ronald Reagan and his staff implemented the largest economic transformation in the United States since President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930’s (Niskanen 1993). The media labeled his economic agenda as “Reaganomics;” a term that the majority of Americans have since adopted to characterize President Reagan’s economic policies (ushistory.org 2014, White, Bay, and Martin 2012). Many Americans have contended that the policies of Reaganomics were disadvantageous to those who are dispossessed, the majority of whom were minorities (Pierre 1991). According to Jesse Jackson, the main tenant of Reaganomics, or “reverse Robin Hood[ism]” as he titled it, was that “the poor had too much money and the rich had too little” (Jackson 1988). Through his policies, President Reagan authorized extensive tax cuts for the upper income bracket and corporations, increased the military and defense budgets, and enacted extensive spending cuts to welfare programs, such as food stamps, child-care subsidies, job-training programs, and welfare assistance programs for the working poor (Mintz and McNeil 2013). In considering the implications of the various changes that President Reagan made to the economic system in the United States, it becomes evident that the policies had a positive effect on the rich whites and had negative consequences for the poor minorities. During both the 1984 and 1988 presidential nomination elections, many of the Americans who were negatively affected by President Reagan’s political policies were in search of a new hope—someone who would rescue them from the suffering that Reaganomics caused.
Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson presented himself as this hope in both the 1984 and 1988 presidential nomi...

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