- Fixed the economy – by cutting taxes.
- Won the Cold war – by expanding our military.
- Intimidated the Soviets – by ‘Star Wars’ missile defense system.
- National Debt went from $1.8 trillion to $3.8 trillion.
- Unemployment by year: 5.8, 7.1, 7.6. 9.7, 9.6, 7.5, 7.2, 7.0, 6.2.
- GDP from $5.5 trillion to $7.1 trillion.
- Industries which gained included weapons, electronics, computers.
- Primary metals, automotive, and many core industries contracted: a plus for the NorthEast, California, and the sunbelt states; a minus for the great lakes states.
- The US went from a creditor nation to a debtor nation.
In 1980, what was the biggest security and economic threat to the US? Dependence on imported oil, esp. from the Middle East. (As today).
- Soviet Military spending in fact declined in the 1980’s.
- The difference between George Lucas’ “Star Wars’ and Reagan’s is that the Lucas version was closer to reality.
- The US was in a much superior weapon systems/military situation, but Reagan did not use it to negotiate an advantage over Soviet Russia.
- What was the ‘cold war’? A standoff between the USA that lasted from the end of WWII to the collapse of the Soviet state. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_War
- When did it end? 1991 (Post Reagan).
- Who won? Japan: industry; education; infrastructure, not weapons.
An Alternative History
- Prepare for post cold war world: by spending on industry; education; and infrastructure ,not weapons.
- Assist basic industries,e.g.:auto; steel; rubber.
- Reduce dependence on imported oil, benefiting domestic jobs, national security, and the environment.
In summary, the Reagan years were ones of opportunities lost: at the end of the day, we had a weaker economy, a much greater national debt, a neglected infrastructure, were even more dependent on foreign oil, and were less secure.