110 years ago today, Ronald Reagan was born in the town of Tampico, IL.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was President of the United States from 1981 until 1989.
I remember the day I cast my first vote for him as if it was yesterday.
My mother and I were in a long line that morning in a local school gymnasium. It took so long that I was late for work, but my boss just said, “Good for you for voting!” I even remember exactly what I was wearing: a gray and maroon plaid skirt, a gray collarless jacket, a maroon silk blouse, and oxblood leather high heels. On my jacket was fastened a WWII vintage Lucite pin with an embedded dark red rose.
The times were dark in 1980. The economy was in recession, unemployment was high (especially here in Michigan’s auto industry), interest rates were out of sight, GDP was negative. In 1979 we had an energy crisis. Gasoline and heating oil prices were high, gas rationing went into effect in some areas, and Jimmy Carter’s solution was “put on a sweater”.
Reagan promised that his supply-side economic policies, referred to as “Reaganomics”, would turn around the economy with lower tax rates, economic deregulation, and reduction in government spending. Over his two terms, the economy saw a reduction of inflation from 12.5% to 4.4% and an average real GDP annual growth of 3.6%. His administration saw the longest period of economic growth in peacetime American history up to that point, lasting 92 months.
When Reagan left office in January 1989, he held an approval rating of 68%, matching those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and later Bill Clinton as the highest ratings for departing presidents in the 20th Century.
Historians and the general public place him among the best of American presidents.
I agree! Ronald Reagan was the vanguard for a new conservative movement. Here is his famous speech, “A Time for Choosing”, delivered on October 27, 1964.