Friday, June 11, 2004

U.S. presidential election, 1980

U.S. presidential election, 1980 In honor of President Reagan who was buried today, I have blogged an article at Wikipedia on the 1980 Presidential election. This is the election that brought Ronald Reagan to power.

From the site:

Toward the beginning of the race, the party favorite was George Bush, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and chairman of the Republican National Committee. However, in the initial debates, Ronald Reagan emerged as a serious candidate, sparring with Bush on economic issues.

Reagan was an adherant to a policy known as "supply side economics." Supply-side economists led the assault on the welfare state built up by the New Deal and Great Society. They assumed that the woes of the US economic were in large part a result of excessive taxation (de-emphasizing the role of high foreign policy, the rise of overseas competition, and massive expenditures on Vietnam), which "crowded out" money away from private investors and thus stifled economic growth. The solution, they argued, was to offer generous benefits to corporations and wealthy taxpayers in order to encourage new investments and to cut benefits geared toward the poor.

Reagan promised an economic revival that would affect all sectors of the population. But since cutting taxes would reduce government revenues, it would also be necessary to target "big government." Otherwise, large federal deficits might negate the effects of the tax cut by requiring the government to borrow in the marketplace, thus raising interest rates and drying up capital for investment once again. Thus, Reagan promised a drastic cut in "big government," which he pledged would produce a balanced budget for the first time since 1969. Bush famously called Reagan's economic policy "voodoo economics."

Bush won the Iowa caucuses, and Reagan won big in the New Hampshire primary, causing most of the other candidates to drop out of the race. Anderson dropped out of the primary, running an independent bid. Reagan went on to win most of the subsequent primaries and caucuses, securing the Republican Party nomination. There was wide speculation that Reagan would ask Gerald Ford to be his running mate, but instead Reagan chose Bush.

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