Ronald Reagan's Budgetary Policy

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Ronald Reagan’s presidency set many dangerous precedents for dealing with budgetary policy, making the process of dealing with deficits much more difficult for his successors. Reagan believed strongly in increased defense spending, and was also completely convinced that lowering taxes would spur economic growth to cancel out his increased spending, the mantra of supply side economics. However, most of Reagan’s budgetary promises were empty, and as stated by Hager and Pianin, Reagan and his staff did not have “the stomach for the gut-wrenching spending cuts” that were essential to a balanced budget (Hager and Pianin 100). The Reagan Administration knew that, to balance the budget, they would have to make nauseating cuts to spending, and possibly …show more content…
Clinton came into office at the time when all of the problems that plagued Bush were in the rearview mirror. Operation Desert Storm was being paid for by the United States’ allies, which caused additional revenue to flood into the country from overseas, all while the economy stateside was growing. Clinton also had a Congress, which according to Hager and Pianin, “regretted their role in unleashing such big deficits” in the Reagan era, and was ready to work with him to reduce the deficit (Hager and Pianin 199). With the help of Republican Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, Clinton convinced the markets that he was serious about deficit reduction, which caused the economy to improve. The legislation of the budget agreement would turn out to be the toughest part of 1993 for Clinton, as his budget passed the house by one vote, the vote of Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, which per Hager and Pianin, was the “imminent end of her short career as a House member” in only her first term in office (Hager and Pianin 221). The sacrifice of Margolies-Mezvinsky was symbolic of the large sacrifice made by the Democratic Party, which lost its majority in Congress in the next election. In the end, Clinton passed an almost identical bill to the Deficit Reduction Compromise of 1990, in 1993, his greatest effort to cut the deficit. In the presidencies of Bush and Clinton, people made sacrifices to control the deficit, and as revealed by Hager and Pianin, representatives “believed that the deficit was the government’s single most important problem” (Hager and Pianin 222). This belief combined with the will to sacrifice is what delineated the presidencies of the 1990s from the 1980s and 2000s. Like Bush, Bill Clinton also advocated for a tax cut during his campaign, but he was a more skillful politician than Bush (he was even known as “Slick Willy” back in Arkansas), and

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