30 Years Later: The Ronald Reagan Era
By Jack Wellman |
Posted 8:43 pm on February 01, 2011
When Ronald Reagan took office on January 20th, 1981, I had just turned 27. It has been 30 years now. At that time I was working in radio as a commercial production manager with an annual salary of $31,000. I was doing well financially despite the economy difficulties of the nation. The U.S. had just endured a painful and expensive oil embargo that had crippled the economy, sent inflation spiraling, and caused unemployment to skyrocket. By the end of the Ronald Reagan’s second term as president, the job market had vastly improved, inflation was under one percent, and the economy began to expand. New businesses in the private sector had exploded like never before.
The nation seemed a much safer place in during the president’s tenure in office since Reagan increased the size of the military. Investments grew with greater confidence on Wall Street. The growth of small businesses soared at a higher pace than had ever occurred in the nation’s history. People began to feel good again about America’s prospects. People had a more positive feeling about the nation’s direction and held a brighter outlook in about all aspects of their personal lives.
The late president changed the face of Eastern Europe too building up the U.S. military like few predecessors had ever done before. Although he was not the primary cause of the end of the Cold War and the freedom of Eastern Germany, he played a huge role. Speaking at the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987, Reagan challenged Gorbachev to go further, saying: "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
As I look back today on that era in American history, there is a sense of nostalgia as compared to this year. I don’t necessarily miss the fashions or music but I miss this sense of peace, safety, and economic security. The unrest in Egypt is a small example of earlier times. Families seemed to have a more traditional view of life. Priorities where focused on helping others and patriotism swelled with pride again in America. Even though I am happier today than I was in 1981, there was a more peaceful, stable world in that year. There were fewer uncertainties. With less Congressional spending families were not as concerned with saddling their children’s future with astronomical debts. They didn’t worry about whether their children would find jobs or not. These were happier and more carefree days; the days when Ronald Reagan was president of the United States.
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