In Sam van Kleef’s Letter to the Editor (Federal stimulus plan will only worsen the economy, 02/04/2009), he claims that the laissez-faire capitalism practiced in the Reagan Era prevented the 1981-1982 recession from worsening. While Reagan did slash funding for social programs, he increased spending on defense industries so much that he ran up one of the largest deficits of any president that preceded him. This led to the economic rise of the Sun Belt and also pulled America out of the recession.

Though Reagan claimed to hate government spending and deficits, his practices and those of his successor (Bush Sr.), increased the national debt from $845 billion to $3.6 trillion between 1980 and 1992. While I don’t agree with how Reagan spent money throughout the 1980s, the bottom line is that during hard economic times, spending stimulates the economy.

Eric Kumbier
School of Education senior

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.