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The Conservative Counterrevolution in the Era of Reagan and Bush and The Policy Uncertainty of the Clinton Administratio

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The Conservative Counterrevolution in the Era of Reagan and Bush and The Policy Uncertainty of the Clinton Administration. Text: The Reluctant Welfare State By: Bruce Jansson Reporters: Chic Gunderson Loida ruane. Reagan Administration:1980-1988. Ascendancy of conservatism

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The Conservative Counterrevolution in the Era of Reagan and BushandThe Policy Uncertainty of the Clinton Administration

Text: The Reluctant Welfare State

By: Bruce Jansson

Reporters: Chic Gunderson

Loida ruane

reagan administration 1980 1988
Reagan Administration:1980-1988
  • Ascendancy of conservatism
    • Promoted the concept that social programs had not solved poverty
    • Did not favor social programs to aid the poor
    • Social spending was incompatible with economic growth
    • Did not support federal civil rights
factors that contributed to the ascendancy of conservatism
Factors That Contributed to the Ascendancy of Conservatism
  • Declines strengths of Democrats
  • White backlash led to widespread opposition to affirmative action
  • Continuing shift of population to the suburbs
  • Maturing of war-baby generation
legitimation of conservatism
Legitimation of Conservatism
  • Conservative ideology emerged
  • Conservative think-tank established
  • National TV show: ”Firing Line” presented conservative views
  • Top positions in government given to conservatives
  • Criticism of intellectuals to Democratic Party and Great Society reform
  • Grassroots following within fundamentalist religious groups
  • Formation of New Religious-Political Right (NRPR)
the triumph of conservatism
The Triumph of Conservatism
  • Three themes of obsession of Reagan

1. Lower Taxes

2. Increase Defense

3. Social Spending Reduction

lower taxes
Lower Taxes
  • 1981: Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA)

- Reduced personal and corporate taxes

  • Tax reform in 1986

- Drastically reduced the tax rate of

affluent Americans

- Encourage economic activity

*Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1981

- Deep tax cuts in social spending and increase in military spending.

increase defense
Increase Defense
  • “We’re not building missiles to fight a war. We’re building missiles to preserve peace.” – Reagan

OBRA of 1981

Defense budget: 1980 - $142B

1986 - $ 368b

social spending reduction
Social Spending Reduction
  • Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) 1981

- Eliminated 57 social programs and folding them into 7 block grants

- 1983: Social Security amendments increase retirement age and reduce some benefits

- Steward Mckinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987: focus was on construction of shelters

bush administration 1988 1992
Maintained defense a priority.

Modest tax increase in 1990

Minimal increase in social spending

Civil Rights Act of 1991: Anti-discrimination Act

Rodney King case: forced Bush to provide allocation for inner-city programs

Bush Administration: 1988 - 1992
legacy of reagan and bush
Legacy of Reagan and Bush
  • $4.5 trillion federal debt
  • Deficit: Reagan $50B/yr while Bush had $352 B in 1992
  • Economic situation of the poor worsened
  • Erosion of real value of paycheck
  • Over-all tax rates of the poor and working person increased
  • Many affluent Americans increased their wealth
  • Labor force was gender segregated.
social problems
Social Problems
  • Lack of medical insurance
  • Homelessness
  • AIDS
  • Growing economic inequality
  • Poor schools
  • Poverty in the inner cities
  • Family violence
  • Feminization of poverty
  • Gang warfare
  • People of Color
  • Immigrants
  • Gay men and lesbians
  • People with disabilities
  • Women
  • Children
  • Aging Americans
  • Homeless
social work profession
Social Work Profession
  • Private practice
  • Advocacy
clinton administration 1992 2000
Clinton Administration: 1992 – 2000
  • The Clinton Presidency: The first two years
  • 1992: Clinton won the election without a mandate

- 3-way race, Perot siphoned votes

- Tried to institute liberal policies.

- Social investments

- Health reforms and others

- Resurgent Republican minority

- Aligned with moderate and conservative Democrats

- Americans tired of government gridlock

- Made many errors in this period

  • Clinton announces tax increases and spending cuts
  • Places Hillary in charge of task force to develop health reform proposal
  • Family and Medical Leave Act enacted
  • Signs the Omnibus Reconciliation Bill, which cuts the deficit, raises taxes, and increases the EICT
  • Clinton presents ambitious plan to reform health care
  • North America Free Trade Agreement enacted
  • Federal policy on gays in the military is modified
  • Congress enacts legislation that makes it a federal crime to intimidate abortion clinic workers and clients by force or threat of force
  • Crime Bill enacted
  • Some republican leaders issue contract with America
  • Republicans obtain control of both Houses of Congress
the third year the newt gingrich era
The Third Year: The Newt Gingrich Era
  • 1994: victories of both Houses by conservative Republicans and their “Contract with America”
  • Clinton gave in to most of Republican budget demands
  • Spending cuts analogous to Reagan only Congress not President
  • Clinton successful in slowing down Newt’s agenda
  • Congress enacts Omnibus Reconciliation Act which seeks to eliminate the entitlement status of AFDC, Medicaid, and Food Stamps
  • Clinton vetoes Omnibus Reconciliation Act as well as specific appropriation bills
  • Government shuts down
  • Citizens blame Congress not President
  • Clinton wins reelection landslide over Dole
  • Budget stalemate between Clinton and Congress continues
  • Enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities act
  • Domestic discretionary spending remained capped
  • Reelection helps Democrat regain seats
  • Welfare reform predicted to cause millions of children to fall deeper into poverty
  • Balanced Budget Act enacted with extension of caps on discretionary spending
  • Impeachment of Bill Clinton
  • Emergence of federal budget surpluses
  • Resignation of Newt Gingrich announced
  • Affirmative action
  • Immigrants
  • Children
  • Women
  • Gays and lesbians