Joe Biden's Ronald Reagan Problem

Jeffrey D. Sachs

President-elect Joe Biden is inheriting a national crisis that has built up over 40 years. On January 20, 1981, former President Ronald Reagan took the US on a radical course when he declared in his inaugural address, "In the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." He set out to weaken the federal government by slashing taxes on the rich, dismantling regulations, cutting back on public programs and turning many of the nation's problems back to the states.

President Donald Trump continued this approach -- passing massive tax cuts in 2017, and then when calamity hit with Covid-19 in 2020, placing the burden of response on the states. It is Biden's historic task to reverse Reagan's -- and Trump's -- reckless radicalism.

Reagan won the presidency in 1980, in part, because of two actions by Democratic presidents that had brought an end to the national consensus in favor of activist government that began with Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s and lasted through the 1960s.

The article's full-text is available here.

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