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Reagan's Legacy & the Current Malaise

By Steve Forbes, Wall Street Journal - March 22, 2011

Today, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, the Manhattan Institute and The Wall Street Journal will host a morning seminar concerning the economic legacy of Ronald Reagan. The get-together couldn't be timelier.

Reagan came into the White House facing an economy as troubled as ours—one that had even higher unemployment, catastrophic interest rates (18% for mortgages) and a stock market that in real terms had fallen 60% from its mid-1960s levels. When he left office eight years later, the U.S. had become an economic miracle: 18 million new jobs had been created; Silicon Valley had blossomed, becoming a global symbol for innovation; and the stock market was experiencing a bull run that, despite dramatic ups and downs, didn't end until the turn of the 21st century, after the Dow had expanded 15-fold. The expansion of the U.S. economy exceeded the entire size of West Germany's economy, then the world's third-largest.

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