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The subject today? We’re going to delve into a little economics – you can call it Reaganomics if you’d like. Ronald Reagan called it common sense. Everyday, we hear economists debate a multitude of economic theories which are as diverse as apple varieties in the produce department. Whether you’re a fuji, or granny smith or Winesap lover, economic theories are usually not as sweet. Even Harry Truman got so frustrated he asked if he could have a one-handed economist. Because economists always say, "on the other hand…"
‘Tis the season of the commencement address, that glowing tradition in which American presidents participate enthusiastically. Starting with Eisenhower, every president has made at least one commencement address in the first year of their presidency. Most gave only one or two addresses, but George H.W. Bush set the record by making six addresses in 1989. LBJ was runner-up with 5 in 1965. The earliest instance of a commencement address is Theodore Roosevelt in his 1902 address at the Naval Academy—the most frequent commencement destination. Turns out, the military academies account for 30% of presidential commencement addresses. Occasionally, commencement addresses have involved an extended articulation of an important new policy position but that is relatively rare. Commonly, presidents state their position on prominent contemporary issues. Almost always, they provide an opportunity for presidents to extol shared American values and international commitments.
President Reagan was no exception.
Join us this week on the "Words To Live By" podcast as we explore the timeless perspectives of former President Ronald Reagan on small businesses in America. During his time in office, President Reagan emphasized the crucial role played by small businesses in America's economy, famously stating, "Small business is the heart of America." We'll look at some of his key quotes and speeches that highlight the contributions of small businesses to our nation's prosperity. We'll also explore the socio-economic variables of the time period which shaped Reagan's views on small businesses in the 1980s, and discuss how his message remains relevant even today, particularly in our current economy. Get ready for this exciting episode of "Words To Live By"!
It’s the month for celebrating our Moms. As we get older and become parents and grandparents, we realize the great gifts we received from our mothers and President Reagan was no exception. So today’s podcast will focus on the President’s respectful communication on that most wonderful subject: motherhood.
Did you know that Pele visited the White House? Yes, the soccer star Pele was invited to the White House in 1982. Then a year later, President Reagan invited all of the all-star soccer players of Team America in order to promote America’s participation in the World Cup. The US tried to host soccer’s World Cup several times but did not succeed until 1994 when, you might recall, the final was played at the Rose Bowl. Anyway, turns out the White House was a busy place for sporting events in May. So in this podcast, we’ll listen to a few different sets of the President’s remarks while greeting the soccer playing members of Team America, then we’ll catch his remarks observing National Amateur Baseball Month, and finally, at the end of the podcast, we’ll hear when he hosted hockey’s New York Islanders, champs of the National Hockey League.
Today, the subject is the Middle East. And after years of struggling to find peace and end terrorism in that region, Ronald Reagan characterized the challenges by saying, “it was like walking on a tightrope.” From 1982 to 1991, over thirty U.S. and other Western hostages were kidnapped in Lebanon by Hezbollah. Some were killed, some died in captivity, and some were eventually released. Specifically, the year 1983 brought new and complex challenges to President Reagan’s doorstep. In Beirut, Lebanon, our U.S. embassy was destroyed in a suicide car-bomb attack on April 18th when a one-half ton pickup truck laden detonated its load of 2000 pounds of TNT. 63 died, including 17 Americans. Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. It was the deadliest attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission to date, and changed the way the U.S. Department of State secured its resources and executed its missions overseas. Six months later, on October 23rd in Beirut, Shiite suicide bombers exploded a truck near U.S. military barracks at Beirut airport, killing 241 marines. Minutes later, a second bomb killed 58 French paratroopers in their barracks in West Beirut. Then in Kuwait City on December 12, Shiite truck bombers attacked the U.S. embassy and other targets, killing 5 and injuring 80. That’s just the Middle East…the subject of today’s podcast. And we’ll focus on the attack 40 years ago in Beirut.
So, what do you know about Social Security? USA Today reported that President Joe Biden should learn a lesson in leadership from Emmanuel Macron, his counterpart across the pond. The French president has followed through on campaign promises to address pension shortfalls by raising the retirement age to 64 from 62. Guess what? A lot of people don’t like it, and the French have taken to the streets. Yet, Macron isn't deterred by the potential political fallout. He knows it must be done. “One cannot play with the future of the country,” Macron said recently to government ministers. Rather than talk straight with Americans about what must be done to ensure that U.S. entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare remain solvent, Biden prefers to play politics. So calling upon Ronald Reagan for wisdom, we’ll listen to two addresses in this podcast on the subject – the first from November 1977 which goes into the history and purpose of Social Security…and in the second half of the podcast, we’ll listen to his speech, six years later, in 1983 after amendments were finally made to save the system.
In today’s podcast, we’re inspired to look back at a speech Reagan delivered in 1987 at the Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group. "Why," you ask? Well due to the recent bank failures of Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank , we thought our listeners would like a closer look. Everyone wants to blame Reagan. Economist Paul Krugman in 2009 claimed that “Reagan Did It.” Yes, he wrote that “the prime villains behind the mess we're in were Reagan and his circle of advisers.” This is perverse thinking by shifting blame from the obvious villains closer at hand. It is disingenuous to ignore the fact that the derivatives scams at the heart of the economic meltdown didn't exist in President Reagan's time. The huge expansion in collateralized mortgage and other debt, the bubble that burst, was the direct result of enabling deregulatory legislation pushed through during the Clinton years. Back in the 1982, 41 years ago, Ronald Reagan's signing off on legislation easing mortgage requirements pales in comparison to the damage wrought fifteen years later by a cabal of powerful Democrats and Republicans who enabled the wave of newfangled financial gimmicks that resulted in the economic collapse. Reagan didn't do it, but Clinton-era Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, did. They, along with then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and Republican congressional leaders James Leach and Phil Gramm, blocked any effective regulation of the over-the-counter derivatives that turned into the toxic assets now being paid for with tax dollars. Ok that was one financial crisis…and as another one looms, let’s listen to the President in 1987, who talks about the basics like good management.
As you know, President Reagan was a man of deep faith, and because attending church created a massive security problem for the parishioners and clergy, he chose to stay home. Sometimes he was visited by a local clergyman and occasionally was able to take communion. So at this time of the year when both Easter and Passover are celebrated, we’ll listen to some of the President’s wise words from 1983, 40 years ago. He delivered a radio address on the subject of both Easter and Passover, reflecting on those seeking freedom from oppression across the globe – in East Germany, in Central America…which to our minds, reminds us quite a bit of the current struggle in Ukraine. We think you’ll find this interesting.
A groundbreaking exhibit opened at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Museum on March 24 entitled Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away. No book, or podcast, or history lesson can prepare you for the impact and power this extraordinary collection of artifacts holds. The exhibition brings together more than 700 original objects of great historic and human value; objects which were direct witnesses to the horrors of Auschwitz and the Holocaust. These objects serve as the guiding thread of a rigorous and moving account on the history of the German Nazi camp Auschwitz and its dwellers, both victims and perpetrators. Why such an exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Museum you ask? In Ronald Reagan’s personal journey, he discovered that life does not proceed by leaps and bounds; rather it unfolds often in the most unlikely ways. His unexpected, eye-opening exposure to top-secret footage during World War II fueled his hatred of oppressive government, antisemitism, and his resolve to protect human freedom.
Let’s look back some 40 years ago when President Reagan spoke to a convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Florida on March 8, 1983. In that historic speech, he publicly referred to the Soviet Union as an evil empire…actually, for the second time in his career. Do you recall the first time he used the phrase? Answer: the word “evil” in relation to the Soviet Union was first used in a 1982 speech at the British House of Commons.
‘Tis the season of wearin’ the green which means St. Patrick’s day and we just can’t be true representatives of President Reagan’s “Words To Live By” if we don’t celebrate some of his colorful thoughts on this, one of his beloved holidays. Going through our archives, I noticed the wonderful toasts given on various Irish occasions: things like when he would say, “…in the words of our forefathers, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the wind be always at your back, and may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.” Plus of course, he included plenty of jokes about the Irish…as only he could.