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Brown: ‘Morning in America’ part II

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When I was in my freshman year of college, I was able to vote for my very first time. It just so happened to be the 1980 presidential election between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. I vividly remember being in Viking Stadium at Airline High School in Bossier City when the announcer’s voice echoed out over the loud speaker in the stadium announcing that Ronald Reagan had overwhelmingly won the election in a landslide victory (I seriously doubt if an announcement like this at such an event would even be made in these modern times).

Almost immediately upon the announcement being made, there was a feeling of excitement in the air. It was as if people sensed an immediate change coming and that good times, prosperous times were soon ahead.

Jimmy Carter impressed me as a very kind and good person. However, I remember roughly three years after he was elected when there were gas shortages, the prime interest rate was around 21% and homebuilders were not able to sell houses because no one could afford the exorbitant interest rates. Times were tough on the foreign front too.

My Dad was in business for himself when Reagan was elected. I remember hearing Dad complain countless times about what it was costing him to borrow money back in the late 1970s. Interest rates were so high back then that it made it very hard for Dad to keep his doors open.

RandyOne segment of Dad’s business supplied built-in home appliances to local builders. When they quit building/selling houses because of the high mortgage rates, Dad had to sit on about $500,000 (in 1979 dollars) of that inventory and pay both the interest and inventory taxes associated with the stagnant inventory.

Needless to say, times on most business people back then were very tough.

I have always felt that situations like this are never totally one person’s fault or responsibility as a politician, but something had to change.  Someone had to spur drastic action.

One of Reagan’s campaign promises was that it would be “Morning in America” again and that America would once again be that “bright shining city on the hill.”

When Ronald Reagan was elected, there was an almost immediate change that occurred. Taxes were reduced and interest rates began to fall. Americans began to see the numerous positive effects of such a plan. Both the American people and American businesses had more money to spend and our economy prospered.

On the whole, America experienced some of the largest economic gains in it’s long history. At the time, I was taking Economics 201 in college and so much of this went right along with what we were being taught. Although things were much more complicated than that, the general principles were the same.

Things were going great nationally and then in our local area, the “oil bust” of 1986 dealt us a very serious economic blow that we are still dealing with in some ways. However, with both the excellent planning and the hard work of many, our local economy is exponentially more diversified and more economically stable than it was back in those oil/gas dependent days. Our area is booming and growing in so many ways today.     

I say all of this to point out that with the campaign promises of our President-elect and the highly promoted and publicized notion that it will soon be “Morning in America” once again, (i.e. taxes will be reduced, Americans will have more money in their pockets, businesses will not be taxed into oblivion) we could once again be on the verge of some very prosperous economic times ahead.

Will it all work?

As always, some things will work as planned while others will not. No one person or political leader ever gets everything they want.

But in remembrance of what I saw happen back in the early 1980’s when it truly was “Morning in America,” I am willing to give our President-elect a chance!

But we want to know: What are your thoughts? How do you feel? Please email me and let me know!

Randy Brown is General Manager of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com