We can preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we can sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness," stated Ronald Reagan. "If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."
This week is the 45th anniversary of "The Speech," delivered via nationwide television in support of then-Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. It was funded by Brothers for Goldwater, whose chairman was John Wayne, and marked the nation's introduction to the man who would spend the rest of his life promoting American values and conservatism.
Reagan's values, core beliefs and visionary thinking would lead to massive tax cuts, which energized the economy, and his declaration that the Soviet Union was an "Evil Empire," which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.
Think of his accomplishments as heating up the national economy while cooling down a potential world war.
How times have changed.
Currently, our economy is cold and unresponsive. The unemployment rate in September was 9.8 percent. That translates into more than 15 million people out of work. A recent Bloomberg News survey of economists estimated that the U.S. "economy grew at a 3.2 percent pace from July through September after shrinking the previous four quarters."
While talk of a recovery may sound good, real improvement would mean more people having jobs. "Economists are the only people saying the recession is over," according to Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, N.C. A real recovery means real jobs.
A slight recovery in economic activity is not so hard to accomplish after a steep fall. This uptick in activity occurs after the passage of a $787 billion stimulus plan under which the government is spending tax dollars it has not yet collected.
If we had known then what we know now, we might have laughed out loud at the January projection of unemployment peaking at 8 percent with the passage of the stimulus plan. To the almost 3 million additional people now unemployed, it is no laughing matter.