Remembering Ronald Reagan: A Great American
By Senator Troy Fraser
AUSTIN -- While America and the world mourns the passing of Ronald Reagan, he will be remembered as one of our nation's greatest presidents because he pushed the former Soviet Union to the brink of collapse and brought the 40-year Cold War era to an end.
But his election in 1980 as our 40th president also ushered in a new era of conservative thinking, one that was rooted in compassion and honed under the political tutelage of Barry Goldwater, the founder of America's political conservative movement. It was also a doctrine that attracted, transformed and guided an entire generation of business and political leaders to what later would be called the Reagan Revolution.
As a young businessman in West Texas in the early 1980's, Reagan's basic tenets of smaller government, lower taxes, and less regulation had a profound and lasting impact on me. It shaped my conservative philosophy of business, and later, of government, when I was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1988. Those same principles espoused by Ronald Reagan still serve me today -- and serve me well -- as your state senator.
Ronald Reagan recognized that if businesses are free from excessive government regulation, taxation, and bureaucratic red tape, they are more likely to grow, providing more jobs and better paychecks while expanding the tax base.
Reagan believed that if government taxes individuals less, allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money, people will reinvest those dollars in the economy when they buy goods and services.
"Millions of individuals making their own decisions in the marketplace will always allocate resources better than any centralized government planning process," Reagan believed.
And Ronald Reagan taught me that government cannot and should not try to be all things all people.
His distaste for big government was rivaled only by his desire to lower the tax burden, and during his presidency, the top income tax rate fell from 69 percent to 28 percent. Along the way, he reduced domestic spending and eased the regulatory burden on industry.
While Ronald Reagan will be remembered as "The Great Communicator," and a man of enormous determination, character and warmth, it should be noted that voters rewarded him with a second term in office because his domestic policies worked, and the national economy rebounded.
After winning his first election in 1980 with 51 percent of the vote in a three-way race, he won re-election in 1984 by a landslide, carrying 49 states and 525 of the Electoral College's 538 votes. He left office in 1989 with a 63 percent job approval rating, the highest of any president since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In the days ahead, as we mourn the loss of this great American leader and recall his many accomplishments on the world stage, let us also remember him for his common sense approach toward government, and for renewing our conservative values that make our nation great.
Senator Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, represents District 24, a 21-county region in the geographic center of the state.