By Ron Meyer, Young America's Foundation
August 13, 2012, marks the 31st anniversary of
President Ronald Reagan's signing of the Economic
Recovery Tax Act of
1981-which cut taxes 25 percent for all
The Reagan tax cuts are the antithesis of the Obama
administration's "you-didn't-build-that" tax policies and
proposals, and Young America's Foundation is highlighting this
anniversary to remind the nation of the wild success of Reagan's
initiatives--and why we should be emulating them now.
After the implementation of the tax cuts, the youth
unemployment rate (ages 16-24) dropped 43 percent, starting as high
as 18.8 percent and falling to 10.7 percent by the end of Reagan's
presidency. America experienced its longest sustained
period of economic growth ever, and despite cutting the top tax
rate from 70 percent to 28 percent, revenues from this bracket
doubled by the end of the Reagan presidency.
President Reagan signed the cuts at his presidential
home, Rancho del Cielo. The Reagan's adobe
home is around 1800 square feet, and Reagan's humble ranch
reflected his governing values. He didn't believe in an egocentric
presidency or an egocentric Washington. For President Reagan,
raising taxes meant that Washington knew how to best spend the
That's why he did the opposite. President Reagan believed in the
American people, not the arrogant government. His 1981 tax cuts
were the biggest in American history, and when Reagan trusted
Americans with their own finances, the economy took off.
Economic output rose 15.9 percent in the ten quarters following
the 1981-1982 recession. Following our last recession, output has
only gone up 6 percent in the ten following quarters. The Obama
administration has attempted to have government manage our current
recovery, and it has failed-especially for young people.
The Obama administration has had the worst youth
unemployment record since the Bureau of Labor and Statistics
started keeping track in 1948. The average youth
unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted, ages 16-24) under the Obama
administration has been 17.6 percent. The current
rate is 16.4 percent.
In what Investor's Business Daily has dubbed
"The Great Youth Depression," young Americans are yearning for more
jobs and more freedom. A McClatchy-Marist poll showed 69
percent of young Americans favor tax cuts for everyone, including
successful employers and businessmen--which is exactly what
President Reagan did in 1981.
Young Americans who learn the history of the Reagan tax cuts
know we can do better. Humble leadership which returns power back
to the private sector can put America's youth back to work.
Ron Meyer--age 22--is the spokesman for Young America's
Foundation and the originator of the Youth Misery Index. He's
appeared on Fox News, CNN, GBTV, and the Sean Hannity Radio Show.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.