Politics and Economics in the ’70s and ’80s Goal 12

Politics and Economics
in the ’70s and ’80s
Goal 12
Essential Idea
America suffered through economic crisis
in the ‘70s.
The ‘80s was a time of social change.
Inflation and the Baby Boomers
Beginning in the 1960s, the country was hit by inflation (raising
prices). At the same time, the baby boomers were becoming old
enough to work.
The economy could not grow fast enough
to keep up with all the jobs that were
needed for baby boomers, and the
employment market became stagnant.
This period of stagnant employment and
inflation became known as “stagflation”.
OPEC Embargos the United States
During the Yom Kippur War, the United States had helped Israel.
Arab countries, who had a lot of oil, were angry. In 1973, OPEC
(an organization of mostly Arab countries that produce oil) placed
an embargo on the United States, cutting off our major oil supply.
A Second Crisis
This led to a gasoline
shortage in America that
created long lines at gas
stations and the need to
ration gas use.
Another energy crisis hit
in 1979, when the
turmoil of the revolution
in Iran caused oil prices
to rise. Oil went from $5
a barrel to $50 a barrel
from 1969 to 1979.
The Economy Worsens
People began to look
for more fuel efficient
cars in the 1970s and
began to buy foreign
cars. This hurt
American businesses,
causes more people to
lose jobs and making
the economy worse.
Three Mile Island
Many people looked to nuclear energy as a good alternative to oil. In 1979,
there was a partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in
Pennsylvania. The area was evacuated, and even though no one was hurt, it
created fear of nuclear disasters.
Reagan Elected
The energy crisis, the
poor economy, and the
problems in the Middle
East made President
Carter very unpopular.
He lost the election in a
landslide to Republican
Ronald Regan.
Reagan’s first priority was fixing the economy. His economic
plan, known now as “Reganomics” or “trickle-down economics”
cut taxes for wealthy business owners.
If businesses had more money, they
would invest it in their business, grow,
and hire more workers.
People would then have jobs and have
money to spend, which would help the
“Trickle Down Economics”
In other words, tax cuts to the upper class would
“trickle down” to the lower classes. The strategy
worked, and Reagan won reelection in 1984 by the
biggest margin in history.
Liberals tend to believe in
government regulation of
the economy, the use of
social programs (ex:
Welfare) to help the less
fortunate, and placing more
taxes on the wealthy.
Conservatives tend
to believe in less
regulation of the
economy and that
taxes and social
programs should be
used sparingly.
Age of Conservatism
The election of Regan in the 1980s and his
success in helping the economy gave rise
to an “age of conservatism” in the country.
However, Reagan’s plan meant there was
less money available for social programs.
The National Debt
In addition, he still spent money on
building up the military. Through the use
of deficit spending, the national debt grew
significantly under Reagan.
Social Milestones
The 1980s was a time of social changes. Geraldine Ferraro
became the first female candidate for vice-president in 1984,
though Regan ended up winning this election by a record
Social Milestones
Thurgood Marshall- first black justice on the Supreme Courth
(he had also argued the case in Brown vs Board of Education).
Sandra Day O’Connor- first female justice on the Supreme
Affirmative Action
Beginning in the 1970s, civil rights leaders
began pushing for an affirmative action
program. The purpose of program was to
solve economic and educational
discrimination by requiring businesses and
schools to recruit minorities.
Reverse Discrimination?
However, some
people say this as
reverse racial
because it kept
qualified white
people from getting
jobs or admittance
to schools.
Regents of the University of
California v. Bakke
University of California v. BakkeAlan Bakke, a white applicant to
the University of California was
denied twice. Minorities were
admitted to the school even
though some had less
qualifications because of
affirmative action. The court
ruled in favor of Bakke, but also
said that schools should try to
maintain a diverse population.
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools- in order to create racially
balanced schools, students of different backgrounds would be bussed in
from other areas. The Supreme Court upheld this practice.
Texas v. Johnson
Texas v. Johnsonruled that desecrating
the American Flag was
allowed under the 1st
Other Significant Laws
Important laws were also
passed to maintain equality for
different people.
Title IX- school funding of sports
had to be equal for boys and
Americans with Disabilities Actpassed in 1990, this act banned
discrimination based on disability.
Segregation in other Parts of the
Until 1994, South Africa had a system of racial
segregation known as apartheid (meaning “kept
Nelson Mandela
Beginning in the 1980s, the
government began to make
changes to end apartheid.
In 1994, Nelson Mandela, the
first black leader of South
Africa, was elected.