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. “Stagflation” 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. Reaganomics 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. Reaganomics 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 economy. “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. Close? Liberalism 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. Conservatism Conservatives tend to believe in less government 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 margin. 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 Court. 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 discrimination, 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 Schools • 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 Amendment. 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 girls. Americans with Disabilities Actpassed in 1990, this act banned discrimination based on disability. Segregation in other Parts of the World Until 1994, South Africa had a system of racial segregation known as apartheid (meaning “kept apart”). 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.