Describe Reagan's economic policies and the trends of the late 1980s. Identify the groups that supported Reagan in his two presidential victories in 1980 and 1984.

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President Reagan's economic policies were based on a belief that there was too much government involvement in the economy and that government should step back and allow businesses to create wealth and jobs. In addition, Reagan believed that the federal government was way too big and needed to be cut...

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President Reagan's economic policies were based on a belief that there was too much government involvement in the economy and that government should step back and allow businesses to create wealth and jobs. In addition, Reagan believed that the federal government was way too big and needed to be cut back sharply.

In pursuit of both these ends, the Reagan Administration sharply reduced spending, particularly in the field of welfare provision, while also cutting taxes, especially on businesses and wealthy individuals. At the same time, the administration greatly increased defense spending, seen as an important component of its aggressive foreign policy towards the Soviet Union.

By the end of the 1980s, the combination of these economic policies had led to a massive increase in the budget deficit, which under normal circumstances would've been considered unacceptable by Republicans. But whatever misgivings Republicans may have had about the ballooning budget deficit were put aside, as the general approach of the Reagan administration was in tune with the overall expectations of Reagan's supporters.

As with all successful politicians, Reagan had secured election—and re-election in 1984—on the basis of building a coalition. This coalition consisted of evangelical Christians, business people, and so-called Reagan Democrats, those blue-collar workers who'd traditionally voted Democrat but who were increasingly disillusioned by the party's economic and social policies.

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