The Troubled Transformation: 1976 to the Present and the Future You Will Help Make

If you click on Status, you can see the national debt at that time and related financial issues.



Pres. … Event

Government Institutions

US Eco. Dev.

Issue/Org. Dev.

Pol. Party Dev.


Gerald R. Ford vs. Jimmy Carter[1]


Stagflation = Eco. slow-down + inflation





Roe v. Wade


Right to life” groups[2]; others[3]




Hyde Amendment[4]








Moral Majority est.[5] TV[6]



Ronald W. Reagan[7] vs. Jimmy Carter


Status “Supply-side economics”[8]


Slogan & TV & party #s[9]



Attempt, Social Security cut[10]


AIDS[11];A Nation at Risk[12] Technical status – start of PC/Microsoft/Apple and Internet [13]

Status: Voters 86% white; Republicans 87% white[14]



FCC deregulates radio[15]


Limbaugh and Stern[16]



Inauguration Day






Assassination attempt





1981-07, 08


SC: Sandra Day O’Connor

PATCO strike[17]





Deregulation savings & loans[18]









Dem. increase in House




Poverty status[20]

Family status[21]









R.W. Reagan vs. W.Mondale[24]



AIDS status[25]; Yuppies[26]




W. Rehnquist, Chief Justice

Lower tax rate





Challenger disaster[27]






FCC: Ends Fairness Doctrine[28]






SC: Bork[29]





George H. Bush vs. Michael Dukakis


Status[30] -no choices but taxes


 “Willie Horton” & TV [31]

“The vision thing”[32]



Savings & loan collapse[33]

SC: David Souter







Status[34] - New taxes



1990-08, 11





Minor Rep. losses



Stall, campaign finance reform[35]


AIDS status[37]



George H. Bush vs. William Clinton vs. Ross Perot[38]




“New Democrat”[39]; & TV[40] “Inspector Perot”[41]



Whitewater scandal[42];NAFTA[43]

Tax increase[44]; Status[45]

Health care plan[46]  & TV[47]






Proposition 187 (CA)[49]






O.J. Simpson case & TV[50]

Focus groups[51]; Gingrich[52]

Republican victory[53]



D’Amato’s [54] failed probe




1995-09, 10




“Million Man March”[55]




1st gov’t. closedown



Gingrich - rear door



2nd gov’t. closedown







Welfare change[56]




Robert Dole vs. William Clinton vs. Ross Perot (Reform)





1997, 1998




Technology status[58]


1998-01, 11




Monica Lewinsky scandal

Dem. increases



House: 2 impeachment articles[59]






Senate – acquitted




2000-11, 12

George W. Bush vs. Albert Gore vs. Ralph Nader (Green)


SC: Bush v. Gore[60]

Immigration status[61]





Dept. of Homeland Security









Rep. control in Senate[62]


George W. Bush vs. John Kerry







Katrina + FEMA[63]



Dem. win House of Rep,




Bubble burst”[64]







Iraq a “mistake”-60% feel[66]



John McCain vs. Barack Obama





Use of the Internet-based campaign[68]



Affordable Care Act (ACA)[69]

Dodd-Frank bill[70]

Tea Party Movement; Occupy Wall Street[71]



Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama Backgrounds and election[72]

2013 problems with ACA and 2014 remedies[73]

“growing inequality gap”[74]


Status: Voters 72% white; Republicans 87% white[75]






Status: Population[76]



The numbers on the national debt in each of the years are from the prior textbook, Ayers American Passages.










National Debt

Deficit 5 of 8 years

1968 -$25 B – largest since WWII

$74 B – end of Nixon and Carter

1971-wage freeze; off gold standard

    5              5

$186B         $156B


See matrix below.




1952-1956, 1956-1960 Dwight D. Eisenhower

1960-1963 John F. Kennedy

1963-1964, 1964-1968 L.B. Johnson

1968-1972, 1972-08/1974 R.M. Nixon; 08/1974-1976 Gerald Ford;

1976-1980 Jimmy Carter

1980-1984, 1984-1988 Ronald Reagan


1988-1992 George H. Bush

1990-1992 - George H. Bush


1992-1996, 1996-2000 William Clinton

2000-2004, 2004-2008 George W. Bush

2008-2012, 2012-2016 – Barack Obama

If born in 1945

a Baby Boomer is 5 years of age in 1950

15 years of age in 1960

25 years of age in 1970

a Baby Boomer is 35 years of age in 1980

45 years of age in 1990

55 years of age in 2000

65 years of age in 2010






$25B Notice that 1968 was the last time our debt was $25B. - To lower the debt was a bipartisan effort.













Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2009 - 2017


WCJC Department:

History – Dr. Bibus

Contact Information:

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[1] Major asset in the election – Not Nixon (perceived as incorruptible)

[2] Roman Catholic church, Protestant evangelicals

[3] Operation Rescue and clinic blockades; bombings, assassination of doctors

[4] Banned Medicaid paying for abortions

[5] Rev. Jerry Falwell, VA

[6] Pat Robertson, 700 Club, Christian Broadcasting Network (CABLE); Jimmy and Tammy Baker, PTL (Praise the Lord) – later fraud convictions; Jimmy Swaggart – later sexual misconduct

[7] Principle with USSR – A combination of military purchases and spending to “bankrupt the Soviets by forcing them to spend much more on their own military budgets.” (page 1110) Notice Status

[8] 1980-11 Inflation = 12%; unemployment = 7%+; prime interest = near 20%. National debt $74B, Reduce fed. tax rates perSupply-side economics”—as Status shows—did not reduce the federal deficit.

[9] Slogan: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Nickname: “Great Communicator.” Methods: Teleprompter with prepared text; “packag[ing]” of the President by James Baker (chief of staff), Michael Deaver (media), Edwin Meese (policy, later during Iran-Contra, attorney general), Nancy Reagan (with astrologer). Party #s: Senate 53 to 46, 1st time since 1954

[10] Spring, attempt to cut early retiree benefits; failed in Congress. Fall, panel to investigate problem. Fall, 1982, changes made to restore finances.

[11] c. 1984 = 3,700 US deaths to dateAIDS was not a top priority of the Reagan administration.

[12] On failure of public education

[13] Computer revolution from 1981 IBM PC (personal computer) to 1983 Microsoft Windows (Bill Gates) to 1984 Apple Macintosh. Sales = 1983 of 20K purchased/yr. to 500K/yr. Internet revolution from 1969 Pentagon project to 1980s usernet and email. Cable revolution beginning with 1981 MTV (Music Television) and Ted Turner’s CNN (Cable News Network).

[14] Status Population: Pew Research Center, cited on page 1130

[15] Federal Communications Commission ended limits on commercials and requirement for public affairs programs and community surveys.

[16] Rise of Rush Limbaugh in 1990s, est. 13M listeners; of Howard Stern

[17] Professional Air Traffic Controller strike; back-to-work orders; failure to obey meant dismissal

[18] For the crash of this system at taxpayer expense, see the 1st Bush administration.

[19] 1982  National debt = $128B (up 1.7 X of 1980 debt of $74B)Note the increasing rise of national debt shown in other Status items.

[20] 1983 Bureau of Census: 13 M children under 6 in poverty. Note: end of 1980s = 11X money for reducing poverty for children shifted to elderly, an increasingly more organized voting block.

[21] 1970 = 3.8M single parent families; 1992 = 10.5M. Spending traits – Americans spent more than they made.

[22] Phil Gramm (TX), Warren Rudman (PA), and Fritz Hollings (SC) – Bill that automatically lowers federal expenditure across the board. The bill “promised to lower deficits without requiring lawmakers to choose among tough options.”

[23] 1984 National debt = $186B

[24] 1st woman candidate for Vice President, Geraldine Ferraro, Representative for the state of New York

[25] 1985 = 6,700 US deaths; 1987 = 15,500 per year

[26] Among 1980s social changes = young urban professionals (yuppies) and “image is everything” (Andre Agassi) culture.

[27] Causes = systemic inattention, cost-cutting and schedule-making as goals, over-confidence

[28] What it used to do: Fairness Doctrine had required any broadcast (since these were the public’s airwaves) to present both sides of opposing arguments.

[29] Robert Bork’s confirmation blocked over such prior positions as opposing Roe v. Wade. Anthony Kennedy later confirmed for spot.

[30] 1988  National debt = $156B George H. Bush had campaigned with the phrase “Read my lips. No new taxes.”

[31] Horton = escaped black convict, rape in another state used as TV commercial against Dukakis, MA governor.

[32] Bush phrase about goals that came to haunt him

[33] Deregulation in Reagan’s term results in $500B cost to taxpayers.

[34] 1990  National debt in 1990 = $222B; George H. Bush makes the 1990 announcement of new taxes

[35] Congressional campaigns as well as campaigns for the Presidency funded by corporations, unions, special interests.

[36] 1992 National debt = $297B. General in 1990s = “downsizing”; decrease in middle class jobs and rise of service sector jobs at low pay and no or few benefits; “generation X” of 75M children of first wave of baby boomers, disillusioned.

[37] AIDS Research funding by 1992. 1992 = new cases 45K; 1993 = 83K.

[38] Perot will campaign, withdraw, and then in October come back to the race.

[39] Clinton campaign slogan

[40] Perot was allowed to debate in this election.

[41] Phrase used by some Perot employees

[42] Whitewater real estate venture scandal, suicide of Vince Foster, a Presidential aide; later Paula Jones charged sexual harassment. 1st independent counsel (a Republican) found Foster’s death to be a suicide; replaced by Kenneth Starr.

[43] North American Free Trade Agreement. Program nearly complete under Bush, but was signed and favored by Clinton.  Program for free trade between Canada + Mexico + US. Perot forecasted loss of American jobs – a great “sucking sound.”

[44] 1993 Tax efficiencies and tax rates increases on corporations and wealthy = from 33 to 39.6%. (Page 1132). Earned income credit for working poor = max. $3,500 to keep them above poverty line.

[45] National debt = $255B (from $291B in 1992).

[46] Problems: medical costs up; uninsured (primarily “poor or unemployed”). (Note: tax issues in post-WWII era meant that health insurance was an employer perk.) Proposed health care plan by Hillary Clinton task force rejected; primary opponents: Republicans, “pharmaceutical and insurance industries.” (p. 1133)

[47] TV ads – “Harry and Louise”

[48] 1994 National debt = $203B ($42B less in one year)

[49] No benefits to illegal immigrants

[50] This case continues through 1995. TV coverage was constant; became symbol.

[51] Testing of issues in focus groups to determine what the Republicans will select for the “Contract with America,” platform for 1994

[52] Gingrich becomes Speaker of House; majority in House, Senate

[53] First time since 1950s, Republicans win the majority of the House and the Senate.

[54] Simultaneous with Ken Starr’s probe, Senator Alphonse d/Amato (NY) led probe but found nothing to use.

[55] Est. of the number vary. Leader Louis Farrakhan (anti-Semitic, anti-white) of the Nation of Islam. Division in the black community over his role.

[56] 07/1996 - AFDC (Aid for Dependent Children) replaced with block grant.

[57] 1997 National debt = $25B, lowest in 23 years. Unemployment decline to 4.8%. Reminder: reduction in national debt resulted in some referring to this as a surplus; however, the official national debt does not include the money owed for future commitments through Social Security.

[58] 1996, 18M (9%) used Internet regularly; 1998, 20M.

[59] Perjury in 1998-08 (grand jury); obstruction of justice over Lewinsky scandal.

[60] 2008 election - Gore wins popular vote. Electoral ballots in Florida in dispute, with Supreme Court decision (5-4 for no recount) being that the Florida electoral count held (537 votes). (Page 1141)

[61] 1970-2000 est. 20M, of these estimated 3M Muslims, 500K Buddhists, 500K Hindus

[62] Senator James Jeffords (VT) had switched from being a Republican to being an Independent, thus previously giving the Democrats the majority.

[63] Hurricane Katrina hits AL, MS, LA; 1000+ dead; “millions homeless.” (page 1147) “Disaster plans were incomplete; confusion and incompetence abounded.” Head of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) resigned (page 1148).

[64] From the prior textbook (Ayers, American Passages). Recession in 2001 and a) Fed. Reserve lowers interest rate; b) Bush (the younger) administration does tax cuts; c) lenders did “teaser loans” to get people to borrow for homes; packaging of loans of mixed quality sold to banks/financial institutions (page 880), with the less secure loans “dubbed ‘subprime.’” The housing loans crashed; by early 1980 the banks began to fail. Since globalization works as it does, the shaky economy spread. Result at end of Bush administration: a) “huge national debt” b) “shrunken manufacturing base” c) “economy without the resources needed for a quick rebound.” (Page 881). – Also see the description on 1148-1149 of the Essentials textbook that precedes the paragraph typed below.

[65]“On October 3, 2008, just before the Presidential election, President Bush signed into law a bank bailout fund called the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which called for the Treasury Department to spend $700 billion to keep big banks and other large financial institutions from collapsing. Yet the passage of the bill did little to restore confidence. In early October [2008] with the onset of the what came to be called the Great Recession, which technically lasted from December 2007 to January 3009, and forced almost 9 million people out of work. But its effects would last long thereafter. The economic recovery that began in June 2009 would be the weakest since the end of the Second World War. ‘The Age of the Prosperity is over,’ announced the prominent Republican economist Arthur Laffer in 2008.” (p. 1150) Laffer is the creator of the Laffer curve.

[66] Page 1149

[67] Backgrounds: McCain – page 1151; Obama – page 1150

[68] Page 1150

[69] “The United States, home to the world’s costliest health system, was spending 18 percent of its total economic resources on health care. Great Britain, Norway, and Sweden each spent half as much, but their citizens lived longer, American was the only rich nation without a national healthcare program. Since 1970, the proportion of uninsured people had been steadily rising along with health care costs. In 2010 roughly 50 million Americans, 16 percent of the population, had no health insurance, most of them being either poor or young, or people of color.” (page 1152)

[70] Attempted to prevent the meltdown that occurred before by these changes that regulated banks and lenders. Also set up a new agency for consumer-financial protection. (page 1154)

[71] Pages 1158-1159

[72] Election on  pages 1160-1161

[73] Page 1161

[74] Pages 1163-1165

[75] Status Population: Pew Research Center, cited on page 1130, including on page 1131 what the textbook says are consequences on the Republican Party.

[76] 2014 Status: a) 320 million Americans (80% + in cities or suburbs, b) 18% Hispanics/Latinos, c) 13% African Americans (before 2005 the largest minority group), d) 5% Asians, e) 3% self-described as “multiracial”, f) 1% Native Americans, and g)  Est. 60% white/Anglo. Note: 45 million “foreign-born residents” with 11 million “undocumented immigrants” (previous term “illegal aliens”) (Page 1130)

[77] The national debt is not specified in the section on the Bush term of 2000-2008, when the TARP crisis occurred. The general statement made is that George W. Bush “pushed through Congress a series of tax cuts, that, the White House said, were designed to assist the struggling economy. The budget surplus of the 1990s soon disappeared as a brief recession followed the end of the dot-com bubble. Record debt became one continuing legacy of the Bush era.” (page 872).