I've been cleaning out a large attic which spans the four first floor rooms of the house, and is overflowing with stuff dating back to the 1930s. Amongst the mostly lovely junk I found a copy of The Patriot Ledger, a Massachusetts newspaper, from February 5, 1981, just two weeks after Reagan's inauguration. I read through and found five articles that seemed relevant with regard to America 2011, so I'm posting nutshells of the stories here with minimal commentary, though I do have to include a special appeal to John Boehner with regard to the story about Reagan and the debt ceiling.
Story number one, the headline: 5 Schools closed; 226 teachers cut. Total of 400 face layoffs; some city parents in tears. By Dennis Tatz. QUINCY--With some members of the audience struggling to hold back tears, the school committee last night faced its 'moment of truth' and voted to close the Adams, Beechwood Knoll, Gridley Bryant, Cranch and Quincy elementary schools. The closings...will mean the transfer of 900 students under a redistricting plan. The unanimous vote is expected to save the school department $7.2 million.
Story number two, also page one (where Reagan reveals that his real bed is in corporate America's back pocket): Gas price controls ending? WASHINGTON (UPI)-- President Reagan plans to ask Congress to scrap federal controls on the well-head price of natural gas as of Sept. 30--an action that could more than double the prices consumers pay, it was reported today.
Story number three, page three: Tables are turned on debt limit hike. WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The Reagan Administration's first legislative request--to increase the national debt limit--may languish in a political minefield, if Senate Democrats are to have their way...the Republican president is asking for a nearly $50 billion increase in the debt ceiling to $985 billion...Treasury Secretary Donald Regan (before which he was Merrill Lynch's chairman and CEO) said if Congress does not approve the increase, the federal government could run out of money by Feb. 17, forcing it to default on its obligations.
Weepy Man John Boehner, the tobacco industry darling whose favorite shade of suntan paint is demon burnt sienna, reveres Reagan as his hero. Perhaps he should harken to the past and heed his hero's dire warning and advice as they apply today. The debt ceiling was raised 17 times during Reagan's presidency, more than tripling the national debt.
Story number four, also page three: Reagan to address the economy. By Hedrick Smith, NY Times News Service. WASHINGTON -- With the initial wave of executive orders completed and the American hostages home, President Reagan is turning to his biggest challenge--mending the American economy. The president's televised address in the nation at 9 tonight will be his first major test in the White House as a public persuader in behalf of his economic recovery program. It takes on added importance as an appeal...to go along with a preliminary Reagan proposal to raise the national debt limit.
Administration officials contend that the new president's sweeping victory gave him a mandate for conservative reform. But both the comments of politicians and recent public opinion polls underscore the challenge Reagan faces in winning enactment for his cut in personal taxes and major cuts in federal spending....
And finally, the news would be incomplete without a lurid sex scandal. Story number five, page thirteen: Miss. congressman faces sex charges. WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Rep. Jon Hinson, R-Miss., who last fall overcame obscenity allegations in winning a second term, has been charged with a homosexual offense that could end his political life. Hinson, 38, was arrested yesterday and charged with having oral sex with Library of Congress employee Harold Moore, 28, in a men's room in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill.
His arrest came just five months after another congressman, Maryland Republican Robert Bauman, was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.
And that's the way it was, February 5, 1981.