The Presidency by Hugh Sidey: The Quality of Command

One young aide to Ronald Reagan sat against a wall in the Cabinet Room, beneath Calvin Coolidge's portrait, and listened to the economic debate that was engulfing the White House last week. Senators, Congressmen and outside experts hammered away. Quit slicing at the regular appropriations, some said, and go after the big entitlements like Social Security. Chop more out of defense, argued others. Pay attention to Wall Street's warnings. Wall Street is an index of greed—attack it. Try the gold standard. Don't try the gold standard.

Reagan listened patiently to it all,...

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