Reaganomics: Trimming the Sails

Voters want to moderate Reagan's course, but not reverse it

Bettmann / CORBIS

President Reagan signs a $165 billion bill, to save Social Security from financial collapse. Behind Reagan is (L-R), Senator Robert Dole, (R.-Kans.), Rep. Claude Pepper, (D-Fla.), Rep. Robert Michel, (R-Ill.), House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, (D-Mass), Senator Daniel Moynihan, (D-N.Y.), Rep. Barber Conable, (R-N.Y.), and Senator Howard Baker, (R-Tenn.).

For 26 years, Republican Congressman Robert Michel has played well in Peoria, the Everytown of American politics. He has become an institution there, much like the local Caterpillar Tractor plant. But along with much of the nation, Peoria (pop. 124,000) has suffered the ravages of recession and unemployment. Caterpillar has laid off 8,000 employees, and joblessness has hovered at 16%, the highest rate since the Depression. So for the House Republican leader, who shepherded President Reagan's budget and tax cuts through Congress, the overriding...

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