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Events Of The 1980's Essay

2236 words - 9 pages

Events of the 1980'sThe 1980's started of hope and optimism to a vision of a reborn America. After two decades of troubles, assassinations, urban riots, the agony of Vietnam and the disgrace of Watergate the nation was ready to move ahead. Here was the oldest man ever to serve as president, Ronald Reagan was in his 70'a yet this boyish grin and rugged good looks still projected the youthful vigor of his days in Hollywood (Time Life Book Editors, 1999).Good luck as well as charisma helped sustain Reagan's popularity. Reaganomics was largely responsible for touching off the biggest bull market in Wall Street history. Of course on such person Ivan Boesky was known as Ivan the Terrible for is relentless wheeling and dealing in the stocks of companies targeted for acquisitions. Using huge sums of money Boseky bought out companies and then sold them off piece by piece squeezing a quick profit and typically at the cost of laid of workers. In the movie Wall Street the character named Gordon Gekko captures the new mortality when he said, "Greed is good. Greed is right."Pop demographers identified a new socioeconomic class infatuated with wealth and material possessions. These were the yuppies, an acronym that stood for young urban professionals. Hard driving overachievers, they worked out in chic health clubs and either possessed or were seeking an MBA degree.Shopping malls had become the cathedrals of American material culture there than anywhere except home, job, or schools. Much of what they shopped for was microwave ovens, VCR's, cordless phones. Transcending all these prodigies of miniaturization was the personal computer, which in the 1980's became commonplace in homes and standard equipment in offices.If heighten prosperity and a renewed national pride were the good news, there were also discouraging developments. The economic disparity between the haves and haves nots deepened. In just five years 150,000 of the farmers who were the central to Reagan's nostalgic vision of America went bankrupt.Many were homeless and were victims of something called deinstitutionalsization, the well intentioned policy that emptied out psychiatric hospitals but left thousands of former patients with no place to go. Others were homeless because of cutbacks in federal housing assistance.Public health official faced a new problem of epidemic proportions. On the drug front, the hot new item was cocaine. An estimated 22 million Americans had tried the drug by 1982, though it was so expensive that Actor Robin Williams remarks "Cocaine is God's way of showing you were making too much money". Despite the dangers of addiction and other health problems "coke become the recreational drug of many people.Some highlights in 1982 were that the number one song on the music charts was Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" and the Oscar for best picture was "Gandhi". The movie that made the most money that year was E.T., and the top television show was Dallas.In January 1982 AT&T broke...

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