And inflation? From 1980 to 1988, it dropped from an annual rate of 10.4 percent to 4.2 percent, and unemployment dropped from 7 percent to 5.4 percent. When Reagan made clear that he was willing to support a tightening of the money supply to fight inflation, some advisers warned that such a policy might bring on recession. Reagan responded by using the prophet Hillel's words: "If not now, when? If not us, who?"
Says George Shultz, who was Reagan's secretary of state: "So he did the right thing, and we did have recession. But also, inflation dropped like a stone."
The bottom line: When Reagan took office, the U.S. had just suffered through seven unlucky years of "stagflation." When he left, the U.S. had lived through the longest peacetime expansion in history.
His plan to turn the American economy around wasn't the most popular in the beginning. In the end, however, it was the right thing to do.
This brings me to Stephane Dion's plan for a Green Shift. The NDP and Conservatives have attacked Stephane since his election as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, repeatedly telling Canadians "he did nothing for the environment as Minister of the Environment. All the while, and 2.5 years later (keep in mind Stephane was only the minister for 18 months and 2.5 of those were during an election campaign), the Conservatives have failed to even think about a plan to change our environment. The plan that they have ill-conceived has been panned by every environmentalist and scientist in the country.
The NDP has some kind of plan. Somewhere. But, the fact of the matter is that the NDP will NEVER, EVER form the Government of Canada. In fact, I'm on record as suggesting they will drop to 19-21 seats in the next election.
The Bloc can try and beat up Dion in Quebec. I say try because I think Quebecers are quite ready to accept an environmental challenge. I'm suggesting that, for the first time since his election as leader, Stephane will begin to gain traction in his home province. Unlike the Clarity Act, the Green Shift is something that all Quebecers can rally behind without the argument of "nationalism" raising its ugly head.
So while the other political parties in the country talk about making a difference for our children and grandchildren, Dion has pushed us to the precipice and dared us all, as Canadians, to put our money where our mouth is. He's making that bold line in the sand and saying enough is enough.
We could talk for another 3 decades about what plan is the right plan. We could talk at length about Cap and Trade vs. Carbon Tax. Talk and talk. But, in the end, it is just talk. Nobody has the balls to implement a plan. Nobody but Dion that is.
Yes. Yes, he's had to endure 18 months of torturous negative advertising by the juvenile governing party. Yes he's had to fight his own caucus over the timing of such a bold, innovative plan. He's had to endure being called "CRAZY", "INSANE" and "THE SCREWER OF ALL CANADIANS". Yes, yes, he's had to endure all of that but, my friends, I ask you as a Liberal, as a father, as a Canadian:
IF NOT US, WHO? IF NOT NOW, WHEN?