E David Adams

Date of Award

Spring 5-1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science


President Reagan assumed office advocating an economic program based on tax and spending reductions. Achievement of these objectives, Reagan argued, would improve the American economy and result in balanced federal budgets. This thesis examines Reagan's commitment to the spending restraint element of his program. I will analyze all of Reagan's budgets and State of the Union addresses to determine how consistently he sought reductions in federal spending.

Though Reagan's commitment to budget reduction was evident, his selection of means to achieve the cuts was inconsistent. His proposed budget cuts varied in intensity, and Reagan failed to propose consistent reductions in many of his "targeted" budget functions. Reagan's State of the Union messages varied from proposing substantial reductions to championing procedural devices to reduce the deficit. This thesis therefore argues that Reagan did not consistently seek the goal of reducing the federal government's expenditures.