Donald Regan


Donald Regan
Donald Regan
66th United States Secretary of the Treasury
In office
January 22, 1981 – February 1, 1985
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by G. William Miller
Succeeded by James Baker
11th White House Chief of Staff
In office
1985–1987
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by James Baker
Succeeded by Howard Baker
Personal details
Born Donald Thomas Regan
December 21, 1918(1918-12-21)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Died June 10, 2003(2003-06-10) (aged 84)
Williamsburg, Virginia
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ann Buchanan Regan
Alma mater Harvard University
Profession Businessman, Politician
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars World War II

Donald Thomas Regan (/ˈriːɡən/; 1918–2003) was the 66th United States Secretary of the Treasury, from 1981 to 1985, and Chief of Staff from 1985 to 1987 in the Ronald Reagan Administration, where he advocated "Reaganomics" and tax cuts to create jobs and stimulate production.

Contents

Early life

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Kathleen (Ahearn) and William Francis Regan, he was of Irish Catholic origins. Regan earned his bachelor's degree in English from Harvard University in 1940 and attended Harvard Law School before dropping out to join the United States Marine Corps at the outset of World War II. He reached the rank of lieutenant colonel while serving in the Pacific theater, and was involved in five major campaigns including Guadalcanal and Okinawa.

Wall Street

After the War, he joined Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. in 1946, as an account executive trainee, working up through the ranks, eventually taking over as Merrill Lynch's chairman and CEO in 1971, the year the company went public. He held those positions until 1980.

Regan was one of the original directors of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation and was vice chairman of the New York Stock Exchange from 1973 to 1975. Regan was a major proponent of brokerage firms going public, which he viewed as an important step in the modernization of Wall Street; under his supervision, Merrill Lynch had its IPO on June 23, 1971, becoming only the second Wall Street firm to go public, after Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

During his tenure in these two positions, Regan also pushed hard for an end to minimum fixed commissions for brokers, which were fees that brokerage companies had to charge clients for every transaction they made on the clients' behalf; Regan saw them as a cartel-like restriction. In large part thanks to his lobbying, fixed commissions were abolished in 1975.

Reagan administration

President Ronald Reagan selected Regan in 1981 to serve as Treasury Secretary, marking him as a spokesman for his economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics". He helped engineer changes in the tax code, reduce income tax rates and decrease taxes for corporations. Regan unexpectedly swapped jobs with then White House Chief of Staff James Baker in 1985. As Chief of Staff, Regan was closely involved in the day to day management of White House policy, which led Howard Baker, Regan's successor as Chief of Staff, to give a rebuke that Regan was becoming a "Prime Minister" inside an increasingly complex Imperial Presidency. Regan resigned from his post in 1987 due to his involvement with the Iran-Contra Affair, and frequent clashes with the President's wife, First Lady Nancy Reagan. Regan was seen as the fall guy for the affair, and the tongue-in-cheek saying "Reagan had Regan" echoed throughout Washington.[1][2]

Regan's signature, as used on American currency

Regan's book, For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington (ISBN 0-15-163966-3), exposes his disagreements with First Lady Nancy Reagan, including claims that Nancy's personal astrologer, Joan Quigley, helped steer the President's speaking decisions.[3]

Sayings

"And the horse you rode in on." This was a favorite of Regan. He learned it from a poker buddy in Texas who said "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on." Regan adopted the latter part of the phrase. In the portrait of Regan that hangs on the third floor of the treasury, the title of a book in the background reads "And the Horse You Rode In On."[4]

"Speed it up" is a widely infamous phrase which Regan, somewhat indiscreetly, said to Ronald Reagan during one of the latter's speeches.[5] Michael Moore gives brief focus to this in his documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, which insinuates that Reagan was merely chosen a frontman (or "sheriff") for the real power behind the throne, among them Regan, who at the time was the Chairman of Merrill Lynch and who Reagan appointed as Treasury Secretary and then Chief of Staff.

Retirement

Regan retired quietly in Virginia with Ann Buchanan Regan, his wife of over sixty years. Late in life, he spent nearly ten hours a day in his art studio painting landscapes, some of which sold for thousands of dollars and still hang in museums.[citation needed] Regan had four children and nine grandchildren.

Mr. Regan was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1981, and renounced the title, claiming in part that "Reagan deserves this, not me."

Regan died of heart failure at the age of 84 in a hospital near his home in Williamsburg, Virginia.

References

  1. ^ The role Alberto Gonzales was born to play. – By Timothy Noah – Slate Magazine
  2. ^ "IRAN-CONTRA HEARINGS; 'Chronology? I Was the Guy Looking for the Chronology'". The New York Times. July 31, 1987. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE7DA1130F932A05754C0A961948260. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Good Heavens!". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1997/05/19/back.time/. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  4. ^ Jeffery H. Birnbaum & Alan S. Murray, Showdown at Gucci Gulch:Lawmakers, Lobbyists, and the Unlikely Triumph of Tax Reform, Page 68
  5. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTcL6Xc_eMM

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
G. William Miller
United States Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: Ronald Reagan

1981–1985
Succeeded by
James Baker
Preceded by
James Baker
White House Chief of Staff
Served under: Ronald Reagan

1985–1987
Succeeded by
Howard Baker

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