Last updated on: 6/27/2017 | Author: ProCon.org

Ben T. Elliott, MA Biography

Title:
Director of White House Speechwriting under President Ronald Reagan
Position:
Pro to the question "Was Ronald Reagan a Good President?"
Reasoning:

“[Reagan] transformed a sputtering U.S. economy into a rocket of growth that led to a generation of prosperity. He restored a neglected U.S. military and its alliances, engineering the eventual defeat of the Soviet empire, without starting a war and without firing a shot. Through it all, he revived America’s spirit, restored our hopes, and strengthened our faith…

[H]e cut taxes deeply and equally for everyone, eventually dropping the top rate all the way from 70 percent to 28 percent, while providing enterprises strong incentives to compete and restoring a dollar as good as gold. He fought hard against ever expanding, encroaching bureaucracy, reduced non-defense spending, and eliminated subsidies and price controls… A strong dollar slew double-digit inflation and restored confidence. Lower tax rates encouraged women to enter the workforce in large numbers, many of them starting up new businesses, while minority employment and enterprises also grew. The rising tide of growth gave birth to new industries, propelling America’s technology boom in the 1990s. In short, the American people unleashed the most powerful postwar recovery in history, reducing poverty, raising incomes, and creating a prosperity that benefited every income group, rejuvenated our communities, and lifted up the entire global economy.”

“Why Ronald Reagan’s Example Is Still Relevant for America Today,” National Review, June 5, 2015

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Experts
Individuals with PhDs, JDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to US presidential history. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to US presidential history.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Trustee Emeritus, Bucknell University, 2014-present
  • Managing Director of Communications, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Former Vice President of Communications, New York Stock Exchange
  • Former Speech Writer for Representative Jack Kemp
  • Director, White House Speechwriting, 1983-1986
  • White House Speech Writer, 1981-1983
  • Director of Executive Communications, US Chamber of Commerce, 1979-1981
  • Created press operations for Representative Mickey Edwards, 1977-1978
  • Speechwriter for Treasury Secretary William E. Simon, 1976
  • Former Producer, CBS News, 1970-1975
  • Education:
  • MA, International Relations, Institut d’√Čtudes Politiques de Paris, 1970
  • BA, Political Science, Bucknell University, 1966
  • Other:
  • Born in Bryn Mawr, PA, on November 6, 1944
  • Worked under Walter Cronkite at CBS News
  • In a 1986 interview, Elliott told the New York Times that he was dismissed by the White House Chief of Staff after “constant battles” over President Reagan’s public remarks
  • Quoted in:
    Pro & Con Quotes: Was Ronald Reagan a Good President?