Today is the centennial of Ronald Reagan, being wildly praised by Republicans, conservatives, and others, even as some point out that many things being said about him now are myths in one form or another. I shall add to this with a few points regarding things that he has been credited with, which were actually due to his much-maligned predecessor, Jimmy Carter, although it is debatable whether or not all of these were ultimately good things.
Before piling on the debunking, let me note that not all that Reagan did was bad. I applaud his willingness to negotiate with Gorbachev when he came to power. I also applaud his willingness to back off the next round of his tax cuts in August, 1982, thus allowing for an easier monetary policy, when the incoming Mexican finance minister arrived threatening a default, which allowed for a recovery from that very deep recession (and thus for his "morning in America" 1984 campaign after 8% GDP growth in 1983). He also discretely held off many more conservative initiatives that he supposedly supported and were pushed for by some of his backers.
Anyway, two things that Reagan receives praise for are the decline in inflation during his presidency and his support of the Mujaheddin rebellion against Soviet rule in Afghanistan, usually placed into the list of things that more generally led to the fall of the Soviet Union, which he widely gets credit for, even though it happened during the presidency of his successor.
Anyway, I am not a monetarist, but maybe I am enough of one to believe that if the Fed really cracks down hard with a super tight monetarist policy, it will eventually reduce inflation while also bringing about at least a nasty recession. That was indeed what Paul Volcker did after being appointed Fed Chairman by Jimmy Carter, with the Fed-induced recession having a lot to do with Carter's failure to be re-elected. Indeed, it was the 1982 deal that brought an end to this super monetarist policy that certainly played a major role in the reduction of inflation, although it was Carter, not Reagan, who initiated it by appointing Volcker.
Also, it was Carter in 1979, who made the crucial decision to aid the Mujaheddin against the Soviets after they conquered Afghanistan. That also is arguably a mixed bag in that of course this would eventually lead to the Taliban controlling Afghanistan and al Qaeda using it for a base to attack the US, etc. Indeed, it was during Carter's presidency that the crucial decision to send Osama bin Laden to Pakistan to assist the Mujaheddin was made by Saudi intel with the concurrence of the CIA, although I doubt Carter was involved with that specific decision, despite his rep for micro-managing, although that reportedly had more to do with who got access to the WH tennis court.