The paper concerns the rhetoric employed by the New Right in the early 1980s and the extent to which it helped the New Right develop a political base for the economic policies of the Reagan era. During this period, conservatives would employ distinctly anti-elite rhetoric to convey its underlying message that government had become excessive and an oppressor of economic and political freedom.
The New Right focused its criticism on three key areas of "excessive" government: overregulation, overtaxation and overspending on social welfare programs. By relating the failures of each of these areas of government to the current economic crisis and by drawing on class bias against liberal elites and the aid-dependent poor, the New Right successfully brought the middle class into its conservative political fold. The persuasive power of the New Right's rhetoric is evident from the fact that while Reagan enjoyed broad middle class support, his economic policies were skewed in favor of the wealthy, resulting in a huge increase in the gap between the rich and poor.