Government Spending

Obama vs. Reagan—Ray Griggs on His New Film, 'I Want Your Money'

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"It's beyond what you can think of as bankruptcy," says documentary filmmaker Ray Griggs of the current state of U.S. debt. "In our world, you go bankrupt. In the government world, they just keep writing checks."

In his new documentary, I Want Your Money , which opens nationwide in more than 400 theaters on October 15, Griggs examines the fiscal crisis the U.S. faces today by comparing two iconic presidents—Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan—and their views on the proper role of government.

Griggs talked with Reason.tv's Ted Balaker about our nation's mounting debt, his controversial iPhone app, Bobble Rep , and the difficulties he faced making a conservative documentary in Hollywood.

Run time approximately 7:30 minutes.

Interview by Ted Balaker. Shot by Alex Manning, Paul Detrick, and Zach Weissmueller. Edited by Weissmueller.

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NEXT: Weekly Standard Warns GOP Against "myopic focus on government spending"

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  1. How does “Mike Huckabee” qualify as someone who knows what he’s talking about?

    1. He has his own TV show! Surely that makes him more of an expert than someone like you, who doesn’t.

      1. Works for me!

        Oh, and watch my show!

    2. Because God is in his corner.

      1. True story: lady told me she was voting for the Hucklebeast in the primary because America needed a “spiritual godfather”.

        Pray to Jesus or get a horse’s head in your bed? The R primaries around here are just chock full of the crazy sometimes.

        1. I think she meant to say “spiritual wet nurse”.

    3. He is pretty ignorant. But if they had a real ASE economist they couldn’t pretend to make Reagan look very good.

  2. With their spending, both presidents end up dealing the commies a serious blow. (But only one did it on purpose.)

  3. “the difficulties he faced making a conservative documentary in Hollywood.”

    Aw, what’s the matter, Dave Koch strain his check-writing hand playing indoor polo? Makes me wonder how “dedicated” the Koch tots are to small government.

    1. *slurp* *slurp*

      Oh, that’s some good vanneman. Keep it comin’!

    2. Hello, Vanneman.

  4. Please stop blaming Obama. The deficit grew by a factor of 10 during the Reagan years. It went from $0 to $1 trillion during GW Bush’s term. The government grew slower during the Clinton/Gingrich era and the red-ink actually came to a halt.

    1. Bush did it so it’s okay! Reagan wasn’t perfect so it’s okay! Just keep spending because it’s okay!

    2. “The government grew slower during the Clinton/Gingrich era and the red-ink actually came to a halt.”

      The US Treasury’s Public Debt Outstanding ledger disagrees with you on this point–there was never a “surplus,” as the national debt continued to go up all throughout the Clinton presidency.

      The “surplus” was projected, which doesn’t really mean squat–it’s wishcasting based on certain fiscal and economic assumptions.

    3. Dave|10.12.10 @ 3:56PM|#
      “Please stop blaming Obama. The deficit grew by a factor of 10 during the Reagan years.”
      Oh, yes, fun with numbers.
      Please tell us how it ‘grew’ as a percentage of the GDP.

    4. I only partially blame Obama. Mostly I blame Congress.

    5. No one here excuses Bush or even Reagan’s spending. If that’s what you’re looking for then go talk to conservatives.

      What you will find here is the obvious, that Obama has spilled more red ink in his first year than Bush spent on the entire war.

      Further the economy is clearly showing the results of Obama’s ‘help’.

      If Obama had done the right thing, cut spending, we’d already be in a recovery. (tho still in debt) Instead he’s repeating Hovver/FDR.

      1. God, I really don’t want to defend Obama (especially since he’s not a budget-voting member of Congress) but a lot of that spending in Obama’s first year was TARP/bailout packages passed in Bush’s final year. Similarly, the stimulus mostly didn’t start paying out until the NEXT year.

        There was cash for clunkers and obviously stuff like that, unemployment guarantees, but most of 2009 was Bush legacy. 2010-2013 will be all Obama [And Congress. Mostly Congress.]

        1. True, but why do you presume to ‘defend’ Obama by pointing out that Bush was a loser?
          Obama campaigned on the vacuous notions of ‘hope’ and ‘change’. Here’s the change:
          Bush = four letters
          Obama = five letters

          1. “Keep the change.”

            “There is no change!”

            “Keep it anyway.”

  5. FUCK YEAH! Mainstream documentary with Capitalism vs Socialism! Capitalism represented by…Ronald Reagan.

    We’re fucked.

    1. *slurp*
      *slurp*
      Oh, that’s some good shit. More! More!!

      1. Why are you slurping, slurpman?

  6. You can easily make a movie with two hours of sound bytes of Reagan talking about smaller government. Emphasis on talking.

    1. Reagan was a big fan of Hayek and Friedman, and one would assume based on his comments over the years that he was familiar with and influenced by Ayn Rand. His political philosophy was largely based on libertarian ideas. Nevertheless, he was a conservative who only MOSTLY agreed with libertarianism, and was only PARTIALLY successful in implementing what he envisioned. The Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for most of his two terms. He receives both too much praise and too much abuse, depending on who you’re talking to. A realistic look at life and legacy will show that he was a forceful advocate for libertarian ideas, who only partially succeeded in implementing them as president, but his real driving passion was his opposition to communism and socialism. In that regard, he was pretty successful, at home and abroad.

      There is an interview he did with Reason that is on the website, and gives a pretty good picture:

      https://reason.com/archives/1975/07/01/inside-ronald-reagan

      He was a gut-level libertarian, but he wasn’t 100% on board.

  7. Reagan was not A libertarian, although it is fair to say that his philosophy was the most libertarian of any president from FDR to the present. Which admittedly isn’t saying that much. In any case, it’s tough to use him as an example when it comes to debt and deficits. He himself named the deficit as his biggest failure during his farewell address.

    But the last two years, starting with TARP under Bush, dwarf anything since WWII. Reagan’s deficits (with a Democrat controlled Congress) were an insignificant pittance compared to where we are now, and anybody who says otherwise is not to be taken seriously.

  8. I’m torn.

    This guy’s premise is good (question the government and its’ spending), but this interview and the trailer for the movie just make it sound like fluff for the GOP.

    It’s got all the ingredients: Implied Reagan v. Obama, bash Bush while it’s still trendy, claim to hope that the Republicans can “return to roots” (you mean the spend too much and hope the people are dumb enough to always associate spending ONLY with Democrats roots?), claim victimization because the liberals own Hollywood (in fairness, I’m sure he did have troubles putting this together but that’s the market…deal with it), and that almighty ‘God is on my side’ garbage.

    Something tells me that good intentions did not lead to a worthwhile result.

  9. Worst report I’ve ever seen reason do. Reagan was as big government as the rest of them and got away with saying he wasn’t because he cut taxes… without cutting spending in his first term. Even in his second term he’s still second to Clinton in terms of spending growth. Obama sucks, but the fact that all these Reaganite wingnuts didn’t come out of the closet until after spendhappy Bushit just shows their agenda isn’t small government, it’s the party on the right. This might as well have been on Fox news. Why didn’t Ted just lean on over and suck Ray’s dick… could have saved us all seven minutes.

    1. Socialists like yourself are rarely interested in facts, but the only actual cut in spending from one year to the next since WWII came during Reagan’s first few years. It was quickly reversed when the Democrats took over the Senate.

  10. Ray Griggs in “I want Your Money” says we loose our freedoms because of the national debt. I believe he is incorrect. I fail to see a connection.

  11. Thank you Ray for this movie. We need someone to tell the story of what is really going on. Can’t the rest of you see that we cannot keep spending at the rate we are going? Not that hard to figure out…

  12. THE END OF AMERICA———Obama and his Chicago boys are still guffawing over how all the chumps in the media reported this one with a straight face. Hey, it’s a just another reason why running a gangster government is nothing but laughs for the Obama crew in the White House.

    OBAMA THE DESTROYER
    OBAMA IS LIKE A DESTRUCTIVE CHILD WHO TAKES APART A WATCH AND THEN CAN’T PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN. HE HAS TAKEN APART THE CAR INDUSTRY, PLACING IT UNDER FEDERAL CONTROL. HE IS DISMANTLING THE BEST HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD, REPLACING IT WITH SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. AND TODAY, HE STARTED DESTROYING OUR MILITARY BY SIGNING AN INSANE NUCLEAR TREATY WITH RUSSIA.

    THIS TREATY, THE WORK OF THE MENTALLY DISORDERED LEFT, WILL MEAN A 30% REDUCTION IN OUR NUCLEAR ARSENAL AND A STEEP REDUCTION IN OUR SUBMARINES AND STRATEGIC BOMBERS. THAT’S ON TOP OF THE FACT THAT OBAMA HAS ALREADY SLASHED THE DEFENSE BUDGET AND STOPPED A COMPREHENSIVE MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM. NOW, IN THE NAME OF DIPLOMACY, OBAMA WANTS TO DESTROY OUR NUKES JUST WHEN IRAN AND NORTH KOREA ARE BUILDING THEIRS. OBAMA CLAIMS THIS TREATY WILL COAX IRAN INTO DISCONTINUING ITS NUKE PROGRAM. THAT’S CRAZY. THE HITLER OF IRAN WANTS THESE WEAPONS TO INTIMIDATE THE UNITED STATES AND DESTROY ISRAEL. THIS MEANINGLESS PIECE OF PAPER WILL NOT STOP HIM.

    AND WHAT ABOUT RUSSIA? ANYONE WHO THINKS THEY’LL KEEP THEIR WORD IS CRAZY. RUSSIA HAS A HISTORY OF RENEGGING ON NUKE AGREEMENTS. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO VERIFY HOW MANY THEY’VE DESTROYED, AND THEY’VE ALREADY SAID THAT THEY CAN PULL OUT OF THE AGREEMENT AT ANY TIME. FURTHERMORE, BOTH RUSSIA AND CHINA ARE IN THE PROCESS OF MODERNIZING THEIR NUKES. MOST OF RUSSIA’S NUCLEAR ARSENAL IS AGING AND OUTDATED. IF WE CONTINUED AS WE ARE, RUSSIA WOULD FADE AS A NUCLEAR POWER. THIS AGREEMENT HELPS THEM! HOW MUCH OF OUR OWN ARSENAL IS OUTDATED? OBAMA ISN’T SAYING.

    OBAMA DID SAY TODAY THAT THE SPREAD OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS TO MORE STATES IS AN UNACCEPTABLE RISK TO GLOBAL SECURITY. AND YET THIS INSANE TREATY INCREASES THAT RISK. OBAMA ALSO SAID TODAY THAT WHILE THE TREATY WAS A GOOD FIRST STEP FORWARD, IT’S THE FIRST IN A LONG WAY FORWARD. “IT WILL SET THE STAGE FOR FURTHER CUTS.” FURTHER CUTS. OBAMA DOESN’T JUST WANT TO REDUCE OUR ARSENAL. HE WANTS TO ELIMINATE IT COMPLETELY. HE IS OUR DESTROYER-IN-CHIEF. AND THE ONE REMAINING CHANCE TO END HIS AGENDA OF APPEASEMENT IS THE U.S. SENATE, WHICH MUST RATIFY THE TREATY BY A TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY. HE COULD BE STOPPED THERE, BUT WHERE IS THE REPUBLICAN OPPOSITION? EACH DAY, MORE AND MORE, IT’S AS IF A HOSTILE FOREIGN POWER HAS TAKEN OVER THE COUNTRY.—- Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows to Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER.

  13. Obama and his Chicago boys are still guffawing over how all the chumps in the media reported this one with a straight face. Hey, it’s a just another reason why running a gangster government is nothing but laughs for the Obama crew in the White House.
    TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT?..TO ALL THE COMMUNIST IN THE IG,FBI,CIA,AND U.S. Senators and the left wing media outlets?..Stop Obama’s Attack on Our Borders, Economy, and Security,Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away with.in the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows to Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER.
    OBAMA goes about his business by speaking the lie. II Thessalonians 2 says that he comes “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” Revelation 13:12 says, “and he spoke as a dragon….” Revelation 17 tells us that he was a false prophet, a prophet being one whose calling it is to speak and to teach. The armies of the world may have guns and tanks and bombs to bring people into submission; but the power of speech and ideas is a mighty power. In his initial attempts to destroy the cause of God Obama used a serpent to deceive the woman with crooked speech: “You will be like God.” Now he uses a “dragon” who speaks crafty, lying words. His speeches will be heard by millions who will hang on his persuasive rhetoric. The content as well as the form of his speech will attract. Like most false prophets, he will even be sincere and passionate. But he is a liar. He adds dashes of truth to the mix, so that his lie tastes like truth. He will use all the right catchwords, using the language of the church, even throwing in a Bible text or two. But he is the ultimate Liar, and will deceive many.
    OBAMA will use every tool available: school teachers, politicians, news broadcasters, artists, musicians, scientists and doctors, lawyers and businessmen. All will be pressed into the service of OBAMA to deceive men. But especially he will use those whose calling it is to persuade and to teach — men who claim to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    THE COMMANDER,,, REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE .. THE END OF AMERICA .If one asks what he should look for in the days to come, I say this: there will be political union all nations will be gathered together into one mighty empire. This is the first of obama. There will also be religious union, joining all the religions and religious empires of the world. The powerful ecumenical movement of today, led by the religions of Christianity, will in the end fully succeed, swallowing up all the other religions of the world. You may expect to see one man over it all. obama. The Commander

  14. The only difference between Reagan and Obama is that Reagan knew better, that and he at least let the recession run its course before resuming business as usual in Washington.

  15. Wasn’t it Obama who came in last year and said, “I inherited a $trillion deficit and I have just about doubled it in these first few weeks, and we are going on for $2 trillion and $3 trillion, stick with me and together we can”??

    Meanwhile, VP Biden says that if the Bush tax cuts expire, the results will be expensive for a lot of middle class Americans. How can this be, when for almost 10 years his whole party has been telling us that those tax cuts only did any good for the rich? We were supposed to believe that all those low income people who were taken off the tax rolls entirely, a 100% tax cut, didn’t enjoy that. And, those who saw their rates drop from 15% to 10%, a 33% tax cut (with more besides, with the same increase in the personal exemption and standard deduction that made the above described 100% tax cut), that didn’t help them, either? Now Biden’s people are trying to get a small, momentary political gain from telling us that the Dreaded Republicans got in the way of extending the current tax rates, so they need to tell the truth. What kind of people would tell the truth only when they couldn’t find any way to cause as much trouble by telling lies?

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