Ronald Reagan

A Tale of Two Recoveries: Reagan vs. Obama

Tax reform is a long-term success story.

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Reagan
Public Domain

In an interview about his legacy recently published by The New York Times, President Barack Obama took a shot at the Reagan revolution to make the case that contrary to conservative dogma, tax cuts, and other free market policies—such as cutting spending—weren't good at jump-starting the economy. The implication seems to be that his preference for big-government policies produced superior results.

Now, not everything about the Reagan revolution was as free market as we think. For instance, Reagan wasn't as big of a spender as George W. Bush, but he still presided over large spending increases during his two terms in office—23 percent in real terms (though the federal government shrank slightly as a share of gross domestic product). A lot of the growth came from defense spending increases. Contrary to what some conservatives believe, defense spending is still spending, and not every dime spent by the Department of Defense is productive. Reagan also expanded Social Security taxes and failed to deliver on much of his promise to devolve powers to the states.

Yet he did deliver on major tax reforms. Not every economist agrees about the impact the Reagan tax cuts had on economic growth during the 1980s, but they do agree that the long-term impact of making large changes to the tax system can be incredibly productive. Regarding the changes to the tax system during the Reagan years, economist Michael J. Mandel wrote in 2004 for Bloomberg, "Making changes to the tax system and regulatory policies of a mammoth economy like the U.S. is like turning the rudder slightly on a supertanker: The initial effects are small, but it leads to a big shift in course over time."

We also know that lower tax rates today would change the incentives for younger people to invest in educational and career choices that would increase the odds of their becoming the rich people of tomorrow. Nobel Prize-winning economist Ed Prescott showed that lower taxes incentivize people to work longer hours over time and retire later. It means that the Reagan tax cuts led to higher long-term economic growth and tax revenue. And it's worth noting that rich people actually paid more after Reagan reduced the top tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent.

Tax policy wasn't the only factor at play during the Reagan years. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker played a significant role (with Reagan's support) in squeezing the cancer of inflation out of the economy. Reagan also benefited from the tech and information revolution that the IBM personal computer helped jump-start.

Mandel noted, "Reagan's first term saw the creation of such future giants as Sun Microsystems, Compaq Computer, Dell, and Cisco Systems—the greatest entrepreneurial burst of new companies since the early 20th century." The president's relatively permissionless innovation approach contributed to this burst in entrepreneurship, development in venture capital and investment in human capital.

Whatever the reasons, the recovery during the Reagan years can't be ignored. As the Senate Budget Committee carefully documented in a 2014 report, 2 1/2 years after the start of the 1981 recession (it lasted 16 months), employment had fully recovered. Real GDP had fully recovered by the first quarter of 1983, and it grew by 22.4 percent within six years. The participation rate started growing shortly after the end of the recession.

Now compare this with the anemic recovery under Obama's tax, spend and regulate policies. Seven years into the recovery, the administration is touting 5 percent unemployment, dropping from over 10 percent after the recession, and some economic growth and job creation. However, a look at the numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis reveals the weakest economic expansion in the postwar era. For instance, total jobs didn't reach the pre-recession level until July 2014, 6 1/2 years after the recession's onset. Last quarter, economic growth was 0.5 percent, and in the quarter before that, it was 1.4 percent. Private-sector investment fell last quarter by 25.5 percent from the previous quarter. Despite falling gas prices, consumer spending fell, too. Unemployment is low mostly because people have given up on participating in the labor force. Moreover, many of those lucky enough to have a job are underemployed.

It's no surprise, then, that almost 70 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, and they aren't buying the president's tired "financial crisis" excuse. As such, no matter what one says about the Reagan years, I like his recovery better.

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  1. Is it true that Obama will be the first President never to have a year of more than 3% GDP growth while in office?

    1. Yes, that is true. Because of Republican obstructionism and the fact that we the people are too stupid to understand his incredibly sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the economy.

      1. HE HAD SHOVEL READY JOBS! Shovel ready!

        1. Ahhh, one of my fondest memories of his arrogance and the contempt in which he holds us little people is when he remarked at some luncheon or something that they “weren’t as shovel ready as we thought!” which was a big laugh line and which sent his crony golf buddy Jeffrey Immelt into peals of laughter. Nothing better epitomized this worthless narcissistic fuck and what he thinks of himself more than that…

          1. Wasn’t aware of that one, but one of my personal favorites was recent when he crowed about his legacy defensively. He cited cutting the budget deficit. This despite the fact that all cuts to the deficit resulted from sequestration which he opposed and complained about for years, and all of his own proposed budgets would have jacked up spending.

            1. And that reduction was versus the huge deficits he presided over in the early part of his first term.

            2. Yeah, he cut the budget deficit from the MASSIVE stimulus baseline he established in the first year of his administration and he was such a budget hawk that he only DOUBLED our national debt. MASTERFUL!!!

            3. How to guarantee a legacy as a deficit cutter:

              1. Increase the deficit massively your first year.
              2. Gradually decrease the deficit to the level of your predecessor’s budget.
              3. Profit from your legacy!

      2. You forgot to throw in the excuse that BOOOOOSH!!!! had personally screwed up the economy so bad before Obama got there that it was just hard for him to fix it in a hurry.

      3. “his incredibly sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the economy.”

        AKA being a Keynesian Kool-Aid drinker.

        1. That’s the thing – he’s not even a Keynesian. He’s a typical tax and spend leftist.

          1. Keynes’s ideas basically boil down to whatever spending the government does is good for the economy.

          2. Keynesianism actually gets a bad rap since tax and spend types latch onto it as a reason for their policies. John Maynard Keynes actually advocated increased federal spending during recessions to boost aggregate demand, but at the same time argued for less federal spending when the economy was strong. I would think that such a plan if implemented would require smaller government overall, since increased spending – in a Keynesian model – should only be temporary. But, as Milton Friedman was fond of saying, “There is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.”

            1. ^ This

              Politicians like the “spend when down” part of Keynes, but when the time comes for the “cut spending when up” part, suddenly he gets forgotten.

              1. Asking politicians to not spend an increase in revenue is like asking water to not flow downhill.

              2. I doubt Keynes was stupid enough to believe that politicians would cut government spending when tax revenues went up. That was eyewash for the rubes.

            2. I’d argue that Keynesianism gets a legitimate rap. It’s a prescription based on dumb analysis, recession or not. It’s based on a faulty premise – that dollars spent by governments would have disappeared otherwise. Has anyone taken a macroeconomics course that tried to explain the multiplier effect? It’s been a while since I did, so I don’t know if the technique has been updated, but the obvious flaw was that Keynes traced the dollars spent by the government, but did not compare that to what would have happened to the dollars if not spent by the government. That alternative was completely ignored. It was like he had never heard of the broken window fallacy, or willfully ignored it.

              1. The premise of Keynesian economic theory was refuted before Keynes was ever born by Bastiat’s parable of the broken window.

              2. There is a really nice description of Keynsianism here: http://www.econlib.org/library…..omics.html

                Keynesians believe that prices, and especially wages, respond slowly to changes in supply and demand, resulting in periodic shortages and surpluses, especially of labor.

                I don’t think that is an objectionable statement. I don’t think aggregate demand targeting is particularly effective, mainly because there is too much lag between when policies are implemented and when the economy provides enough feedback to change course. I would expect in an economy as large as complex as in the United States aggregate demand targeting would likely lead to more extreme highs and lows. I don’t have economics background to fully appreciate, or critique, economic policy.

                [The] obvious flaw was that Keynes traced the dollars spent by the government, but did not compare that to what would have happened to the dollars if not spent by the government.

                I agree Keynesians oversimplify the economy. But, it isn’t economically wrong to say a group of guys would have more beer by pooling their money and buying a keg rather than buying individual beers. You are correct though that most Keynesians ignore, or gloss over, opportunity costs related to what the money could have been spent on, but remember their goal is to manage aggregate demand.

                1. “You are correct though that most Keynesians ignore, or gloss over, opportunity costs related to what the money could have been spent on”

                  In a sense this is true, but the point was supposed to be that government spends when the business cycle troughs – i.e. when business aren’t spending and opportunity costs aren’t there.

                  The trouble comes when the government spending does start to elbow out private spending and you can’t see it happening because there is so much government spending it drowns out the other indicators (i.e. where we are now).

                2. I agree Keynesians oversimplify the economy. But, it isn’t economically wrong to say a group of guys would have more beer by pooling their money and buying a keg rather than buying individual beers. You are correct though that most Keynesians ignore, or gloss over, opportunity costs related to what the money could have been spent on, but remember their goal is to manage aggregate demand.

                  That’s a fair point, but I don’t think it’s an accurate analogy for government spending. The biggest issue is the feedback lag, an issue of imperfect information magnified by scale. For the analogy to work, you’d need to adjust it. Instead of the group pooling resources, which would be pretty efficient, it would be more like the group joining a mail order “keg of the month” club and paying for a year at a time. If they didn’t like the beer or wanted more or less, that information wouldn’t get to the people buying and shipping the kegs until the next order had already been made. Plus, some of that money now needs to go to pay the people working at the company. That’s money that isn’t getting spent on beer, which takes a bite out of whatever savings or efficiencies you might have realized by pooling resources by the first place.

              3. ” but did not compare that to what would have happened to the dollars if not spent by the government. ”

                No, the alternative wasn’t ignored. In fact, the alternative is the basis of argument for government spending in *recessions*. The key here is recessions, people averse to spending and risking exacerbation of problems if deflation kicks in. It’s during the times when confidence among public is low that you need government spending to spur the economy. Multiplier effect has long been studied and it has been substantially updated since. The obvious follow up to this is cutting in spending and austerity after the recovery which rarely follows up. James Buchanan, a nobel laureate himself wrote about the incentives of politicians to just keep up in deficit.

                “The basic discovery was that Keynesian economics had a bias toward deficits in terms of political self-interest. That is, at the margin politicians preferred easy choices to hard ones, and this meant lower taxes and higher spending. Thus, whatever the merits of Keynesian economics in using government fiscal policy to “balance” the forces of inflation and deflation and employment and unemployment in an economy, its application in a democratic setting had severe problems of incentive compatibility; that is, there was a bias toward deficit finance. “

      4. Because no other President ever faced a Congress held by the other party who opposed his ideas…

    2. Yes, at least since BEA started releasing GDP numbers with Hoover.

      Although, Hoover getting credit for better growth than Obama is probably a little silly considering it was his inaugural year that came up okay, followed by three years of at least 6% negative growth and even a negative growth in FDR’s first year.

      Even considering his much touted “X quarters of (small) positive growth” that his PR team spins, Obama is on pace to roughly tie Truman for the worst average growth since Hoover.

      1. Umm, the Depression was over when FDR took office in March of 1933, withoiut s dime of “stimulus”
        Per the officlal dates of business cycles. “Trough” is when the economy hits bottom, and the recovery begins..

        http://www.nber.org/cycles.html

        Don;t look too closely though or you might see the five back-to-back recessions in only 12 years, 1945-1957, which GOP bullshit calls a “postwar boom” despite massive postwar spending cuts, a lie sustained by Reason and Gillespie. Hystericlalty, prigressives claim a postwar boom was despite 91% tax rates!

        Even crazier, the GOP and libertrian estabkishments claim we had a postwar boom with 91% tax rates.
        While Paul Krugman and the progressives claim we has a postwar boom with massive spending cuts.
        This just shows how both the leftwing and rightwing puppets are so totally brainwashed by the politcal class (which includes Reason, Cato and Mercatur).

    3. Despite relatively low inflation and more than doubling the public debt no less.

  2. Also, U6 is like 9.9%.

    1. And even that’s understated.

  3. And it’s worth noting that rich people actually paid more after Reagan reduced the top tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent.

    LA LA LA LA I’M NOT LISTENING LA LA LA

    1. The number of people who can’t distinguish lowering tax rates from lowering tax revenue is far too large.

      1. They don’t want to distinguish it because envy is what motivates them.

        1. Well, when you have a President who admits he’d be in favor of raising rates on the wealthy even if it resulted in less revenue, stuff like that is gonna happen.

          1. I would pay to have Arthur Laffer beat any of those liberals over the head with the federal tax code…

            1. Does it violate the NAP if you’re defending your property?

          2. I remember this happening but can’t for the life of me find the interview. It really was stunning when he said that and I felt it didn’t get enough coverage because of how mind numbingly retarded it was.

            1. Check out his speech in Osawatomie Kansas when he claimed the free market and capitalism DON’T WORK and HAVE NEVER WORKED….

              “Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

              Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.”

              1. Wait… we tried cutting regulations and taxes in the last decade? That’s news to me.

                1. BOOSH reduced some taxes once, which is obviously exactly the same as complete deregulation.

      2. “The number of people who can’t distinguish lowering tax rates from lowering tax revenue is far too large”

        Both the rate and number.

      3. The number of people who can’t distinguish lowering tax rates from lowering tax revenue is far too large damn high.

        FTFY

      4. +1 Laffer Curve

    2. Who was the biggest blowhard complainer about Reagan’s 1986 Tax Reform? You know, the one that cut marginal rates and resulted in rich people paying more income taxes than ever before?

      None other than Donald J. Trump.

      All of a sudden, even The Donald was subjected to the indignity of paying income taxes, and he was pissed. So pissed that the Democrats felt safe in using him as a witness in hearings set up to disparage Reagan and Bush I. The Donald, in fact, was instrumental in making Bush I a one-term president by creating the false impression that the mildest recession in modern history was a depression.

      1. Got any cites? Would LUUUUURVE to read about it…

        1. He’s right. I distinctly remember Trump bellyaching about the 1986 legislation.

          1. Most likely because it involved closing a lot of tax shelters, which developers like Trump loved.

            1. Closing a lot of those tax shelters also had quite a bit to do with causing the S&L financial crisis.

              A lot of real estate loans has been made predicated on the tax shelter effects. The loans would not have made economic sense otherwise. When the tax shelters were yanked out from under them, the loans went belly up and the S&L’s had to eat the losses on real estate loans they had made.

  4. The Obama recovery consists of widespread disability fraud, replacement of full time jobs with part time jobs, and several stock market bubbles.

    1. Quiet, you’ll summon shriek with that kind of talk.

      1. You mean that guy who still hasn’t provided proof he’s made good on his bet?

        1. If only there were some low-level but persistent way of reminding him….

    2. The so-called Obama Recovery is largely fueled by the success of hydraulic fracking, which has cut domestic energy prices by over half. Of course, this development happened in spite of Obama, whose people have opposed it every step of the way.

      1. BUT HE’LL STILL TAKE CREDIT FOR IT!!

    3. Don’t forget the “green” subsidies (which have mostly been a complete disaster, just as you would expect).

  5. Contrary to what some conservatives believe, defense spending is still spending, and not every dime spent by the Department of Defense is productive.

    Clearly Reason writers such as du Rugy hate America and want the terrists to win.

    (that was sarcasm)

    1. WHAT IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?!?! The F-35 has been a HUGE success!!

    2. I’m having trouble figuring out which dimes spent on defense have been productive. Can anybody help me?

      1. I’m fond of the ones that paid my tuition via ROTC and two 3-year all-expenses paid vacations in Germany, but opinions may vary.

  6. Are circumstances then and now similar enough to make a meaningful comparison?

    1. If you only look at the two periods of Reagan’s and Obama’s terms, probably not. The more meaningful comparison is between Obama’s terms and all other post-recession periods. The “recovery” under Obama is a relative joke.

    2. It would be interesting to see how Obama would handle double-digit inflation. My guess is he wouldn’t have the balls to kill it off like Volcker/Reagan.

      1. He would argue that it’s good. It helps debtors at the expense of creditors.

    3. The president seems to think so.

  7. Obama is either delusional, or he genuinely believes that his supporters are retarded.

    I experienced Reagan’s economic recovery. Mister Obama is no Ronald Reagan.

  8. I’m a firm believe that president’s don’t have ‘economies.’ They don’t help the economy at all. Government only fucks things up. Cutting taxes is just government slowing down how much they are fucking things up.

    Arguing with commie kids and taking classes taught by Marxists has left me very bitter.

    1. I understand what you’re saying, and agree in the main, with one exception: presidents, with the help of Congress (and sometimes with executive orders), use government resources (taxpayer-provided of course) to direct economic activity. That is no different than a CEO using business resources (shareholder and creditor-provided) to direct economic activity. To the extent the resources are used productively the activities are beneficial. If not used productively the resources are wasted. And it’s very possible, although rare, to productively use government resources. Obama, his administration and Congress have failed miserably in this regard. The stimulus, cash-for-clunkers, green initiatives, cell phones for the poor, etc….

      1. And they can impact economies through tax policy and the regulatory state.

        1. I think that’s what Brochettaward is referring to as a “do no harm” situation. The absence of tax and regulatory policies is probably the best scenario for economic productivity. So the best a president can do is to not fuck it up too much. You can’t tax and regulate to a better outcome than if there was no government intervention in the economy.

    2. Government largely screws things up by introducing uncertainty about costs into the economy. This Administration’s “creative” interpretation of the extent of its authority to micromanage relations between private entities and its incompetence at executing that authority has introduced a heaping pile of uncertainty into the marketwhich has gummed up the economy terribly.

      1. Hard to prove, but a very good theory. That has probably done more harm than his tax policies. And helped the economy under Reagan.

      2. Obama care has so far been the very definition of ‘economic uncertainty’ for employers.

  9. Reagan didn’t clear the path to health, he cut taxes but not spending, and the remainder was borrowed. The entitlements weren’t curtailed. The 1930’s and the 1960’s needed to COUNTERACTED, not papered over. It was the foundation of the system now coming to an end – endless borrowing (money you never have to pay back as chortled by a REPUBLICAN a few years back) and endless expansion of unfunded promises of entitlements. Both parties are a part of this function. But “recovery” was not in the form of getting the government out of the way, it was using credit cards when the credit was good, but left an imprint of debt. We’re now at the other end of the system where borrowing $7,000,000,000,000 and promising the sun, moon, and the stars has little impact.

    This isn’t partisan. It’s the toxic effect of the decisions in the 1930’s coming home to roost. Even Eleanor knew the math didn’t work by the early fifties. But LBJ doubled down on entitlements, most likely as a way to keep the jigaboos in line, and TWO Ponzies were in play. But instead of killing the process before the toxic effects could enter the bloodstream, taxes were cut, entitlements remained the same or increase, and debt soared. And it kept on going. And THEN the Republicans not only DIDN’T work toward reducing the unfunded entitlement insanity, THEY ADDED TO IT with Medicare Part D. Why not? We can just borrow more money we never have to pay back.

    1. So was, the Reagan “recovery” better than Obama’s? Sure, like being young and getting a new credit card with sound credit instead of conning someone to give you three new cards while you’re barely keeping up on the minimum payments on the twenty cards you already have.

      AGAIN, the biggest issue this country faces is the multi-10’s of Trillions of hard basis debt and unfunded defined benefits. It started under Reagan and the PEACE TIME borrowing of money “you never have to pay back”. It was smoke and mirrors to MAINTAIN the asininity of the 1930’s and the 1960’s, and the masses ignorantly began eating their seed corn.

      1. I’ll concede a lot of that screed, but REAGAN didn’t start it. And De Rugy mentions that under him “the federal government shrank slightly as a share of gross domestic product.”

        When has that ever happened again and is it even possible for it to happen again.

        1. See below, for some reason my response went to the end.

    2. There are (at least) two factions in the Republican Party, one which has a genuine in interest in small(er) government (if only fiscally) and one which believes in technocracy, albeit from a right-leaning perspective.Reagan straddled the line; his rhetoric was an appeal to the former, while his actions were more indicative of the latter.

      Basically, there are Republicans who say “we don’t need the welfare state” and there are Republicans who say “we need to make the welfare state work.”

      1. Reagan was an FDR Democrat early on. He thought well of FDR even as President. I now believe that Reagan was the first link in the chain that transformed what was once a two party system (with the likes of Goldwater as an active politician in the “Albert Nockian” sense) into a single party with the more socially conservative branch and a socially liberal branch of the Democratic Party. In short, Reagan switching from “tax and spend” to “borrow and spend” didn’t really change what he tacitly was. The tax cutting “fiscal conservatism” was a ruse.

        We needed a pre-WWII style Republican, not a warmed over Democrat. We got the smoke and mirrors turned on and shined up starting in 1981.

  10. Funny how the guy who always complains about rancor in politics is ALSO always the jerkoff who never misses a chance to take cheap shots at *anyone* on the other side of his royal opinion.

  11. You realize when you mention Reagan, you’re lighting the Vanneman signal, right?

  12. historical table of debt

    Looks every bit like the national debt went from (as a % of GDP) 31.7% to 50.5% from 1981 to 1988 after being in the mid-to-low 30%’s for a decade.

    Yes, it did begin under Reagan, and with a few bubbles injected into the GDP (to be inevitably be offset later) we’ve been on a steep incline since, with the last few year (2008 into 2009!) being utterly fantastical.

    Anyone still wonder why we have Trump and Clinton? You have to be nuts or a power hungry nazi to want to be president. As if anyone is really qualified to be president of this size of government; those who might even come close to being qualified are smart enough to get the hell out. That’s why Jim DeMint quit.

    1. Reagan was the cusp of the ponzi schemes coming home to roost. Johnson got all of the goodies of unifying the ss and general fund to make the debt appear to be lower than it was (publicly held debt that is). I’m not justifying the increase, just pointing out that there’s a difference between creating structural problems like the Democratic welfare state and not repealing/reforming those problems.

      Of course your average voter still wants your government out of his medicare…

      1. My comment was to be in line with my comment above, where I discuss the causes to the situation Reagan and the country were in due to the 30’s and 60’s, so wasn’t needed to be repeated. The upshot is Reagan didn’t to a thing to defuse it, it simply got papered over with credit. It was the opening of the first few bags of “seed corn”. And it tasted so good, everyone has been mowing on it – into diabetic comas – since. But the Reagan “recovery” was not a recovery more than it was deluding people into thinking they had both “retained earnings” in the form of houses, bank balances, and 401K’s AND a “lock box” of entitlements. There’s only ever been ONE. And that’s going to come excruciatingly evident very shortly.

        If people on the “warfare” side of the welfare/warfare state want to believe we were “winning the cold war” and that accounts for the massive increase in debt, whatever. The Republicans have NOT adjusted one iota the “borrow and spend” process since, and they JOINED the Dems in the entitlement insanity with Medicare Part D.

        All on “easy” credit.

    2. People do forget to mention’s Reagan’s plan though. He wanted to bankruptcy the USSR. He spent a lot so they would to also. It worked. It’s just we never paid down our debt because hey, we can print more money right?

      So yes, Reagan did increase spending.

  13. Who cares? What about sex worker rights, chicks with dicks (really dudes with tits), and latest navel gazing from SJW/mental patients at our fine institution of higher learning. The economy? We are supposed to care about that.

    1. Yes, this is Reason. Taxes are the last thing we need to worry about.

    2. All snark aside, I’ve begun to think that libertarians are simply picking their battles. Transgender bathrooms and porn are battles we can win. Fighting leviathan? Not so much.

      1. I could see that, if they were picking the side that wasn’t expanding state control. Sadly, in the culture wars, they aren’t consistent at all about thinking through what the end result is going to be.

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  16. lies lies lies……….our USA has been murdered……….

    100 million in this country unemployed
    20 trillion in debt along with 100s of trillions in Unfunded liabilities
    decades of swinging gate borders with up to 60 million invaders occupying the USA
    decades of Unconstitutional trade deals shipping US jobs…

  17. Reagan had to increase spending. He was at war with the middle east, the Russians, and drug lords that got really aggressive with house invasion slaughters. Those hitmen paid for by drug revenues had no remorse.

    Sure, he could have just legalized drugs…. or he could have been super bad ass and armed police with military grade equipment, FUCK YEAH! Listening to NewRetroWave music is intense when learning about Reagan!

    1. Who’s your dealer and how can I get as high as you?

  18. Veronique is at least a lot more accurate than Gillespie, but still off. Spending increases came when Reagan’s massive spending cuts were buried in a GOP Senate. Non-defense spending DID decline. And economists still debate if Reagan’s defense buildup caused the USSR to collapse. which ended the Cold War. Savings the Cold War were intended to payoff the debt ,but …. Congress.

    Congressional Republicans also screwed “New Federalism: by refusing to fund it .. so it was STATES that walked away. Keep that in mind when Cato and others babble about block grants to states, which states will likely again reject if the funding remains at the mercy of Congress.

    The overall goal was to consolidate programs at a single level, instead of 2-3, then hold somebody accountable. Federal would assume all of Medicaid, states all of food stamps. Plus devolving education, transportation and other programs to the states.

    In Reagan’s case, it was again his own party, which refused adequate funding (keeping it to themselves). Medicaid and Food Stamps were essentially equal, but the outright transfers were funded by a DECLINING trust fund, down to zero in 8 years — as Congressional Republicans screwed Reagan again.

    1. This is more detailed and documented, Obama vs Reagan

      Reagan’s stock market was still crashing to -70%. Obama’s had fallen 65% and already rebounded to -46%.

      Both s fiscal policies began with virtually identical unemployment, Reagan at 8.6%, Obama at 8.7%. Reagan’s peaked at 10.8% in the 10th month, Obama’s at 10.0% in the 8th month. After 2-1/2 years, Reagan’s was DOWN to 7.2% with near full participation, Obama’s was UP to 9.0% with the worst labor participation in the postwar years.

      http://research.stlouisfed. org/fred2/data/UNRATE.txt

      1. Part 2

        Reagan inherited the highest prime-rate ever at 21.5% Obama had the LOWEST ever, 3.25%

        Reagan started with a far worse recession, but at the end of his first term real GDP had increased 12.6% in four years combined. Obama’s first four years saw only 3.3% total.

        This is not a partisan pitch for Reagan, whose tax cuts repeated Kennedy’s almost precisely. And they were followed by the ONLY two peacetime booms since the 1920s. (Clinton took office in the 22nd month of a solid recovery).

        Volcker did shit. His inflation failure caused the double-digit interest debacle, and did not return to historic normal (6.5%) until December, 1991

      2. Unemployment in April of this year was 5.0% (as just reported today). In April of 1988, Reagan’s last full year, it was 5.4%. (I looked up the numbers this morning in hopes of being able to say that Reagan came in with the economy in much worse shape than when Obama took office, but he still managed to bring unemployment down farther than Obama did. As it turns out, Obama has brought it down lower than it was any point during the Reagan administration or that of Bush I. Clinton I finally got it down to 4.9% in May 1997, and it stayed below 5.0% for the rest of his administration. The numbers do not, on their face, make the Dems look that bad. Now you can always argue that Obama has been a disaster with regard to labor force participation, but that’s another story, and a more complicated one.)

        1. Cherry-picked dates on Obama/Reagan comparison, ignored Obama’s milder recession but weakest recovery since FDR. It’s still April, so you cite MARCH unemployment.

          And your last sentence (labor participation) makes it useless.

          . The numbers do not, on their face, make the Dems look that bad.

          You conveniently ignore that Clinton took office in the 22nd month of a boom (tracing to Reagan) — and left us with a recession.

          The Reagan boom included a short recession– 8 months ? after Democrats increased in the minimum wage … plus a double tax INCREASE on manufacturers, which destroyed our industrial base and all our best union jobs, creating the illusion of income inequality.

          If one person replaces an $80,000 job with a $50,000 job, middle-class and average wages decline and the rich have a higher share … even if nobody else loses a dime of income.

          The 1986 tax bill was written by Democrats, who campaigned as “repealing Reaganomics” — with a double tax increase on manufacturing ? sending our industrial base back to the immediate postwar years — before JFK’s tax cuts — when our industrial base also collapsed.

          1) Increased tax write-off on new industrial investment from 8 years to 16 ? (all our competitors were at 5) (hit corporate profits in 1990.)
          2) Repealed Kennedy’s 7% investment credit.
          3) While babbling about “corporate loopholes.”

          Any questions?

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