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Spin one for the Gipper


I expect some simplification and spin when political pundits discuss economics, but experts are generally more careful, if only for the sake of their own credibility. So I was surprised to read Dan Mitchell, Cato's tax policy guy, offer this "slam-dunk comparison" between Reagan and Obama:

Both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama entered office during periods of economic misery. But they adopted dramatically different solutions. Reagan reduced the burden of government and Obama increased the burden of government. So which approach worked best? In his Washington Times column, Richard Rahn compares the economy’s “recovery” performance under both Presidents. As you can see, Reaganomics is much better than Obamanomics.

Seriously? We're trying an apples-to-apples comparison between the recession that faced Reagan and the financial crisis that faced Obama? And we're not even using the words "financial crisis"? This is like comparing how long it takes me and Barack Obama to get to work in the morning without mentioning that Obama lives at the office. The raw comparison makes Obama look like the Flash. The right comparison makes the comparison look silly.

Financial crises, as Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhardt have exhaustively documented, are different than normal recessions. And global financial crises are different than domestic financial crises (it's hard to export your way out, for instance. We could spend a long time talking about why that is, but for our purposes, the point is what it does: "The recovery after deep financial crises tends to be slower and more protracted than for a garden variety recession," Rogoff says. And by that measure, how's Obama doing?

"By most measures, the U.S. is just driving down the tracks of a typical post-WW II deep financial crisis," Rogoff e-mailed, "at least according to the benchmarks for unemployment, housing prices, government debt and stock prices given in chapter 14 of my book with Reinhart 'This Time Its Different.' One dimension where the U.S. did somewhat better was the peak to trough decline in output of roughly 4% versus 9% for the average."

In other words, we're mostly following the trend, though we managed to blunt the normal decline in output. If you want to compare Reagan to someone, you should look at Clinton, who also entered office amidst a traditional recession. But Reagan doesn't look too good in that match-up.

Photo credit: By Dennis Cook/Associated Press

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2010; 11:37 AM ET
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Ezra - stop apologizing for Obama.

Reagan's recessoin was far worse than what Obama got. But by understanding that the most increasing the reward for profitability he encouraged more economic growth.

Obama attacked profitability and created an enormously difficult climate of uncertainty with 2000+ page legislation that people still don't fully understand---on top of frivolous threats by the EPA to regulate CO2 and an unprecedented moratorium on 75% of the Gulf oil.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | August 4, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The government will always see a more comprehensive recovery from a recession with real job growth if it chooses to leave the money of profitable companies in their bank accounts over taking it from them and handing it over to a polarizing partisan figure like Nancy Pelosi and have her pick out a few winners to try and spur growth.


Posted by: FastEddieO007 | August 4, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

the point about the vastly different magnitudes of the financial crises is well-taken, but the larger problem with the quote is its repetition of the familiar canard that "reagan reduced the burden of government."

people! no! no, no no! reagan increased spending while reducing revenue and TRIPLED THE FEDERAL DEBT, thus dramatically *increasing* the burden on government on future generations of citizens and leaders who had to figure out how to pay it off. please, ezra, don't let statements like this go unchecked.

reagan was a sunny, optimistic guy who probably did a lot to improve the national mood, he stared down the soviet union, he gave a masterful speech after the challenger disaster, and all in all he had several good attributes, but the notion that he reduced the size of government is just an utterly fictitious fabulism, and a pernicious one at that considering that the modern GOP cites it over and over again in comparison to "liberal" leaders who increase government spending. please, people, figure it out! reagan increased government spending and did it in about the least fiscally responsible away imaginable -- by borrowing the extra money!

Posted by: homerFromBoston | August 4, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

You start off just fine - it's stupid to compare performance between two recessions - but then you compare performance between two recessions, which is stupid.

Posted by: ostap666 | August 4, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Beyond all that, though, there is this fundamental dishonesty in saying that Reagan took office during a recession. He didn't. The US was in a mild recession for the first half of 1980 (January to July), from which the economy recovered quickly, and was growing until July 1981. Why did the economy go back into recession six months after Reagan took office? Well, partly because of a third oil price shock (following the Iraqi invasion of Iran), and partly because Volcker became concerned that Reagan's extra loose fiscal policy (big tax cuts plus defense spending) would reignite inflation. So, far from Reagan inheriting a recession that he then successfully battled, he inherited an economy in recovery and then torpedoed it.

Posted by: rwclayton7 | August 4, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

If Volcker had decided to keep interest rates in the stratosphere until 1984 pretty much ANY Democrat would have won that year.

Even with the tax-cuts for the rich (and the Reagan payroll tax increases on the middle class), unemployment would have remained very high.

Of course, the GOP seems to be running a variation of the alternate reality plan in 2010 with an eye towards 2012.

e.g. Sabotage the economic recovery and reap the political rewards!

It may make for ugly politics and policy, but dumb and ignorant voters might reward the approach nevertheless.

Posted by: JPRS | August 4, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Of course, there are more differences than the depth of the recession. My understanding is that income taxes are far lower now than they were then. Different options were available to Reagan in 1980 than are available to Obama in 2008.

Posted by: Lindy4 | August 4, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

homerFromBoston: "people! no! no, no no! reagan increased spending while reducing revenue"

He reduced federal revenue for 3 years, after which, it continued to go up, even through the 1986 tax reform. By the time he left office, real tax revenues were twice what they were when he took office.

He also did not increase spending alone. He submitted balanced budgets to congress, who then loaded them with pork and restored programs that Reagan tried to cut or reduce. Reagan eventually ended up signing the bills with government pork and restored spending, but it was the Democrats who were responsible for the lions share of that increased spending, in the sense that Reagan wanted to cut, say, reading programs while increasing defense spending.

Not saying Reagan's budgets were always well considered, but they were balanced. The deficit spending was how he made deals with Democrats to get what he wanted. It was actually a great example of government compromises and deal-making, and it working pretty well, overall. Compared to what we have now, I'd say the Reagan system was admirable (as well as the behavior of the congress and senate), by comparison to what we have now.

Also, numbers are one thing, but I was 11 years old when Ronald Reagan was first elected into office. The economy right now is worlds better than what we had after Nixon/Carter. You can massage the numbers any way you want, but the general improvement of standards of living, and the general increase in wealth, makes an apples to apples comparison difficult. On the whole, the economy was much worse, at almost every level, in 1980 than in 2000 (and there was a looming financial crisis--the S&Ls, in which the government, then as now, ended up bailing everybody out). Go back and review a months worth of news broadcasts from the early 80s, and say that what Reagan inherited was the same as what Clinton inherited--in the practical, where-the-rubber-meets-the-road sense, not remotely the same.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 4, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse


On average, the budgets Congress passed were smaller (not by much, but still) than what Reagan proposed. So you can't blame Congress for "load[ing] them with pork and restor[ing] programs that Reagan tried to cut or reduce".

Say what you will about Carter - he still added 10 million jobs during his term. That's twice as many as Reagan would add during his first term, four times as many as Bush Sr would add during his term and nearly ten times as many as Bush Jr added during two terms.

Posted by: lol-lol | August 4, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Generally speaking there are two ways to stimulate the economy when in a recession:

1) Monetary policy - This means lowering the interest rate to encourage borrowing.

2) Direct Stimulus - This means pumping money into the economy via tax cuts and infrastructure projects.

Obama didn't have option 1 available to him. One of the (many) causes of our current economic downturn is that the Fed kept interest rates too low for too long, thereby creating a real estate bubble.

Posted by: nisleib | August 4, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Carter vs. Reagan vs. Bush:

Carter: Interest rate, 21%. Inflation, 13.5%. Unemployment, 7%. The so-called “Misery Index,” which Carter used to great effect in his 1976 campaign to win election, 20.5%.

Reagan’s last year: Interest rate, 9%. Inflation, 4.1%. Unemployment, 5.5%. Misery Index, 9.6%.

Bush (as of Ma7 2007): Interest rate, 8%. Inflation, 2.6%. Unemployment, 4.5%. Misery Index, 7.1%

Over his 8 years, non-farm employment inreased by nearly 16 million jobs under Reagan. Which aint bad.

5.6 millions job were created under the first 7 years of the Bush admin, which is a little more than half the jobs Carter added in a single term (understanding, of course, that there is more to the economy that who is in the Whitehouse, in any case).

@lol-lol: "On average, the budgets Congress passed were smaller (not by much, but still) than what Reagan proposed. So you can't blame Congress for 'load[ing] them with pork and restor[ing] programs that Reagan tried to cut or reduce'."

True enough, as further research seems to reveal. It's been a long while since the 1980s, and my memory is not what is used to be. Apologies.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 4, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

21.5% Interest Rates, 13.5% Inflation. Ugh, that would have been challenging.

Posted by: bigless55 | August 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Dan Mitchell is Cato's tax policy guy. That means that will argue that tax cuts are the answer, no matter what question is asked. One of the many reasons I pay no attention to the Cato Institute.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | August 4, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

It's actually a bigger win for Clinton than it looks.

Clinton somehow is #6 for inflation. Reagan was #2.

A quick look at the article shows that the Presidents are graded on inflation reduction. So it's really hard for Clinton, with inflation of around 3% when he entered office, to do much to 'reduce inflation' relative to Reagan who started with double digit inflation.

Furthermore, if any single entity is responsible for inflation, it is the FOMC, not the President (of course many other macrovariables aren't under the direct control of Presidents either). Clinton's rank rises further when the inflation component - which he didn't control - is stripped out.

Posted by: justin84 | August 4, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse


The Reagan recession was largely a by-product of oil price shocks and Fed interest rate policy. It's no accident that the recovery coincided with a decline in oil price AND a reduction in interest rates.

This current recession is a whole different animal thanks to the high levels of private sector debt (especially at the consumer level) and public debt.

e.g. In 1980 total debts amounted to 1.5 times the national GDP; today they are 3.5 times the national GDP level.

Whereas the 1982 recession was ended in no small part like most ordinary recessions by a move in interest rates; this current recession has been resistant to movement in the interest rate -- even at the zero-bound; and even after the passage of a substantial stimulus measure.

The massive increases in defense budgets during Reagan's terms weren't just a by-product of his acceding to the demands of Democratic Congresses. Unfunded tax cuts weren't just a by-product of Democratic demands either.

The Savings and Loan Crisis too can be directly traced to de-regulation of the industry at the beginning of Reagan's term (not entirely on Reagan, but an initiative actively backed by the Reagan administration).

Posted by: JPRS | August 4, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@kw:and the general increase in wealth,

There was no general increase in wealth among the bottom 4 quintiles over the last 30 years. Wage growth for 80% of the population has barely kept up with inflation.

Suprisingly I am older than you, so I remember the kind of economic dislocation that the Reagan recession caused in the industrial midwest. Many communities still haven't recovered.

"5.6 millions job were created under the first 7 years of the Bush admin"

Nice drawing of the line just before the housing bubble and financial crisis hit. Bush was in charge and republicans controlled the congress for 80% of the time. It is intellectually dishonest and factually incorrect to not include the giant financial crisis and housing bubble burst and resulting depression as a part of Bush's legacy. Remember, he came in with surpluses and left with massive deficits. The income growth was limited to the top 10% of the population. Everyone else was barely treading water. The only reason the economy looked good was people using their houses as ATMs, since wage growth barely kept up with inflation.

Really Kevin, I expect better from you.

Posted by: srw3 | August 4, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse


The inflation rate passed the 10% level several times in the years before Carter came into office (e.g. 1974-75); it's not exactly like Carter bears primary responsibility for the causes of inflation in the economy during his administration.

Not surprisingly there was an oil embargo that hit the U.S. in 1973 prior to the spike -- in 1979 there was yet another oil embargo coinciding with yet another spike in inflation.

Reagan should count himself fortunate that Carter's Fed chief started raising interest rates a year before he came into office. It didn't hurt either that he had the good fortune to preside during a period where there was a 6 year decline in the price of oil. (Clinton also benefited from low energy prices).

Posted by: JPRS | August 4, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Krugman also posted a quick little take down of Mitchell's "analysis":

Ultimately, it's hard to argue with Paul that an honest debate is simply not happening on this topic in the right chattersphere. When commenters can post something like this:

"Reagan's recessoin was far worse than what Obama got."

And still expect to be taken seriously, there's really not even much of a point in talking with them.

Posted by: jvill1 | August 4, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"Financial crises, as Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhardt have exhaustively documented, are different than normal recessions. And global financial crises are different than domestic financial crises (it's hard to export your way out, for instance."

BINGO! You finally got it! Now, if you would just take the next step and finally get that Keynesian stimulus packages and the resulting massive debts and deficits won't cure a global financial crisis brought on by massive debt, you'd be able to post something that makes sense.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 4, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse


Of course, Rogoff and Reinhardt ignored a lurking variable in their study of debt-levels in the U.S. (rather than federal debt levels magically triggering a recession post WWII; the recession can be attributed to demobilization efforts. e.g. the cause wasn't overall public debt levels, it was due to a drop in federal spending as the economy transitioned from a war footing to a peace-time footing).

If there was some magic debt-to-GDP ratio that triggered recessions and anticipated their duration, it would stand to reason that the immediate post-WWII period should have been substantially worse than the current cycle. Yet that's not the case.

Posted by: JPRS | August 4, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Willis, you are wrong on both revenue and spending.

Real revenue fell and did not return to its pre-Reagan level until 1985. It did not even double in nominal terms, let alone real terms.

Congress did not lard up the budgets with pork. Spending increased on Defense, Social Security, Medicare, and interest on the debt. All other spending fell by 5% during Reagan's term.

These erroneous beliefs that you are spreading are lies that have been circulating among conservatives for at least 15 years now, probably due to Rush Limbaugh repeating them at every opportunity.

Posted by: thomasmatthew | August 4, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"If you want to compare Reagan to someone, you should look at Clinton, who also entered office amidst a traditional recession. But Reagan doesn't look too good in that match-up."

The '80s recession and the Great Recession are apples and oranges no doubt. But sure hope Obama isn't using the Clinton playbook. Remember that peace dividend? Again, apples and oranges.

Posted by: tuber | August 4, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

JPRS, by limiting your commentary to governmental debt to GDP ratios, you are entirely missing the scope of the havoc wrought by the bursting of a the most massive credit bubble in the history of the world. Federal stimulus spending will achieve nothing but a temporary spike in GDP until consumers, financial institutions, businesses, and sovereign governments work through the world wide overhang of debt that will never be repaid and falling asset values. Adding to the debt glut by incurring more debt may postpone the inevitable, but at the cost of prolonging and worsening it.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 4, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Before Reagan, the national debt wasn't an issue. It exploded under him, dramatically. Real wages were stagnant. Inequality increased. De-regulation led to the Savings and Loan crisis. We had the stock market crash of 1987. The man utterly ignored the AIDS crisis for years as America panicked. He sold weapons to both Saddam Hussein and Iran. Even those that can't think past "tax cuts" forget that the debt was exploding so quickly after he slashed taxes for the rich that Reagan had to sign numerous tax increases into law, including the "largest peacetime tax increase in US history."

Unlike the progressive income taxes he slashed, the payroll taxes he increased predominantly hit the working and middle class.

He absolutely gutted the tax rate for the rich and it was so bad for our national budget that he had to make up for it a bit by drastically increasing the taxes on the working and middle classes. Even then, it wasn't enough and the debt exploded. Is it any surprise that inequality has been exploding ever since?

Right now, the highest 400 earner, who make $380 million on average, have an effective tax rate of around 17%.

Do you?!

Posted by: nylund | August 4, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse


I'm very much aware of the private sector debt bubble (see my comment at 1:20 PM). I even agree to some degree with your diagnosis -- e.g. that the private sector "debt glut" particularly with respect to consumer debt needs to be reduced to more sustainable levels in order to create conditions for a sustainable private sector recovery.

The problem here is that there isn't enough space for the private sector to clear debts if private and public demand pull back simultaneously in this kind of economic environment.

You can't clear private OR public debt in an environment where there is zero to negative growth. And you don't get growth if aggregate demand continues to contract due to a simultaneously withdrawal of public and private spending. The only reason why total debt levels dropped during 2009 is because the increase in the federal balance sheet created some breathing room for the private sector to clear off some of the debts on its books (unfortunately, not enough thanks to the scaled down size of the stimulus).

Your initial diagnosis sounds an awful lot like the "balance sheet recession" discussed by Richard Koo with respect to his experience dealing with the debt crisis in Japan and based on his experience with the NY Fed dealing with sovereign debt crises in South and Central America during the early 1980s.

His solution under these conditions -- especially with low federal borrowing costs, is not to try to balance budgets and let the private sector continue to muddle along.

Posted by: JPRS | August 4, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

First of all stop this nonsense equating the 81 -82 recession as a normal recession. The average recession post WW2 lasted 10 months 81-82 recession lasted 16. That said I agree that the two recessions are apple and oranges comparison but we just experienced a housing bust, a financial panic, a credit freeze and a deep recession plus whiff of deflation while 81-82 was a high inflation, high interest rate stagflation caused recession. Both recession had high and long periods of unemployment. The comparison of responses is still noteworthy. Regan went with reducing tax burdens, giving the economy the bad medicine it needed through the fed hiking rates and he encouraged private investment laying the foundation for a two decade boom. While Obama went with a stimulus package filled with pork, started a war with business, signs 2000+ pages bill with tons of regulations raising compliance and operating cost and talks about tax hikes at year end. The differences in responses couldn't be more striking.

Posted by: bk1986 | August 4, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse


It was "normal" to the extent that the cure could be found through an adjustment in short-term interest rates (like pretty much every other post-WWII recession -- with only a little fiscal stimulus needed to get the economic engine running again).

Reagan had the luxury of having a Fed Chair in Paul Volcker (thanks Jimmy Carter!) who had brass balls; and who had jacked rates up to 21+ percent, which provided the Fed Chair with plenty of room to juice the economy back to health once he'd removed inflationary pressures from the economy (with an assist from OPEC countries in reducing one source of inflationary pressure).

As far as "reducing tax burdens" go, Reagan reduced taxes on the rich, but he passed several tax increases that hit the middle class.

Not surprisingly the benefits of the Reagan boom largely accrued to those at the top; those in the middle did OK, but not nearly as well as they did during the Clinton years; the bottom third and below actually lost ground.

As far as blaming Obama goes, he didn't create the national debt or the current level of private sector debt. He wasn't AWOL during a massive housing bubble; he didn't appoint political hacks and cronies to oversee the operation of financial markets during the inflation of the bubble; he didn't run up deficits during periods of economic expansion.

He did inherit unfunded tax cuts, a huge drop in revenues, unfunded wars, and $5 trillion of new debt that had accrued over just one two-term presidency (this doesn't even include unbooked costs which still haven't appeared on the federal balance sheet).

Even after having dropped interest rates to near-zero, Obama's finding that the economy can't get back to health in no small part because W and the Republicans didn't just drive the car into the ditch this time, they damaged the engine and the frame to such a degree that a simple revving of the engine isn't sufficient to get the car back on the road again.

As far as businesses being cowed by harsh words from any president, and "fears" about new regulations -- never mind things like CONSUMER DEMAND which actually drive economic growth -- I mean, come on. If these guys are such wimps they don't deserve to earn 400 times what the average worker earns.

Posted by: JPRS | August 4, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Interesting stuff these comparisons. Here's another one.

Post-Reagan: S&L crisis. Bush 41 got stuck cleaning up that mess.

Post-GWB: industry-wide, heck, global banking crisis

Posted by: tuber | August 4, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Your Reagan/Clinton comparison is as asinine as the Reagan/Obama comparison.

Liberals love to fawn over Bill Clinton but fact of the matter is his economy hinged a lot on the tech boom and the .com bubble. Presidents don't invent new technology or create revolutionary industries. They can create a climate that helps or hinders innovation but as for Clinton, he was simply in the right place at the right time.

Hey, great job though. slap down a false comparison and replace it with an equally false comparison. Was the Reagan/Clinton comparison suggested by your friends on Journolist?

Posted by: TysonBam | August 4, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

In December 1982, the unemployment rate was 10.8%. Doesn't that pretty much end this discussion?

If the crazy cons want to compare to what they perceive as the 'good' of the Reagan economy, then by all rights they should give this President a little time. Of course, that is if they had a alight interest in fairness, accuracy, or reason.

Posted by: jayacoop | August 4, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, these are not exactly the points we all agreed to discuss. Don't go "straying off the reservation". Stick to the talking points as we laid them out to you. Why all agree to a liberal strategy if we aren't all going to say exactly the same thing to damage conservatives? Why even HAVE a newjournolist then?

Posted by: jadams76 | August 4, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Tyson and JAdams - this journolist it anything like the longstanding (over 20 years) Wednesday Morning Meetings the right have been hold ing? The one's where FoxNews, Washington Times, NewsMax, AMerican Spectator, a dozen rightwing think tanks, and reps from GOPers in Congress (and between 2001-2008, members of the Bush Admin) all gather to plan the coming weeks rightwing story lines? Where they coordinate their messages, so they're all "on message"? Is it anything like that?

Posted by: Zoomie1 | August 5, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

No Zoomie1 --- it is not like that ficticious scenario you differs in two major ways:

1. The JOURNOList really happened.

2. It involved in "hard news" reporters from several news institutions participating in strategy sessions on how to get Barack Obama elected. It was journalistic fraud. And Ezra refuses to come clean and reveal the exteent of the fraud.

Ezra is Josef Goebbels reincarnated....for him the ends justifies the means. Democracy is just a big joke.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | August 5, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

It is simply shocking to me that Ezra Klein is still employed in any capacity resembling journalism.

Posted by: ADNova | August 5, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein: Like the majority of Americans, I am not at all surprised that you would write such a biased opinion piece so soon after your shameful and unethical propaganda machine (journolist) was exposed. Your career is over, young man. You have been discredited as the immature and not too clever political operative you have always been.

Posted by: nrabp | August 5, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Well, let us reflect on the expectations set by the current POTUS and his slobbering minions including the progressive press and Mr. Klein himself. Parting waters and clearing skies or whatever the nonsensical verbiage proclaimed after his coronation.

Let's spend a few hundred billion and keep unemployment under 8.0%. This was the bar he set. Now all the fraud and waste of that expenditure made on the backs of our grand kids is coming to light. Gulf Oil Spill --- not exactly a great reaction by the administration that was painfully slow in marshalling resources during the first few weeks of the "crisis". More like the performance of an academic or a community organizer rather than an Executive.

Obama's failures are his own both because of expectations set by the media and the POTUS himself as well as the incompetence he has shown on the economy, the Gulf Oil disaster etc. No amount of blaming it on Bush is going to fly anymore. He and his 4 yr DEM control Congress deserve what's coming in November.

BTW you can't say that the Obama and Reagan administrations are not apples and apples then say Reagan and Clinton are -- DOT COM bubble come to mind. Can't claim the high road Ezra unless you are actually on it.

Posted by: pab11111 | August 5, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

When you compare Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obomer, It is not only the president but the congress and senate.

Look closely at who were the majority when we were in surplus, look when there was prosperity, look when the unemployment went from negative to positive.

You will be shock when you look at the economic cycles and you can really see the ups and downs according to who is controlling the houses of congress.

Clinton was smart and got on the right side of the curve. O won't be that smart come November.

Posted by: gordons_MPM | August 5, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The first Reagan Recession was not something to be 'blamed' on Reagan - it was a deliberate (and imo opinion justified) attempt to control inflation by the Fed and instigated with the full advice/consent of President Carter. One might question whether Reaganomics extended it, but I'm inclined to think it had minimal effects - the results just tracked exactly what was predicted beforehand too closely.

All that said, the second, actually large recession was entirely a result of Reaganomics, as were the various other recessions since. Reaganomics is after all fundamentally the belief that the economy is driven by the investments of the wealthy.

Feels good if you're already among the wealthy; Of course how you can have that belief without noticing that the results of the policies is actually to destroy wealth and wreck the economy, inevitably resulting in a net decline in investment by the wealthy is a bit beyond me.

Posted by: Jonnan | August 5, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

August 7, 2010

9.5% = government spin on unemployment rate
30% = more likely unemployment rate for unemployed citizens and legal residents
100% = real unemployment rate for the unemployed person. This is the number that will count in Nov.
unknown = number of unemployed who have stopped looking for work or no longer sign up for benefits
unknown = number of illegal immigrants in U.S.
unknown = number of illegal immigrants who are employed in jobs legal residents and citizens would take if employers were not breaking the law by hiring illegals
100% = number of employed illegals who are are breaking the law
100% = number of employers breaking the law by hiring illegals
100% = number of currently illegal immigrants who will attempt to get unemployment benefits after the Great Giver in Washington gives them 'legal status'
100% = likelyhood George Bush will NOT be on November ballot

Posted by: NocheGarcia | August 7, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

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