Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reagan -- The Best The Republicans Have

Happy Birthday, Ronnie!  You were a crappy Governor and you were a crappy President...but you are the best the republicans have.

That's right.  Sarah Palin is trying to cast herself as Reagan.  Republicans continually point to Reagan as a great President.  We hear, from republicans, that Reaganomics was the greatest thing for our economy since sliced bread.

Well, let's take a little closer look at Reagan and how the economy did under him.  There is a great post over at Angry Bear from which I am going to pull some facts and figures.  I will give a little detail, but they have more.

I said that Reagan is the best they have.  It's true.  He leads the republicans when you look at the annualized growth in GDP per capita.  He grew the economy better than all other republicans since 1929, that's in the last 80 years.  Way to go, Ronnie.

Notice I did not say he was the best President in growing the economy in the last 80 years.  Notice that I did not say he was the second best, nor the third best.  Why, I didn't even say he was the fourth best.  Why?  Because he wasn't!

Ronald Reagan was number 5.  There are four Democrats ahead of him.

Oh, and who is number 6?  Carter.  So Reagan is number 5 out of the top six as shown in the figure below.

Note that FDR is shown twice.  That's because they separated out the war years.  FDR1 goes to 1940.  If you look at the last two bars, it is obvious that the Democrats have out-performed the republicans by a significant amount -- by several times the republican average.

There is one other point I would like to make.  When faced with this data, republicans often say that GDP is not a good measure because it includes government spending.  They say the Democrats are "tax and spend", so big government spending distorts GDP.  Well, let's look at the definition of GDP.

GDP = Private Consumption + Private Investment + Gov't Consumption & Investment + Net Exports

OK, there's government spending -- Gov't Consumption & Investment

To quote from the article:
if the government borrows a lot and spends what it borrows, it will boost GDP, and that in turn causes real GDP per capita growth to increase. And that is precisely what happened under Reagan
  In fact, here is a figure.

Reagan's right up there with Bush Sr as a leader in growing the debt as a percent of GDP.  In fact, Reagan just about tripled the debt going from about 1 Trillion dollars to about 3 Trillion dollars.  So, if you remove the governement portion of Reagan's GDP, he will look even worse.  A lot of his growth came from government spending.

If you are interested, there are some other interesting facts about Reagan in the article, like
  • He's number 4 in annualized growth in real net disposable income -- behind 3 democrats
  • He leads everyone in the transfer of local and state spending to the federal government.  I call that growing the federal government.
This man is who the republicans hold up as their standard bearer in these tough economic times.  Not a second rate president.  Not a third rate president.  Not a fourth rate president.  NO!


Happy Birthday, Ronnie!  You are the best the republicans have!


  1. Great post Jerry, too bad the righties dismiss it all. They love their Ronnie because he really is the best they have from the past. What a sorry ass pitiful party the GOP is.

  2. In other wirds, Jerry, the Republicans have damn little - or nothing. Just as I had always known. Sooner or later, the people HAVE to figure out their lies!

  3. I don't know, Jack. Lots of people listen and believe. They don't think first, or even second, and they don't look at actions. After all, thinking and looking take work. Listening is easy.

  4. The argument about government impact on the GDP or unemployment not somehow counting may well be the most irrelevant point I've ever heard. What difference does it make who is hiring as long as people spend what they make?

  5. I'd say RR wouldn't be impressed with SP - but then he was impressed with Nancy.

  6. Hello Jerry Critter,
    What a current and relevant topic today as I too have done a posting on Ronald Reagan. Mine is titled, “A Trader To His Class.”

    Many inaccurate myths have been applied to Ronald Reagan as I have pointed them out in my postings.

    Myths such as Ronald Reagan is often invoked by those who cast him as having “Held the line against tax increases, and as a budget cutter willing to make hard choices to keep spending in line.”

    Yes, following an initial tax cut, Reagan actually ended up raising taxes ELEVEN TIMES. It is also important to note that Reagan’s later tax increases did not wipe out the effects of his first term initial tax cuts. They only corrected about only half of the budget defect that was incurred by the initial cuts. (Much like someone only paying the minimum payments on a credit card and never really paying the initial charge from years before) For me this defines “Fiscal Irresponsibility,” not anything to immolate.

    It should be noted that the 1983 payroll tax hike went to pay for Social Security and Medicare. “Reagan raised taxes to pay for government run Health Care!” (Tell the Teabaggers that one)

    Reagan also raised the gas tax and signed the largest corporate tax increase in history; an act that would be “utterly unimaginable for any conservative to support today.”

    These “FACTS” have largely been lost as the Ultra Conservative Right that has enshrined Reagan as its “Patron Saint,” and they will surely fade further amid the Narcissistic and Nihilistic laden speeches that will dominate this past weekend’s “Ronald Reagan’s Centennial” celebrations.

  7. Good post.

    I reprinted my "Mondale was Right" post. You may have already read it.

    The babyboomers (spoiled as children) seem to believe in a "Free Lunch" ideology.

    They built the debt, and now pass it on to their children. Shame on them.

    History will treat Reagan like Regan's political idol Coolidge, a bad President.

  8. I guess President Obama thought so too being he read up on RR while on Vacation,and he's the best the dems have?

    The Republicans have Huckabee and Pawlenty. 2 actual people who did actual jobs of actual governing,what an actual concept huh?

  9. I'll say one thing for Dubya. He made Ronnie look good.

  10. Dubya was sure not number 5, although in some ways he was certainly a big "number 2".

  11. History will treat Reagan far worse than Coolidge. Coolidge was a fool who fell for a bankrupt ideology, but he believed what he said. Reagan was a crook and a shill for crooks, and nothing else.

    By the way, a great post- there's nothing like a few facts, huh?

  12. Facts can be pesky things, but they never get in the way of The Stupid.

  13. Anon,


    He took office in Minnesota with a 600 million dollar surplus. He is leaving Minnesota with a 6 Billion dollar debt.

    Incompetence, if ever ther was political incompetence.

  14. Your Republicans At Work
    Pawlenty - again proving government does not work by being an incompetent republican Governor

  15. Saint Ronnie's myth is as fake as the scripts he used to read. But at least he had the excuse of senility to fall back on. I'm not sure what we can use to excuse the idiots running around spouting this mythological BS now.

  16. I have Reagan as the 4th best Republican Prez, at best (behind Lincoln, Ike, and TR). Hell, I might even put the good and decent man, Gerry Ford ahead of him. I agree with the overall point that he was overrated.

  17. Reagan couldn't win a Republican primary today.

  18. Hello Jerry Critter,
    I have just posted a piece of a prank caller pretending to be billionaire conservative businessman David Koch and was able to have a lengthy conversation with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker about his strategy to cripple public employee unions. I have added the YouTube clip of the phone conversation.

    Walker may have gotten himself into more trouble than he may realize. It is my understanding that legal minds are going over the statements on the tape and some are thinking that there is enough evidence of ethics violations to demand that he resign.

  19. "...FDR..."

    FDR spoke eluquently on how destructive public-sector unions are.

    What is happening in Wisconsin is nothing more than self-interest (the unions) vs public-interest (Gov. Walker).

    The union thugs have been overpaid, living on the gravy train, for so long, with their hand in the cookie jar, and are very very much opposed to getting a fair wage for their work.

  20. Union workers over-paid? Get real. The only reason that claim can even be made is because private sector wages have stagnated for the last 20 years. Walker has his personal and the Koch brothers' interest at heart. The public be damned!

  21. Dmarks,


    We should all make that kind of money, or better.

    You righties think we should all make a buck a day so we can compete with China.

    What garbage! Our goal is to meet the low standards of China?

    Instead of lowering our standards, how about we raise the standards of China and make them compete with our pay and benefits?

    Oh ya, they have a Communist government, competition is not allowed.

    Union thugs gave you the working conditions you enjoy today! You don't understand American Labor History.

    You take those conditions for granted. People died to ensure you have decent working conditions. How about supporting them for that sacrifice?

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