WASHINGTON, February 8, 2014 — Ronald Reagan inherited an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent; Barack Obama inherited one of 7.8 percent. Both men were elected on platforms that were essentially, “It is time to do something different.”
Their policies, their “something different,” were completely opposite in methodology and philosophy.
Reagan said in his 1980 acceptance speech:
Well my view of government places trust not in one person or one Party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties. The — The trust is where it belongs — in the people.
Obama said in his 2008 acceptance speech:
Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but also for every American who’s willing to work.
One vision sees trust in the people of the country as more important than the government. The other sees the government as the insurer of opportunity.
Over their first five years, with very similar economic starting points, how did they do?
As the primary indicator of all economic activity within the country, GDP growth is the single best gauge of the nation’s health.
The average GDP growth for Reagan’s first five years was 8.8 percent. The average GDP growth for Obama’s first five years was 2.7 percent.
This one goes to Reagan, in a landslide.
The median household income growth for Reagan’s first five years was 7.7 percent. The median household income growth for Obama’s first five years was -4.8 percent (yes, it was negative).
This one goes to Reagan, in another landslide
The total number of jobs created in Reagan’s first five years was 5,700,000. The total in Obama’s first five years was 1,200,000.
It is completely understandable why the president and other Democratic leaders have added the phrase “or saved” when they say “jobs created.” The impossible-to-measure concept of “jobs saved” is a sleight of hand used to cover what is an abysmal figure.
Most interestingly, given the growth of size in the country from 1986 to 2013 (from 240 million to 317 million), for Obama’s job creation to have matched Reagan’s, the country would have had to add almost 8 million jobs over the last five years. From this statistic, it is factually correct to say that Obama is one-eighth the President that Reagan was.
This one goes to Reagan, in yet another landslide.
Conclusion: it depends on your vision.
For the leftist/liberal/progressive, tomorrow is going to be great because all the bad stuff will be fixed and the really good stuff will work. History is neither informative nor predictive, and having the right people leading us will result in the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams.
For the conservative, let’s again implement the policies that have worked in the past. That means recognizing the arrogance and ineffectiveness of the government’s attempts to fine-tune the economy and manage commerce, unleashing the powerful forces inherent in an unconstrained and free marketplace, and restoring individual liberty and self-reliance.