Two recent presidents have entered office during a recession caused by their predecessor and promised to fundamentally change conditions in America. One faced a hostile Congress dominated by his political opponents. The other began with overwhelmingly supportive majorities in both houses the first two years of his administration.
One president set the U.S. on a path of prosperity that slashed the unemployment rate and boosted growth to levels never seen since. The other created a stagnant economy with little growth, millions opting out of the employment market and very weak job creation.
The problem for the elite leftist media is the failure was Barack Obama and the success was Ronald Reagan. Their choice is either try to make Obama look good, a herculean task in itself, or make Reagan look bad. So of course they went after my dad.
As The National Review points out, two of the myths the left uses to undermine Reagan’s success are to first characterize the 1980s as a “decade of greed” and the president as a hypocrite because the federal government continued to grow.
Let’s take the economy first. “Following the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, unemployment in the succeeding years fell an estimated 45 percent. During the 1980s, the consumer price index rose only 17 percent, private domestic investment grew 77 percent, and economic growth averaged 4.6 percent annually.”
Reagan deregulated oil prices — yes, prices at one time were set by the government and there were lines at the pumps — and gave all Americans the chance to join the investor class when he created an investment/retirement vehicle we take for granted today: IRAs and 401(k) retirement programs. By contrast, Obama wanted to increase taxes on retirement investments and the only investor class he pays attention to are “green energy” crony capitalists.
The second myth is even though Reagan preached smaller government, the federal government grew and the national debt tripled. Since my father was fought tooth and nail by a partisan Democrat Congress, there were only so many battles he could win.
National Review has the statistics. Education and various welfare spending programs essentially doubled. But — wasteful “regional development” boondoggles, commerce, and housing spending decreased 22 percent. And the size of the federal workforce, which has only increased under Obama, fell by 5 percent.
The debt did triple and it would have been a bargain at twice the price. The vast majority of the spending went to defense, and that in turn enabled the U.S. to win the Cold War without resorting to a hot war.
Compare that military record to Obama’s depressing list of abandoned allies, terror atrocities, and general skedaddles. According to economist Richard B. McKenzie, the 1980s were “the most prosperous decade in American history” up to then.
Under my father’s administration, in reality we had “Morning in America.” Under Obama, in spite of all the leftist spin, the light is failing.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.