Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rand Paul on the Reagan Fiscal Record

Tom Kludt catches Rand Paul praising Jimmy Carter and calling into question part of Ronald Reagan’s fiscal record:
Paul took his GOP blasphemy even further when he said that Republican punchline Jimmy Carter actually had a better record on government spending than Reagan. "The deficit went through the roof under Reagan," he said while stumping for his father, Ron Paul, at a campaign event in 2007. "So how long did it take Ron Paul to figure out that the guy he had liked, endorsed, campaigned for, campaigned for him? The very first [Reagan] budget. Ron Paul voted 'no' against the very first Reagan budget… Everybody loved this 'great' budget. It was a $100 billion in debt. This was three times greater than Jimmy Carter's worst deficit." Paul's office promptly issued a statement to Mother Jones. "I have always been and continue to be a great supporter of Ronald Reagan's tax cuts and the millions of jobs they created," the senator said in the statement. "Clearly spending during his tenure did not lessen, but he also had to contend with Democrat majorities in Congress."
President Carter was a fiscal conservative and Senator Paul is correct to point out that the Federal debt rose rapidly during President Reagan’s tenure. But as I listened to the video, I heard Senator Paul making a lot of false claims. Total Federal spending as a share of GDP did not rise even as President Reagan oversaw an increase in defense spending relative to GDP. So when the Senator claims that Federal domestic spending increased, that is simply not true. As far as the jobs record, let me turn the microphone over to Paul Krugman:
It’s not just that more jobs were created under Clinton, who raised taxes on the rich, than under Reagan; I wonder how many people know that more jobs were created under Jimmy Carter than under either Bush?
I seem to recall Lawrence Kudlow talking about how real GDP grew by 3.5% per year for the second half of the twentieth century, which is an accurate statement as far as it goes. But that omits the fact that average real GDP growth was only 3.0% over the 1981-1992 period. So much for Voodoo Economics!

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