Bush Has Created No New Private Sector Jobs

Shift, might I recommend the OMB historical tables?

  1. Reagan did not cut spending. On page 128, as a percentage of GDP, total outlays were virtually unchanged for the 1980s - 21.7% of GDP in 1980 to 21.3% of GDP in 1988 (which went right back up the 0.4% of spending in Bush I’s first year).

This is because non-defense discretionary spending dropping a point and a half, but defense spending went up just as much. Additionally, from a long-term spending level, Reagan didn’t do shit about the entitlement spending levels that supposedly conservatives off so much; mandatory spending like SS didn’t change a bit.

So the best you can say here is “less butter, more guns”, which is a strange perspective for a small-government conservative. Of particular interest, note interest payments went from 1.9% of GDP to 3.0% of GDP under Reagan - hooray! That’s small government!

  1. Reagan was pretty much just as corrupt as Bush, he just personally didn’t get blamed for it. The administration with the all-time record for indictments and convictions is Reagan.

  2. Bush has kept the deficit tax cuts and raising military spending of Reagan’s, but he did drop the discretionary spending cuts in favor of turning discretionary spending into corrupt whoring for business (see, Medicare plan).

  3. Reagan did not “increase tax revenue” by any reasonable definition. Raw tax dollars go up every non-recession year due to just inflation (which has high in Reagan’s first term); additionally, when you’re coming out of the ass-awful recession of 1980, of course tax dollars will go through the roof. The question you want here is “Did Reagan’s tax cuts pay for themselves above the recession & inflation baseline?” The answer is no - see page 25. Receipts as a percentage of GDP went from 19% in 1980 to 17.6% in 1984. Raw constant dollar tax receipts look like this:

1980: 1030
1981: 1080
1982: 1040
1983: 960
1984: 1020

Increased revenue my ass.

Doesn’t normalizing to GDP remove the benefit that is supposed to be primary to this sort of economic plan? I thought the idea was that lower taxes encourage more investment and innovation, thus raising GDP, thus giving more revenue than if you had higher taxes with lower GDP. I realize you don’t buy this argument, but just normalizing GDP is out is kinda not fair.

I disagree, but it’s irrelevant - tax receipts did not increase at all, look at that last set of numbers.

Additionally, if you want to measure the effectiveness of Reagan’s policies on growth, you’d need to estimate how much “extra” growth they created above the baseline of continued unchanged poilcy. Which basically gets you into competing economist territory; I have nothing to say about that other than “note that every single person who thinks they increased growth by anything noticeable is a republican, while all the unaligned don’t think it did.”

As a rough calculation, look at page 33 table 2.3:

1980: income taxes are 9% of gdp.
1984: income taxes are 7.9% of gdp.

1980: GDP is 5160
1984: GDP is 5800

So income tax collection went from 464 to 458 billion - a growth rate of -1%, while the economy grew by 3% a year (of which a significant pile was recession recovery). If there’s some GDP growth rate effect of Reagan there, it’s pretty damn hidden; that’s basically the long-run rate of growth anyway.

OK. I didn’t realize what those numbers were because the lack of units made me assume they were normalized somehow.


Interestingly enough, that is pretty much my impression of Reagan during his presidency. Unfortunately, I don’t recall off the top of my head who his Fed Reserve Board was, at least until Greenspan took the job (which IIRC was toward the end of Reagan’s second term).

You tell it, brother.

Let me spell it out for you, “trickle down economics”, aka the rich take what they want and everyone else gets the left overs has been around for thousands of years. It wasn’t anything new at all, despite being named after Reagan, and despite what you may have read in your talking points memos.

  1. American became prosperous under non-Reaganomic policies? I’m guessing were you to graph American prosperity you’d draw a straight line from 1783-1991 and then a big parabola that terminates in 2000.

Wages adjust for inflation and purchasing power peaked some time in the seventies as I recall (the best analysis I’ve read was in “Countours of Descent” ), with the explosion of the middle class largely coming after WW2 until then. Our economic policies were quite a bit different during that era, marked by much less fear of public spending, and less tolerance of the super rich. Take a look at the income tax percentage on income over $200k during WW2.

  1. “not Reagan increasing revenue”?? Well, far be it from little old me to dispute your unbiased and obviously accurate recollections, but what? Income tax revenue in
    1980- $249M
    1984- $297M
    1988- $412M

Guess you don’t remember that huge deficit, huh? Jason has already pointed out why your numbers are flawed, so I’ll refrain from belaboring the point.

I don’t wonder, no. I think about many things day in and day out and sometimes I forget about internet threads. My bad, but in a genuine “oops” way. Although it’d be ducky to hear how GWB’s economic policies caused the de-regulation scandals in CA or Enron. Furthermore, he’s certainly increased regulation in huge ways if you consider two major life-changing acts: PATRIOT and SOX.

Don’t go by memory, go by what you can document. I reaffirmed most of my recollections with some Googling and wikipedia. Yes, Reagan increased revenue whether you remember it or not. Yes, he decreased the size of government outside of the military. Yes, he lowered taxes for the rich and also for everyone else. Whether you like or agree with these policies or not is another discussion; the fact is that they took place.

OK I honestly don’t know if I’m just an incompetant writer or what. The “diversion of money” to the rich was done by two largely different means: Reagan cut taxes for the rich (and everyone else, actually). GWB cut a couple very limited types of taxes a little bit, but then handed out huge types of subsidies to the rich. I believe they are different enough that GWB isn’t engaging in Reaganomics.

Fair enough, I’ll bite. Explain how Reaganomics contributed in large part to the recessions of the early 60s, 70s, and 90s. Hell I’d be curious to hear how his policies which really didn’t get underway until 81-82 contirbuted to the recession’s beginning in 1980.

I don’t understand. Your quote says that, as a percentage, Carter spent less on social programs than Reagan. But then you say Reagan couldn’t have managed to spend less.


I’m fine with all that. My original reply wasn’t justifying Reaganomics; it was to claim that GWB isn’t on that train. I think there’s a few other diffs as well, but they’re smaller and more quibbly. One fer-instance would be how much more of a service economy the US has now than in the 80s when it was still trying to be an industrial producer. War spending comes to mind now as well; yeah Reagan spent a ton on defense, but he didn’t have a laundry list of nations to invade and rebuild at $100 billion plus, each.

I was just talking to a financial advisor in Germany yesterday about this. It came to my mind to compare the oil barons of now with the railroad/steel barons of the very late 1800s, the declining aristocracies of the very late 1700s, etc. Give us some absolutely huge, paradigm shifting world event in the 2030-2040 range and we’ll be good for another 60 years! :)

Re-read my post. “lowered government spending in every area except military”

Which, top of my head, doesn’t have one single damn thing to do with whether or not GWB is following Reaganomics, which is the central claim I made in this thread. What the fuck are you talking about, Donnie?

Oh good. So they are different. Jesus.

From the GPO at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy06/sheets/hist01z3.xls (works in StarOffice BTW, for those interested):

year reciepts (raw dollars)
1980 517.1
1981 599.3
1982 617.8
1983 600.6
1984 666.5
1985 734.1
1986 769.2
1987 854.4
1988 909.3

year reciepts (in 2000 dollars)
1980 1,028.3
1981 1,077.4
1982 1,036.9
1983 961.7
1984 1,016.8
1985 1,082.6
1986 1,107.3
1987 1,196.1
1988 1,235.6

If you check out the rest of the spreadsheet (since I didn’t quote them here), you’ll notice that both in raw and in 2000 dollars, revenue has been on a downward trend from 2000 to 2004, especially in 2000 dollars. So tell me again how revenue under Reagan: 1) didn’t increase by any metric and 2) revenues under GWB are basically doing the same thing.

Did you know one can have more revenues and still increase the deficit? Also: can you find one sentence from me or Ben where we claim the deficit didn’t go up under Reagan? Belabor that point for me, if you will.

Look folks I know the mention of Ronnie’s name gets feathers ruffled around here, and that’s fine. But if you read my post, you will see that my only claim is that GWB is not following Reaganomic principles. Period. For good or bad. No matter what we think about Reaganomics. No matter if you think Reagan was a retard. Not relevant to the thread.

Where the hell’s your reading comprehension? Reagan obviously tried and tried to spend less on social spending, but fixed payouts like Social Security, among other things, just wouldn’t let him. Of course, that hasn’t stopped the legions of his disciples (people like you) from continually peddling out the same bullshit claims you have since he was in office. But hey, the only thing that matters is that you’re wrong.

Shift, “but Reagan spent less on everything but the military!” is not the same statement as “Reagan lowered the size of government.” He didn’t.

Already gone over the raw dollars vs. inflation & growth adjustment; see my earlier posts.


I know they aren’t the same. I listed each as a separate comparison between GWB and Reagan.

I did. I then posted completely different numbers as produced this year by the GPO. I consider them more reliable than some eh.net or whatever website, even a reputable one. <shrug> No skin off my nose.


As Bush’s intervention in the Pennsylvania battle demonstrated, Enron commanded considerable influence in its home state. As the company gave campaign contributions to Bush and other Texas officials, Enron won the 1999 deregulation of Texas’ lucrative electricity market.

Campaign-finance records show Bush received $312,000 from Enron’s political action committee and company executives for his two gubernatorial campaigns. The company and its executives gave hundreds of thousands more to his 2000 presidential campaign, making Enron Bush’s top political contributor.

According to a joint investigation by the New York Times and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Mr Lay and other Enron executives interviewed other candidate members of the regulatory commission and supplied the president’s personnel adviser, Clay Johnson, with a list of the company’s preferred candidates.

The two commissioners Mr Bush chose to fill the vacant Republican seats both had the backing of Enron and other power companies.

“It just confirms what we believed and what we’ve been saying, that the Bush-Cheney energy plan is written by corporations and it’s in the interests of the corporations,” said Kevin Curtis, vice-president for government affairs of the National Environmental Trust, a Washington pressure group.

Enron, a $100 billion behemoth in the energy trading market, was a significant backer of Mr Bush in last year’s election. It contributed $1.7m to Republican candidates, 72% of its total campaign spending.

It is a strong supporter of deregulation in the electric power market, in particular the opening up of state markets to outside suppliers.

And a good summary of California in particular:

California’s electric power crisis reverberated on Capitol Hill Wednesday as attorneys for fallen energy giant Enron acknowledged deception in past electricity trading practices, and a key federal regulator vowed to make Western energy markets fair. “This is not what I have in mind when I talk about the benefits of a competitive energy market,” said Patrick Wood III, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates the wholesale power market.

Memos released by FERC suggest that Enron falsely overstated power demand in its requests for energy from the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s power grid.

“The Enron schemes demonstrate that Enron was willing to go to any length to exercise its market power,” says Sean Gallagher, general counsel for the California Public Utilities Commission.

The recession also struck, worsening the crisis. Heat waves and a cold winter fueled surges in demand for power. Blackouts swept much of the state. Bills for consumers, small businesses and corporations tripled. Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility for Northern California, filed for bankruptcy protection.

Energy industry officials defend the free-market system and energy trading, blaming California’s crisis on a drought in the Pacific Northwest that hurt hydroelectric production there while driving up demand and prices in California. “Everyone is pointing fingers at FERC, when it was a supply-and-demand problem,” says Jan Smutny-Jones of the Independent Energy Producers Association.

California officials demanded that White House officials and FERC take action. After months of delay, federal regulators last year capped the price of wholesale electricity, and the energy system stabilized.

Wood, who took over the chairmanship nearly a year ago, walks a fine line in dealing with the issue. He’s an outspoken supporter of deregulated power markets, appointed by a president for whom excessive regulation is anathema. Yet Wood has taken pains to condemn manipulation by Enron and other California wholesalers, and last year supported FERC’s imposition of price caps at the wholesale level. That cools the crisis, at least until the caps expire on Sept. 30.

Under persistent questioning, Wood declined to say that the caps will be extended. He said only that FERC will not allow them to expire without protection for consumers against unscrupulous traders.

Lawmakers skewered the apparent inactivity of FERC for nearly a year before price caps were put in place. During that time, corporations went bankrupt, jobs were lost and Californians endured blackouts.

Said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.: “The agency you head was shamefully absent. People at FERC sat on their hands and did nothing.”


There ya go, Shifty.

Shift, your numbers that you posted say they’re raw dollars numbers. They’re useless.

Dude, Jason. Seriously. The second column right there in that post are the numbers clearly re-labeled as adjusted into year 2000 dollars. I’ll repost it here.

year reciepts (in 2000 dollars)
1980 1,028.3
1981 1,077.4
1982 1,036.9
1983 961.7
1984 1,016.8
1985 1,082.6
1986 1,107.3
1987 1,196.1
1988 1,235.6

I have to genuinely wonder if you’re purposefully being just completely obtuse or willingly blind or what. I mean What. The. Fuck.

I scanned over your post, saw the raw dollars, and then ignored the rest. :)

In constant dollars tax revenues were basically flat from 1980 to 1984 and only started increasing after that. When you consider that period included a strong economy recovery from a recession - which would have happened regardless of who was president, as Volcker controlled the Fed, not Reagan - tax revenue did not “increase” by any definition but an asinine one. If the economy is expected to grow 7% a year anyway because you’re coming out of the recession, and you cut taxes by 7%, the tax cuts don’t “pay for themselvse” - you’re just hiding the drop in tax revenue behind growth that would have happened anyway.

Formally stated, the claim of Reaganomics was 1) “tax cuts have a one-time bumpe in output that offsets some or all of the initial loss due to people working harder” and 2) “tax cuts increase incentives to innovation so they increase the growth rate.” These are testable and measurable claims.

You’ll have to take my word on this because digging up the studies would take time I don’t have, but:

  1. Analyses show small work responses to tax cuts at the US tax rates then or now. On the specific instance of the early Reagan tax cuts, once you adjust for the expected recession recovery growth rate if Reagan hadn’t changed anything, there was little to no offsetting tax revenue growth. Additionally, note there were offsetting tax increases in 1982, 1984, and 1986.
  2. The long-run growth rate of the economy was basically the same from 1975 to 1995. While “the Reagan tax cuts caused the 1990s tech boom” is a hilarious bit of political theorizing, it’s considered silly by economists.

Jasper- My talking points? Your rambling about the rich taking what they want is discourse on the level of a homeless person screaming at the tollbooth cashier.

Guess you don’t remember that huge deficit, huh?

You don’t know what “revenue” means, do you?

Jakub- I never said Reaganomics was responsible for anything. I was disputing Jasper’s absurd “memories”.

No President has a significant effect on the economy. Any attempt imply otherwise is spin. And the relatively minor changes in income tax rates we are discussing are not where a President’s influence lies.

Well then I’m not going to bother taking your posts seriously. What’s the point? I went back and forth with you, what, three times above just to find out you didn’t even read what I wrote before replying. Whooptie fuck.

shift, you’re the most obtuse person here. Multiple people have thrown numbers at you saying you’re wrong, and all you can muster is a “Yawn.” Why do you even bother posting here? If you haven’t noticed, Republicans have been the party of bigger, bigger, and still bigger government for decades, and spend even more with each successive president. No amount of restrictive phrasing or qualified statements will change that. Try picking a battle you have a chance with next time.

As far as I can see at a quick glance, I’m the only person who posted numbers from the government instead of some unsourced website. Furthermore, my original post was that Bush isn’t following Reaganomics, and I haven’t jumped on with any of the attempts at derailing such as your mini-screed vs Republicans above. Other people have their own mini-threads but I haven’t seen the need to join them.

“Why do I post here” is a question I ask myself sometimes.