Comparing Reagan and Obama on unemployment

khon

Golden Member
Jun 8, 2010
1,319
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106
We've all heard the argument that Reagan saved the economy when he entered office. It's one of the main reasons he's so idolized by the right these days. Meanwhile we're stuck in a recession right now, and Obama is taking a lot of heat over it, so I thought I'd see how they actually compare when it comes to unemployment.

In order to do this I will look at 3 things:

#1. What the trend was before they entered office
#2. What the situation was when they entered office
#3. How things went after they entered office

First up Reagan:
Unemployment trend in the 6 months before he entered office: Down 0.3% from Jul 1980 to Jan 1981
Unemployment rate when he entered office: 7.5% in Jan 1981
Unemployment trend in the first 18 months after he entered office: Up 2.3% from Jan 1981 to Jul 1982

Now Obama:
Unemployment trend in the 6 months before he entered office: Up 1.9% from Jul 2008 to Jan 2009
Unemployment rate when he entered office: 7.7% in Jan 2009
Unemployment trend in the first 18 months after he entered office: Up 1.8% from Jan 2009 to Jul 2010
Data from:http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet?data_tool=latest_numbers&series_id=LNS14000000

So the numbers are in, Obama inherited a higher unemployment and a much worse trend, yet he's actually done a better job over the first 18 months than Reagan did.

Lets have a look at it graphically:
reaganobama.png


As you can see the unemployment rate was actually falling a bit when Reagan took office, then about 6 months into his 1st term it started rising sharply. Obama on the other hand entered office when the unemployment rate was already exploding, but he's managed to get it stabilized over his first 18 months. So at this point the only possible conclusion if you want to compare the two is that Obama has done a better job. Of course it remains to be seen how things go beyond the 18 month mark.

The benchmarks set by Reagan are these:
Peak: 10.8% in Nov 1982 (22 months in office)
Below 8%: Feb 1984 (37 months in office)
Below 6%: Sep 1987 (80 months in office)

If Obama manages to beat those will he be getting credit for saving the economy like Reagan did ?
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
33,419
7,482
136
Yay for government employees!

Things would look radically different without temporary stimulus and government money to back up these numbers. Wait until the cash cow runs out of cash.
 

ShawnD1

Lifer
May 24, 2003
15,987
2
81
Reagan was one of the worst presidents ever. Saying Obama is better than him isn't saying much. That's like beating a retard in a spelling bee.
 

khon

Golden Member
Jun 8, 2010
1,319
124
106
Yay for government employees!

Things would look radically different without temporary stimulus and government money to back up these numbers. Wait until the cash cow runs out of cash.

In Jan 2009 there were 21.142.000 government employees, now there are are 20.326.000. So there are actually 816.000 fewer government employees now than when Obama took office. In other words your argument is completely false.

You can check the data for yourself if you want, it can be found right here:http://bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab8.htm
 

Svnla

Lifer
Nov 10, 2003
17,999
1,396
126
How much money BO spent on the stimulus vs. RR?

When the stimulus money runs out, state and local entities will have no choice but to cut jobs even more.
 
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dmcowen674

No Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
54,894
47
91
www.alienbabeltech.com
We've all heard the argument that Reagan saved the economy when he entered office. It's one of the main reasons he's so idolized by the right these days. Meanwhile we're stuck in a recession right now, and Obama is taking a lot of heat over it, so I thought I'd see how they actually compare when it comes to unemployment.

In order to do this I will look at 3 things:

#1. What the trend was before they entered office
#2. What the situation was when they entered office
#3. How things went after they entered office

First up Reagan:
Unemployment trend in the 6 months before he entered office: Down 0.3% from Jul 1980 to Jan 1981
Unemployment rate when he entered office: 7.5% in Jan 1981
Unemployment trend in the first 18 months after he entered office: Up 2.3% from Jan 1981 to Jul 1982

Now Obama:
Unemployment trend in the 6 months before he entered office: Up 1.9% from Jul 2008 to Jan 2009
Unemployment rate when he entered office: 7.7% in Jan 2009
Unemployment trend in the first 18 months after he entered office: Up 1.8% from Jan 2009 to Jul 2010
Data from:http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet?data_tool=latest_numbers&series_id=LNS14000000

So the numbers are in, Obama inherited a higher unemployment and a much worse trend, yet he's actually done a better job over the first 18 months than Reagan did.

As you can see the unemployment rate was actually falling a bit when Reagan took office, then about 6 months into his 1st term it started rising sharply. Obama on the other hand entered office when the unemployment rate was already exploding, but he's managed to get it stabilized over his first 18 months. So at this point the only possible conclusion if you want to compare the two is that Obama has done a better job. Of course it remains to be seen how things go beyond the 18 month mark.

The benchmarks set by Reagan are these:
Peak: 10.8% in Nov 1982 (22 months in office)
Below 8%: Feb 1984 (37 months in office)
Below 6%: Sep 1987 (80 months in office)

If Obama manages to beat those will he be getting credit for saving the economy like Reagan did ?

Great post but you would never ever get Republicans to admit this especially the resident rabids.
 

Carmen813

Diamond Member
May 18, 2007
3,189
0
76
Yay for government employees!

Things would look radically different without temporary stimulus and government money to back up these numbers. Wait until the cash cow runs out of cash.

I think you just made a mistake. You see, you've inadvertently admitted the stimulus bill worked by saying that things would be worse without it. You need to go back to partisanship school.
 

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
20,349
5,108
136
Great thread. Based on three criteria Obama is doing a better job than Reagan did 30 years ago. That's the best you've got?
I don't care if your team is the best, I don't care about the stats of your star player. All I want him to do is stop spending money I can't afford to pay back.
 

boomerang

Lifer
Jun 19, 2000
18,890
642
126
All these ridiculous comparisons to this president and that president. Screw that shit. I want performance out of the one we have right now. I don't care who came before him, I don't care what he inherited and I really don't care who's to blame.

Our dear leader is hell bent on social justice. Until the light bulb goes off in that head of his and he's willing to do what's needed to spur job growth in this country, we're going to be stuck in this wretched mess. Biden said that there is "no possibility" of restoring lost jobs. Is this an attitude garnered by design? I believe so.

Everything this administration does is counter to common sense principles in regards to the economic situation and job growth. Yet those with the mindset of adolescents cheer him on with vigor.

We're experiencing the longest period of extended joblessness in history and there is no end in sight. It's not fate, it's not due to the evils of previous presidents or filthy capitalists. It's due to the policies of those in power. A leader and his staff, advisor's and czars with virtually no experience running anything but their mouths. People who have never run a business, never had to make payroll and to top it off are anti-business too.

A great combination if you want to "fundamentally transform America". Transform it into a nation based on a litany of failed social models. We're in deep, deep shit kiddies and we're being force fed shovels to dig us in deeper, not out.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
33,419
7,482
136
I think you just made a mistake. You see, you've inadvertently admitted the stimulus bill worked by saying that things would be worse without it. You need to go back to partisanship school.

Saying it has an effect, does not equate to saying it is a good thing. The exact measurement of unemployment is inconsequential compared to risking a currency crisis.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
33,419
7,482
136
In Jan 2009 there were 21.142.000 government employees, now there are are 20.326.000. So there are actually 816.000 fewer government employees now than when Obama took office. In other words your argument is completely false.

You can check the data for yourself if you want, it can be found right here:http://bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab8.htm

What exactly are you counting, everything including state and local?

The census alone should ensure we've more federal employees than we did before, though it would be fascinating to be proven wrong there given all the spending they're doing.
 

boomerang

Lifer
Jun 19, 2000
18,890
642
126
I seem to recall my dad telling me about something he called "the Great Depression"...
We're in a recession now, not Great Depression II.

Find something more concrete to counter my post with. This finding one word or sentence to attack fits in with the adolescent mindset I spoke of.
 

khon

Golden Member
Jun 8, 2010
1,319
124
106
What exactly are you counting, everything including state and local?

The census alone should ensure we've more federal employees than we did before, though it would be fascinating to be proven wrong there given all the spending they're doing.

It did, but the census is over, so all those temporary workers have been let go.
 

khon

Golden Member
Jun 8, 2010
1,319
124
106
We're in a recession now, not Great Depression II.

Find something more concrete to counter my post with. This finding one word or sentence to attack fits in with the adolescent mindset I spoke of.

Would help if there was something concrete in your post to counter.
 

CallMeJoe

Diamond Member
Jul 30, 2004
6,938
5
81
We're in a recession now, not Great Depression II.
Find something more concrete to counter my post with. This finding one word or sentence to attack fits in with the adolescent mindset I spoke of.
How do I counter the impeccable logic of someone who thinks extended unemployment didn't happen if it was in a "Depression" rather than a "Recession"?
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
3
0
Great thread. Based on three criteria Obama is doing a better job than Reagan did 30 years ago. That's the best you've got?
I don't care if your team is the best, I don't care about the stats of your star player. All I want him to do is stop spending money I can't afford to pay back.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OK Greenman, you don't like deficit spending. What the do you like? Cat got your tongue?
In short you have to stand for something.

But ignoring Obama for a moment, up until Obama, the two biggest deficit spending Presidents in US history were Reagan and GWB. As for Ronald Reagan, he was always born under a lucky star, he got out of office before all that debt he ran up came back and bit the US economy. GWB was not as lucky, his poison bills collapsed the economy before he could slink out of office.

But now maybe its time to talk about GHB, who was Reagan main rival for the GOP nomination in 1980. In the 1980 GOP primaries, GHB called Reganomic's voodoo economic and he was correct. When GHB ran for and got the GOP nomination and then won the general election in 1988, all that Reagan debt bit his Presidency. And because
there was no more money to be borrowed, the economy contracted. But at least GHB and then Clinton did nothing stupid, the economy recovered just in time to see GWB repeat Regan's stupidity on steroids.

But if we want to compare Obama with any President, its got to be Hoover. But when Hoover won the election of 1928, he inherited a decade or so of previous really bad economic policy. And the bottom dropped out just 10 months into his Presidency. If the country had elected a democrat in 1928, its my guess the same thing would have happened, the country had just eaten a decade of poison, and the dosage was fatal.

Unlike Obama, Hoover refused to stimulate the economy, and soon unemployment rose to 25% and stayed there.

If anything Obama inherited a worse economy than Hoover, and the fact that Obama has kept unemployment from going over 11% is an achievement. And much of that deficit was run up by extending the same bail out program started by GWB when Hank Paulson was doing it.

In short, it took a long time to dig ourselves into this hole and its going to take longer to dig ourselves out.
 

ShawnD1

Lifer
May 24, 2003
15,987
2
81
But ignoring Obama for a moment, up until Obama, the two biggest deficit spending Presidents in US history were Reagan and GWB.
Greenman's point is that the smartest of 3 retards is still a retard.


But now maybe its time to talk about GHB
Try to use a different set of letters. GHB is gammahydroxybutyrate, an illegal drug. Bush Senior is George HW Bush (include the W) ;)
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
8
0
Part 1:
Your chart is useless because it ignores the timing of the business cycle which has a greater effect on unemployment than the number of months the president was in office.

When Obama took office the country had already been in recession for a year which is why the unemployment numbers were going up before he took over and during his first 10 months in office.

The Reagan recession though did not start until July of 1981 six months after he took office, which just happens to be the point at which the graph slopes upwards.
 
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ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
8
0
Part 2
If you want a better comparison use a data starting point that is better than 'time in office'

Here are two examples:
Decline in unemployment after it reached its peak.
Obama: unemployment reached its peak in Oct 2009 at 10.1% nine months later it is at 9.5% or .6% lower than peak.

Reagan: unemployment reached its peak in Dec 82 at 10.8% nine months later it was at 9.2% or 1.6% lower than peak.

growth in GDP post recession:
Obama: The official end date for the Bush/Obama recession has not been determined yet, but the last quarter of negative growth was 2nd Q 2009. Since that quarter we have seen growth of 1.5% 5% 3.7% and 2.3%

Reagan: the Reagan recession ended in the 3rd quarter of 1982, which was the last quarter of negative growth. Following that it posted gains of .3% 5% 9% 8%

In both cases you can clearly see that the policies put in place by Reagan to fight the recession were FAR more effective than the policies put in place by Obama.

One year into the Reagan recovery unemployment had already dropped 1.6% and GDP growth was in the midst of 5 consecutive quarters of over 7% growth.

One year into the Obama recovery unemployment is down half a point, but job growth has stalled, and GDP growth has stalled as well.

So clearly Reagan's efforts to fight the recession worked while Obama's have not.