Friday, July 03, 2009

Unemployment: What would Ronnie Reagan do?

"The unemployment rate soared to 9.5 percent in June, a 26-year high, and up a fraction from 9.4 percent in May."
So unemployment is the highest it's been in 26 years, huh? Let's see, 2009 minus 26 equals 1983 -- Oh, the Ronnie Reagan Golden Years.

Of course, poor Ronnie had to follow Jimmy Carter and as all wingnuts will tell you, 'inheriting a 10% unemployment rate' is a tough act to follow. I heard Larry Elder say that about Carter on Hardball last night.

Now we have Barack Obama five months after taking office - 13 months deep into the biggest recession since the Great Depression - and unemployment has risen from 7.6% to 9.5%. And, of course, as all wingnuts will tell you, Carter was Reagan's excuse but Obama doesn't have one, it's his fault. After all, five months is clearly long enough to pull out of the 18 month Bush Recession.

But, unfortunately for Mr. Elder and all the other Reagan revisionists, Ronnie did not 'inherit a 10% unemployment rate'. Unemployment was 7.4% when Jimmy Carter left office. I told you fools that 18 months ago.

And Reagan, unlike Obama, didn't inherit a recession either. He caused one, well into his first term, but he didn't start out with one.

If you knew your facts ... if you knew the slightest about recent history, you would never be ignorant enough to blame Jimmy Carter for Reagan's high unemployment.

One year after Reagan took office, unemployment had increased 1.2%, to 8.6%. One year and five months after Reagan took office, in June 1982, it was, 9.6% - higher than it is now. But Reagan wasn't done; unemployment would 'soar' to 10.1% in September 1982, 10.4% in October, 10.8% in both November and December 1982, and didn't go below 10%, until July 1983.

Ten long months of double-digit unemployment, and that was 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years after he took office. You don't hear the Reagan revisionists talk about those times. They want you to believe that Obama is responsible for the current unemployment after a mere five months, but it was still Carter's fault after two years of Reagan. At least those too stupid to know the facts want you to believe it.

So you wingnuts should take it easy on President Obama and show a little patience on unemployment. After all, he has a long way to go to match your hero's record.

You can get those unemployment facts, and what Ronnie Reagan actually did, here.