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Oregon Senator Doug Whitsett, R., District 28, 9/4/12

Obama and Reagan had different approaches to recessions

The American economy was in deep recession when both Ronald Reagan and Barrack Obama were first elected president. Unemployment was in double digits and family wealth was eroding away. Working families were deeply concerned that our middle class way of life was coming to an end. We worried that the United States had seen its best days and that our children would never experience the America that we knew and loved.

The two newly elected presidents chose virtually diametrically opposite approaches to addressing the formidable economic challenges. The outcomes achieved by their administrationsí efforts have also been quite different.

President Reagan had great faith in the self-sufficiency and indomitable spirit of the American people. He trusted that the unfettered American free market economy would lead America back to its rightful place as the leader of the free world. Reagan understood that both personal and national economic growth and prosperity depends upon the incentives and the rewards inherent in that competitive free market system.

Mr. Obama appears to believe in personal dependency on governments. He seemingly has confidence in the ability of governments to provide for all of the peoplesí needs. Mr. Obama appears to have full faith that personal and national economic growth and prosperity depends upon directives and mandates enforced by government chosen policies.

President Reagan worked hard to lower taxes, fees and charges. His efforts were focused on reducing or eliminating unneeded government regulations and to slow the growth, cost and overall intrusiveness of the federal government. His supply side economics trusted the private sector to grow the government revenue needed for essential programs.

Mr. Obama has consistently endeavored to increase existing tax rates as well as to develop numerous new forms of taxation. His administration has created tens of thousands of new regulations that have served to grow the size, cost and intrusiveness of the federal government. He has directed government agencies to intervene and give direction on how businesses will be allowed to operate. He has trusted the manipulation of currency and money supply to grow the federal revenue and has borrowed trillions of dollars to fund his myriad programs.

So how have the two disparate approaches worked out?

Near the end of President Reaganís first term, the U.S economy had created seven million eight hundred thousand more jobs than when the recession began. More than three hundred fifty thousand fewer Americans were drawing unemployment insurance benefits, a reduction of nearly twelve percent. Near the end of Mr. Obamaís first term the U.S. economy has lost four million jobs. More than five hundred thousand more Americans are drawing unemployment benefits, an increase of nearly twenty percent.

Near the end of President Reaganís first term, American median household income had increased by 7.7 percent, adding nearly three thousand four hundred dollars per year to family earnings. Median household income has fallen 7.3 percent since Mr. Obamaí inauguration, losing nearly four thousand dollars per year.

The trajectory of American household income is even more troubling. In December 2007, median household income stood at nearly fifty five thousand dollars. At the nominal end of the recession in July 2009, median household had fallen to about fifty three and a half thousand dollars, a decrease of about fifteen hundred dollars per year. In June 2012 median household income had fallen to a little less than fifty one thousand dollars, a further decrease of about twenty five hundred dollars per year. American households have lost nearly twice as much earning power since the end of the recession as they lost during the recession.

Measured a different way, near the end of President Reaganís first term American gross domestic product had increased about three thousand one hundred dollars per capita while near the end of Mr. Obamaís first term gross domestic product has fallen by more than eight hundred dollars per capita.

During the first term of President Reaganís administration the number of Americans shifting from government dependency to self-sufficiency increased sharply. During Mr. Obamaís first term the number of Americans shifting from self-sufficiency to government dependency has increased nearly exponentially.

During Reaganís first term three million people stopped using food stamps representing a decrease of about fourteen percent. Under Obamaís administration, twenty million more Americans are using food stamps. The forty six million Americans currently depending on food stamps represent an astounding seventy one percent increase from the twenty six million people on food stamps when Obama took office.

Under the Reagan administration forty two thousand Americans stopped using federal assistance to needy families, a decrease of one percent. Under Obama four hundred sixty seven thousand more Americans are using Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, a twelve percent increase.

During President Reaganís first term five hundred thirty five thousand people signed up for Medicaid benefits, an increase of about two and a half percent. During Mr. Obamaís first term eleven million people have signed up for Medicaid, nearly a twenty percent increase.
During Reaganís first four years more than six hundred fifty thousand people stopped taking disability benefits and went back to work. More than two hundred forty six thousand Americans have newly qualified for disability benefits during just the last three months of the Obama administration. In fact, during those three months, significantly more people have qualified for disability benefits than have been able to find a job.

Perhaps the most troubling statistic of all is that more than forty seven percent of all American households will receive a monthly check from the federal government this year. In 1980 government transfers to individuals totaled about four hundred billion dollars corrected for inflation. In 2010 that figure had ballooned to more than two trillion two hundred billion dollars. These payments represent more than seven thousand two hundred dollars for every man, woman and child in the United States, or nearly thirty thousand dollars per family of four each year.
Today, the United States middle class makes up the smallest part of our population in over seventy years.

We appear to have a clear choice to make on November 7th. On the one hand we can vote to continue growing our federal government to control all aspects of our lives and to depend on that government for our sustenance. On the other hand, we can vote to take control of our government, reclaim our freedoms, and return to the free market economy that has sustained us for more than two centuries.

In my opinion, this November election may be the last time that voters are afforded that clear choice.

Please remember, if we do not stand up for rural Oregon, no one will.

Best regards,

Doug


 

You can contact us at:
23131 North Poe Valley Road
Klamath Falls, OR 97603
541-882-1315
doug@dougwhitsett.com

 

 

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              Page Updated: Wednesday September 05, 2012 02:36 AM  Pacific


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