NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Rewriting Economic History

June 29, 1999

Persons whose recollections of economic history go further back than those of the President, are taking Clinton to task for his claims that his two Republican predecessors followed "reckless" policies.

Specifically, Clinton has said: "In the 12 years before I took office, reckless fiscal policies quadrupled our debt, bringing us higher interest rates, higher unemployment, higher inflation."

Here are facts which argue otherwise:

  • Under the Reagan presidency, unemployment went from above 7 percent to under 6 percent.
  • In 1980, the yield on the 30-year U.S. bond was 13.91 percent -- which had dropped to 6.69 percent by the time Reagan left office.
  • Inflation dropped from 10.3 percent in 1981 to 4.1 percent by 1989.
  • As for the debt, objective observers would remind the President that Democrats controlled one or both houses of Congress throughout the Reagan presidency -- and consistently spent more than he requested.

Moreover, through tax cuts for individuals and businesses, reduced government regulation, decreased discretionary spending, the appointment of Alan Greenspan to chair the Federal Reserve, and rebuilding the military, Reagan achieved more economic growth, more personal freedom, the fall of Communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Source: Editorial, "The First Revisionist," Investor's Business Daily, June 29, 1999.


Browse more articles on Economic Issues