Reagan's Deficits In Constant 2012 Dollars

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It's difficult to compare raw numbers like deficits from 30 years ago to todays... one has to control for inflation, size of GNP, and the state of the economy. But here's a start. Using on-budget numbers from the US Budget Historical Tables and the on-line COLA Calculator at http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm here are Reagan's annual, first term, and total deficits in constant 2012 dollars. Of course the econony was much smaller then and the Reagan Recession didn't last forever. And while peak unemployment in 1982 was higher than in 2009, Reagan didn't have to deal with collapsed banking and housing sectors, and he had some power to increase taxes.

If someone else wants to adjust for GNP... feel free.
How one adjusts for the state of the economy... who knows. All numbers in billion:
FY OB DEFICIT 2012
81 -73,859 -186,951
82 -120,593 -287,530
83 -207,692 -479,787
84 -185,269 -410,275

85 -221,529 -473,704
86 -237,915 -499,459
87 -168,357 -340,990
88 -192,265 -373,942

TOTAL REAGAN DEFICITS -$3,052,638 = $3.05 trillion

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Pierpont
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But but but... it wasn't Reagan's fault!

"All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives"

http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec7.html

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Reagan is Dead. You might as well Blame Alexander Hamilton.

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Capital.0
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May. 22, 2012 3:21 pm

I would say that the most relevant figure to look at is the deficit as a percentage of gdp.

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WorkerBee
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Tax Freedom Day 1980: April 29

Tax Freedom Day 1988: May 2 (never earlier than May 1 with Reagan.)

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxfreedomday/

(Tax Freedom Day 1979: April 22 - hasn't come earlier since.)

chilidog
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Quote chilidog:

But but but... it wasn't Reagan's fault!

"All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives"

http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec7.html

Not sure where you're going with this. The House is to blame argument SOUNDS logical but really doesn't make sense. For instance... when the GOP took the House in 95, they had no power to reverse Clinton's 1993 tax hike. The Right loves to give the GOP credit for the Clinton Surplus but it was largely revenue from a tax hike they OPPOSED. And even if a tax bill passes the House... which party is to blame? Reagan passed his irresponsible 1981 ERTA tax cut with mostly GOP votes and some Democratic defections just as Clinton passed NAFTA.

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Quote chilidog:

Tax Freedom Day 1980: April 29

Tax Freedom Day 1988: May 2 (never earlier than May 1 with Reagan.)

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxfreedomday/

(Tax Freedom Day 1979: April 22 - hasn't come earlier since.)

The so-called Tax Freedom day is a clever ploy to take some average tax paid... made higher by upper income groups, then imply that lower income workers are working almost 4 months just for the government. It's designed to mislead more than inform.

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Quote WorkerBee:

I would say that the most relevant figure to look at is the deficit as a percentage of gdp.

While these numbers are almost meaningless without some sense of the size of the total economy, we have to remember that in a severe recession... or worst a recession plus a financial sector collapse, the government is the spender of last resort. Government spending goes up just as the GNP is shrinking. When we're looking at Reagan's 8 years, we have a moving target. Do we consider each year's deficit to GNP then average the percentage?

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More to the point, can you account the spending obligated by the recession's causes to those who have to spend it? Paying for the damage done or to cover for an unperforming private sector is not the same as the "discretionary spending" on war and tax cuts at the top that caused the crisis. Obama has flattened the rate of growth in federal government spending. This is a rhetorical victory against the false charges of his wild spending. It is an economic defeat in the face for a much larger and more comprehensive "stimulus" program to get people working doing work we need done.

We need to get the Casino of Wall St. out of our business. We need to welcome venture capital while holding predatory and speculative/casino capitalism to the margins. Private market capital for innovation and real product development ought to flow. Grave robbers or highway robbers, equity LBO agents give money magical powers it does not really have.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Quote drc2:Obama has flattened the rate of growth in federal government spending. This is a rhetorical victory against the false charges of his wild spending.
I think we agree on the need to reign in unproductive speculation... etc. But flattening out the growth in spending doesn't mean much if the original increases were reckless and unjustified. And here lies the debate. As the spender of last resort... the only entity that had the ability to hold the nation together as the private sector imploded, was that spending too much? While I would have preferred a WPA or CETA jobs program to unemployment, and not having to clean up after Bush's idiotic wars, etc etc… I'm not sure where the monumental waste is the Right harps on. Of course they're pissed if any Democratic Prez spends ANY money on things the Right detests. A trillion for a needless an illegal war of aggression in Iraq: fine. Money spent on Detroit and Solendra: a crime.

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Quote Pierpont:
Quote chilidog:

But but but... it wasn't Reagan's fault!

"All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives"

http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec7.html

Not sure where you're going with this. The House is to blame argument SOUNDS logical but really doesn't make sense. For instance... when the GOP took the House in 95, they had no power to reverse Clinton's 1993 tax hike. The Right loves to give the GOP credit for the Clinton Surplus but it was largely revenue from a tax hike they OPPOSED. And even if a tax bill passes the House... which party is to blame? Reagan passed his irresponsible 1981 ERTA tax cut with mostly GOP votes and some Democratic defections just as Clinton passed NAFTA.

It takes three to tango. Every sixth-grader knows this. So it was Reagan's fault and Howard Baker's fault and TIp O'Neill's fault. But ultimately it was the fault of the electorate for voting for these ideas, Which might have been excusable in 1980 but cannot be excusable today based on the outcomes.

chilidog
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Quote Pierpont:
Quote chilidog:

Tax Freedom Day 1980: April 29

Tax Freedom Day 1988: May 2 (never earlier than May 1 with Reagan.)

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxfreedomday/

(Tax Freedom Day 1979: April 22 - hasn't come earlier since.)

The so-called Tax Freedom day is a clever ploy to take some average tax paid... made higher by upper income groups, then imply that lower income workers are working almost 4 months just for the government. It's designed to mislead more than inform.

You're absolutely correct.

And yet, in their attempt to mislead, they make the glaring revelation that we all work more days to pay taxes under conservative governance...

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Democrats always reduce the debt, republicans increase it. Reagan tripled it from 900 billion to 2.8 trillion , Carter shrunk it, Clinton shrunk it. History_of_the_United_States_public_debt Bush and Bush increased it, Bush jr doubled it and put on the books mandatory increases that eventually tripled it from where it was when he took office. Very clever to run up bills that come due after you've left office.US-National-Debt-Per-Capita-Percent-of-GDP-and-by-Presidental-

Because spending has been flat under Obama, the least growth since Hoover, the recovery has been slowed. Had the infrastructure investment been approved, unemployment would be about 5%.

Reagan had job growth of 19 million, Carter had 7 million [4 yrs], Clinton had 21 million, Bush jr had 3 million [8 yrs, mostly gov't], Obama has 4 million and counting [3&1/2 yrs] all private sector jobs. Bush grew gov't, Obama shrunk it, but blame Obama for runaway gov't.

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douglaslee
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Quote Pierpont:

Quote drc2:

Obama has flattened the rate of growth in federal government spending.

flattening out the growth in spending doesn't mean much if the original increases were reckless and unjustified.

reckless and unjustified and voted in favor of by Obama, i.e. TARP.

This claim is not a rhetorical victory, and it is nonsense.

Here's the article:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/22/1093906/-Obama-did-not-go-on-fe...

Here's the original thread:

http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2012/05/next-time-someone-tries-cry-ob...

Misinformation does not help anyone.

chilidog
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Quote chilidog:It takes three to tango. Every sixth-grader knows this. So it was Reagan's fault and Howard Baker's fault and Tip O'Neill's fault. But ultimately it was the fault of the electorate for voting for these ideas, Which might have been excusable in 1980 but cannot be excusable today based on the outcomes.

Not sure any 6th grader even knows what the Tango is. I suspect you're confusing the poor choices our dysfunctional and braindead two party system offers voters, and the trap voters feel that they often can't vote their conscience and get representation. Given how some bad trends were converging during the Carter years, the majority of voters... really only about 28% of the voting age population, took the risk and went with Reagan's Voodoo Economics. The worst case of where the voters do NOT get what they want was in 2000 when the People said NO to Bush's irresponsible tax cuts, Star Wars 2 etc... and this was imposed upon the nation by that antidemocratic abomination called the EC.

But we are losing focus here… trying to compare the Reagan and current deficits, and whether the GOP embraces deficits for their priorities and decries only Democratic deficits. Where were the Balanced Budget GOPers during Bush2?

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Quote chilidog:
Quote Pierpont:

The so-called Tax Freedom day is a clever ploy to take some average tax paid... made higher by upper income groups, then imply that lower income workers are working almost 4 months just for the government. It's designed to mislead more than inform.

You're absolutely correct. And yet, in their attempt to mislead, they make the glaring revelation that we all work more days to pay taxes under conservative governance...

Not following. If TF Day is based on an average which almost no one pays, how can you say then we "all work more days to pay taxes under conservative governance"? In the GOPs war to sabotage the Clinton Surplus, Bush bragged about taking 5 million off the income tax rolls. Combine that with the lowering of taxes on the rich... this shows that TF Day is a statistical illusion. It's like cutting income taxes across the board, then the Orwellian Right claiming the if the rich are paying MORE of the remaining tax pie, therefore they are being soaked by the tax cuts even if they pay less in actual dollars! Yup, the Right has made this claim... and braindead dittoheads eat it up. Of course then what? How do we make the tax code "fair" to the rich? Cut their taxes even more, and retax those the GOP took off the tax rolls… so they "have skin in the game".

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Quote douglaslee:Bush grew gov't, Obama shrunk it, but blame Obama for runaway gov't.

Don't forget... the GOP had a disastrous record under Bush and they did not want to confront the bankruptcy of their own ideas which imploded the economy, created 5 trillion in new debt, sabotaged the tax base, and got us into an illegal war of aggression. They needed to keep their base focused on ANYTHING else... and enraging them that Obama was a Kenyan Socialist seemed the perfect diversion. Problem is, not only didn't the GOP confront their intellectual bankruptcy, their efforts to enrage their base has moved them further off the deep end. Their position now is that if their ideas failed under Bush... it's because they weren't crazed enough.

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Pierpont
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Quote Pierpont:

Quote chilidog:
Quote Pierpont:

The so-called Tax Freedom day is a clever ploy to take some average tax paid... made higher by upper income groups, then imply that lower income workers are working almost 4 months just for the government. It's designed to mislead more than inform.

You're absolutely correct. And yet, in their attempt to mislead, they make the glaring revelation that we all work more days to pay taxes under conservative governance...

Not following.

I'm the only one who sees this. Maybe I have a form of dyslexia that confuses peaks and troughs on a chart. I would think that the party that claims that it's going to get government off our backs and unshackle the might of the free markets would get us to a point where less of our production goes to taxes. More of our production went to taxes in 1988 than it did in 1980, and it has never been as low as 1979.

Is the ultimate measure of success of conservative government to get Tax Freedom Day to December 30?

chilidog
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Quote Pierpont:
Quote WorkerBee:

I would say that the most relevant figure to look at is the deficit as a percentage of gdp.

While these numbers are almost meaningless without some sense of the size of the total economy, we have to remember that in a severe recession... or worst a recession plus a financial sector collapse, the government is the spender of last resort. Government spending goes up just as the GNP is shrinking. When we're looking at Reagan's 8 years, we have a moving target. Do we consider each year's deficit to GNP then average the percentage?

That is a fair point.

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WorkerBee
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Quote chilidog:I'm the only one who sees this. Maybe I have a form of dyslexia that confuses peaks and troughs on a chart. I would think that the party that claims that it's going to get government off our backs and unshackle the might of the free markets would get us to a point where less of our production goes to taxes. More of our production went to taxes in 1988 than it did in 1980, and it has never been as low as 1979.

Is the ultimate measure of success of conservative government to get Tax Freedom Day to December 30?

Like I said, it's a statistical illusion based on a shrinking tax pie. Forget taxes and days. Just look at the average.. whether it goes up or down. Say you have ten people 5 make $10k and 5 make $20k. The average is $15k. If one goes up to $100k the average is now $23. It doesnt change the income (or taxes) of the bottom 9... but the average went up.

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Pierpont
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Feb. 29, 2012 2:19 pm

There's no doubt in my mind that they err on the high side of taxes and the late side of "Tax Freedom Day" to get the reader riled up over how much damned taxes he pays.

Let them explain why it gets later with Republicans and earlier with Democrats.

I've posted this repeatedly and have not yet had a right-wing troll tell me I'm reading it wrong.

chilidog
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Quote chilidog:

There's no doubt in my mind that they err on the high side of taxes and the late side of "Tax Freedom Day" to get the reader riled up over how much damned taxes he pays.

Let them explain why it gets later with Republicans and earlier with Democrats.

I think what's more scandalous than TF Day is that the Right pretends the percentage of the "tax burden" has some relationship to government spending. So if we had a balanced budget and spending stays the same but there a 10% reduction in taxes... which benefit the rich the most. It looks as if they are paying a bigger slice of the tax pie even as they pay less in actual dollars and total revenues now cover only 90% of what's spent. Just what does the "tax burden" mean if we're now borrowing 25% or whatever of all spending.

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Pierpont
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Feb. 29, 2012 2:19 pm

The dates for Tax Freedom Day include paying for the deficit spending at the federal level. However, it does not include paying the increase in state and local bonds which have ballooned in the past 30 years.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

Very clever to run up bills that come due after you've left office.

And even cleverer to obsess over paying them down as a means of getting back into office.

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Laborisgood
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Quote Capital.0:

Reagan is Dead. You might as well Blame Alexander Hamilton.

One of these days, by accident not design, you're utter something true or semi-intelligent. Alas, today is just another day that didn't happen. Reagan may be dead, but his fiscal irresponsibility in the form of his unpaid debt lives on... as does having to pay interest on it.. now as we have for 30 years.

BTW, does anyone stop and think that the BIGGEST waste of money in the budget is INTEREST. During Bush's 8 year Junta, we pissed away some 2.9 TRILLION just on interest and it bought us NOTHING. In one year alone I think it was close to $450 billion. NASA budgets for those years was about $25 billion. And the Right does what? They ignore the debt they went out of their way to create, and instead complain about puny stuff like PBS and NPR.

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Currently Chatting

The GOP war on workers has killed again...

It’s time to stop the conservative's war on working people in America.

Since the birth of our nation, conservatives have always been wary of average working-class Americans having too much political or economic power. John Adams, the second President of the United States and a Federalist (precursor to today’s Republicans), was very wary of the working class, which he referred to as “the rabble.”

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