The Corner

Rewriting Reagan

Over at Real Clear Politics, John McIntyre makes some valuable and important points about the budget-hawk attack on President Bush: “There is lot of hyperventilating about the Bush administration’s spending and ‘out of control’ deficits, much of it by folks who praise Reagan yet trash Bush. But the most recent ‘out of control’ Bush deficit at 2.6% of GDP is far below the eight-year Reagan average of 4.2%. This is not meant to disparage Reagan, only to provide perspective. When you look at the numbers on a proportional basis – which is the only way to honestly compare different eras – Bush’s federal spending is not ‘out of control,’ at least in comparison to Ronald Reagan.”

Republicans would do well to remember that their party’s great deficit hawk was not Ronald Reagan, but George Bush the Elder. UPDATE: E-mailers are already pointing out that Dubya has a Republican Congress and hasn’t vetoed spending bills. This is true. It’s also true that deficit hawks in the 1980s said many of the same things about Reagan that people are now saying about Bush.


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