Reagan vs Obama

Topics: Inflation, Unemployment, Monetary policy Pages: 4 (1356 words) Published: December 12, 2012
Before Regan took office in 1981, the state of the United States economy was in dismal shape. The high unemployment of mid 1970’s seemed to be on the way down, but because of an unnaturally low Federal Reserve’s interest rate, inflation was out of control. By the time Reagan got into office, the unemployment rate in the country had increased from a low of 5.8% to 7.6% in 1981. Although the country was experiencing an increasing unemployment rate, the inflation rate was skyrocketing above 14% for multiple months in 1980. The Federal Reserve had to increase interest rates in order to control the value of the dollar, at the cost of millions of jobs. Although the inflation rate decreased from an average of 13.58% in 1980 to 3.22% in 1983, the unemployment rate rose from the higher interest rate from 7.1% in 1980 to 9.7% in 1982. This huge increase in the amount of unemployed naturally caused a sharp decline in Reagan’s approval ratings. In 1984, Reagan’s election year, the economy began crawling back. Unemployment dropped from 9.7% in 1982 to 7.5% in 1984 and American’s began to believe in Reagan’s ability to help the economy thrive. Reagan’s economic success is credited to the tax cuts he enacted. During the 1970’s the federal tax rate for wealthy making over $200,000 a year was at or over 70% for the entire decade. Reagan’s cuts lowered the amount of taxable income from 70% (for the highest earners) to 50% in 1982. This increase in money allowed the wealthy to invest more and hire more workers, leading to the recovery that began in 1984.

Today though, President Obama has been dealing with much different circumstances. Upon entering office during the “Great Recession” he was faced with an exploding unemployment rate, a crashing stock market, as well as a decrease in national GDP. In order to prop up the economy, Obama continued the stimulus packages enacted towards the end of the Bush administration. Instead of the climbing inflation rates that Reagan faced, Obama...
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