Here is Dan’s reply to his conservative friend’s utter nonsense: (I have not edited it in any way.)
“The problems we inherited were far worse than most inside and out of government had expected; the recession was deeper than most inside and out of government had predicted. Curing those problems has taken more time and a higher toll than any of us wanted.” – SOTU speech, 1983
Not that Obama doesn’t own responsibility for some things but inheriting 2 unfunded wars, an unfunded Medicare expansion program, the lowest tax revenues in decades, an unemployment rate fast approaching 10%, and an economy that was hours away from a repeat of 1929 is not nothing.
I honestly believe that the reason why people say things like, “The Obama stimulus did not work” is because these people refuse to believe how close to actual economic meltdown we came in 2009. Were it not for this and the second round of bailouts (don’t get me wrong; I hate the idea of giving out money to banks who gambled poorly and lied about the risks. It was a necessary evil) we may well have been pushing around shopping carts full of dollar bills that couldn’t buy a goddamn load of bread. “Reckless” doesn’t even begin to describe the financial policies under GWB.
It also kills me when people decry Obama as some sort of commie for looking to set top marginal tax rates to rates FAR LOWER than they were under Reagan. The same people often try to paint Reagan (or “Saint Ronnie”, as I call him) as some sort of small government “deficit hawk”. This is utter nonsense. By 1989, debt under Reagan was double what is was when he took office (and nearly triple by the time Clinton was inaugurated). Reagan did so some good things for the economy – but these had their own hidden costs also. Reagan fought recession by increasing government spending. Rather than the dreaded “tax and spend”, he implemented “borrow and spend” – the model that is continuing to kill us today. Bush II, of course, took this to the absolute extreme; spending record amounts of money, none of which was offset by revenue increases. But, hey, all the rich people got big tax refunds … kept them happy. SUVs, mini-mansions, Chinese toasters from WalMart… Fiddling while Rome burns.
Yes, at least Reagan had the sense to eventually reverse most of the reckless and damaging tax cuts enacted in his first term (even though he never admitted they were a bad idea). Reagan knew that his number-fudging and Laffer Curve were bullshit (anyone remember Black Monday?). I am sure GWB thought his own admin was doing a “heckuva job” and I am sure he still does.
And what of what Carter inherited? In the famous words of LBJ, Ford’s economic policy was the worst thing to happen “since pantyhose ruined finger-fucking.”