Posted on August 19 2012 – 4:00 PM – Posted by: Doug Brady
Recall that when Reagan’s hand went up to take the oath of office in January 1981, liberal economics had, by the end of 1980, produced:
- An inflation rate of 13.58%
- An unemployment rate of 7.4% that was climbing steadily on the way up to 9.6%
- A prime interest rate of 21.50% — an all time high.
Reagan’s answer to this mess — as is Paul Ryan’s today — was a combination of tax cuts and budget cuts along with regulatory reform. His critics instantly derided this as “Reaganomics.”
And as today with Ryan and his “Path to Prosperity” — aka “The Ryan Budget” — the leftists in Congress and the media were merciless in savaging Reagan and his “Reaganomics.”
What did they say?
Steven F. Hayward has detailed the response to Reagan in his superb book (one of two) The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution 1980-1989.
In the lead was Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, a Massachusetts Democrat who described himself as “an old-hat FDR Democrat.” O’Neill made no pretense where he was coming from, saying: “I’ve been one of the big spenders of all time; it’s true, I am a big spender.” At one point, says Hayward, O’Neill boasted that he had gone out of his way to spend government money on a project to make dwarfs six inches taller.