Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics: It's Reagan in a Rout

This should be a complete embarrassment to the Keynesian (left) wing of economic thought. During the first six post-recession quarters under Reagan, the economy added over 4.1 million private-sector jobs. During Obama's comparable six quarters, that number, subject to future revisions, has been less than 400,000. Even if ADP is right and the economy really added almost 200,000 more jobs than the government estimated in December, Reagan still prevails in a complete wipeout.

Further, Reagan's figures above are somewhat handicapped. Those who believe that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) deserves to have the last word on when recessions begin and end (I don't; I prefer the traditional definition) should note that Reagan's first quarter included two months during which the NBER said we were still in a recession.

What about economic growth? As seen here, growth during Reagan's first five post-recession quarters averaged an annualized 6.2%. Obama's first five quarters? Try 2.9%.

Yes, from 1982 to 1988, the government ran up budget deficits of $1.2 trillion. Putting aside that these deficits occurred largely because Tip O'Neil's Democratic Congresses serially broke promises to rein in spending and partially because of a defense buildup that helped defeat the Evil Empire, at least Reaganomics gave us millions of jobs and robust economic growth in return. In just two years of Obamanomics, we have $3 trillion more in debt, projected budget deficits as far as the eye can see, mediocre growth, and a still-weak job market.

Sadly, it's not just the failed Keynesian stimulus that has held back the economy and employment. Despite the president's positive rhetoric, his administration demonstrates its resistance to steps that would improve the economy and create jobs on a nearly daily basis. A small sample: EPA v. Texas, which the Wall Street Journal has described as a "carbon regulation putsch"; an energy policy deliberately designed "to raise prices by making fossil fuels harder to produce and use"; ObamaCare provisions that have already scuttled plans to build 45 physician-owned hospitals; and an FCC Internet power grab that has "the potential to kill a new industry as well as stifle free speech."

Under Reagan, America was open for business, and the economy boomed. Under Obama, our government is hostile to business -- except, of course, for businesses associated with favored cronies. Our economy seems destined to meander along at a rate barely above stagnation until that changes.