A 9.5% unemployment is not good, but it is better than what it was under Reagan in the second year of his first term, when he was still blaming President Carter for the deep recession the US was in.
One other thing. Mr. Reagan's approval ratings were in the low 40s. And yet he went on to a second term.
"Ronald Reagan's approval rating was at 42 percent heading into his first midterm. In October 1982, the jobless rate moved from 9.8 to 10.1 percent. It was the highest rate since 1940. Reagan's recession, like today, was the worst downturn since the Great Depression. And this is a key reason comparisons between the two cycles have proven irresistible for many analysts.
That October 1982, the Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 57 percent of the voters said the country was on the "wrong track" (roughly equivalent to today's RCP "wrong track" average). Democrats began predicting 30 to 40-seat gains in the House. But Republican losses in the House were limited to 28 seats and the GOP retained its Senate majority."--SOURCE
It's a bit early for the GOP to be crowing about anything, because Mr. Reagan proved that bad economic times can turn around. Mr. Reagan also saw gains in Congress by the Democrats, which is normal, and will probably happen in November--the Republicans will gain seats in the House and Senate.
But the polls continue to show that even though Mr. Obama's numbers are down a bit [latest 48% approval +/- 3%--so he's about at 50% approval], he is head and shoulders above the public's opinion of the Congressional Democrats and far above Congressional Republicans, who are almosts at rock bottom in the opinion polls.
Now on to this piece I read on how President Reagan got us to where we are today:
"It has been over a year now since "The Great Recession" officially began, and yet even a basic understanding of the real causes of America's economic problems has still not emerged in the public. Indeed new movements have emerged touting as solutions to our current economic problems many of the very policy ideas that are actually the causes of our current economic problems. The rallying cry of conservatives across America has been a "return to the policies of Reagan!" The claim of many American conservatives has been that Ronald Reagan faced similar economic conditions when he was elected, and he was able to turn the economy around, so we need to return to the principles he used to reinvigorate the American economy.
The reality is that the economic policies of the "Reagan Revolution" have been in effect for the past three decades, and it is these very policies that have caused the economic situation that America finds itself in today.
During his first presidential campaign Ronald Reagan campaigned against government spending, he campaigned on reducing the national debt, he campaigned for individual responsibility, and he campaigned for broader American capital ownership.
The effects of his policies, however, had all of the exact opposite effects, and yet amazingly even today the vast majority of all Americans, especially conservatives, still believe Reagan's rhetoric and not the real effects of his policies.
In 1980 Reagan campaigned against what he called "out of control" deficit spending by the federal government. He identified the source of this "out of control" spending largely as social welfare programs. Shortly after taking office in 1981 Reagan gave a televised speech to the country in which he stated:
'By 1960 our national debt stood at $284 billion. Congress in 1971 decided to put a ceiling of 400 billion on our ability to borrow. Today the debt is 934 billion. ...
Here you see two trend lines. The bottom line shows the increase in tax revenues. The red line on top is the increase in government spending. Both lines turn upward, reflecting the giant tax increase already built into the system for this year 1981, and the increases in spending built into the '81 and '82 budgets and on into the future. As you can see, the spending line rises at a steeper slant than the revenue line. And that gap between those lines illustrates the increasing deficits we've been running, including this year's $80 billion deficit. Now, in the second chart, the lines represent the positive effects when Congress accepts our economic program. Both lines continue to rise, allowing for necessary growth, but the gap narrows as spending cuts continue over the next few years until finally the two lines come together, meaning a balanced budget. I am confident that my administration can achieve that. At that point tax revenues, in spite of rate reductions, will be increasing faster than spending, which means we can look forward to further reductions in the tax rates....
Our aim is to increase our national wealth so all will have more, not just redistribute what we already have which is just a sharing of scarcity. We can begin to reward hard work and risk-taking, by forcing this Government to live within its means. Over the years we've let negative economic forces run out of control. We stalled the judgment day, but we no longer have that luxury. We're out of time. ...
We can leave our children with an unrepayable massive debt and a shattered economy, or we can leave them liberty in a land where every individual has the opportunity to be whatever God intended us to be. All it takes is a little common sense and recognition of our own ability. Together we can forge a new beginning for America.'--Ronald Reagan: Address to the Nation on the Economy, Feb. 5, 1981
The irony of this speech is that the national debt was not out of control at all in 1981, in fact the national debt was at the lowest point it has ever been since World War II in 1980. In the speech Reagan cited national debt figures in raw dollar amounts, unadjusted for inflation and not tied to GDP. Those figures are essentially worthless and no economist would ever use them as a measure of the national debt. But presenting the national debt as a problem was a means of justifying significant cuts in domestic spending, which he framed as "redistribution".
CONTINUE READING HERE.