Comments about ‘Letter: Reagan GDP spending higher than Obama's; why the complaining?’

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Published: Sunday, March 10 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

The right wing operates in a media bubble that ignores the facts. How many know (or will admit) that the deficit has actually gone down under Obama? If you tell a lie that is big enough, often enough, a low information public will buy it. That is what Fox News is all about.

Ogden, UT

That's easy to answer, Ronald. President Reagan was a white, somewhat right-leaning, Republican who therefore could do no wrong. President Obama is a black, center-left, Democrat who therefore can do nothing right. If President Obama had been a Republican, even with the same positions and programs he now promotes, the Republicans would have been falling all over themelves to praise him since, being essentially a self-made man, he would be "their type of guy" -- a black man who succeeded by his own work and efforts and therefore worthy for them to promote. I find that hypocritical and sad.

Sandy, UT

So, Roland, you seem to imply that such levels are acceptable and sustainable. You don't really believe that, do you?

Far East USA, SC


Why the outrage now? Because anything and everything that happens under Obama is bad. Your attempt to inject facts into the discussion will fall on deaf ears.

One one hand we hear that Obamas spending is out of control.

The next minute, we hear that all spending and taxing bills must begin in the house.

One thing to note. All spending and taxing has been approved by the GOP controlled house.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

So nice to hear a voice of reason in this forum.

Sandy, UT

SEY from Sandy, the issues are the high and under employment, not paying for two wars and paying retail prices for Medicare part D. It is an economic down turn that we have not seen since the second Reagan recession. Our economy is being run by a Congress that think it is a good business model to make the Post Office pay for 75 years of retirement benefits in a 10yr window. It is a record of Senate fillibusters preventing passed legislation from the pre 2010 House that would have eliminated the tax incentives for business to take them overseas. It goes on and on and you worry about borrowing money to put people back to work, at rates that are the lowest in history. In GWBush's first SOU speech he was talking about paying the debt off but then he got motivation to finish his daddy's war although there was no evidence to do so. These are the things that have raised the debt so high, and we if we are honest, we know who is responsible and it isn't middle class America.

Sandy, UT

Maybe if these corporate loopholes and subsidies would have been good if they translated to good paying jobs and low unemployment but since they haven't then we need to use history and return to rates that will.

Sandy, UT

ugottabkidn: I'm interested in hearing Roland's response to my question. But I'll ask you, too. Are these levels acceptable and sustainable? I have a very good idea of what you will both say, but I think Roland's question is a clever red herring meant to show that Reagan conservatives are every bit the Keynesians that liberals are. He' right, of course, but he also knows this is not a sustainable plan. Both Reagan and Obama implemented fiscal policies that were and are headed for failure. We are worse off because of Reagan, Bush I & II, Clinton and Obama, and so many of their predecessors.

Far East USA, SC

Let me guess SEY. You consider yourself an realist moderate that gets labeled as a liberal.

I find that anyone that even hints that the GOP is also guilty of causing our fiscal ills gets labeled as left wing.

BTW, I completely agree with you

one old man
Ogden, UT

No, SEY, they are not acceptable and sustainable.

But contrary to what many on the right want us to believe, they are not entirely Obama's doing. They go far, far back into history on both sides of the aisle.

However, it has been largely due to GOP stupidity and recalcitrance that nothing is being done to solve the mess. EVERYONE needs to put aside their lockstep hateful ideologies and sit down at the table to seek sensible, workable solutions.

Until politicians on both sides of the fence are willing to do that, nothing good will happen.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To SEY: They are sustainable if we are willing to tax ourselves at a level that funds them. They are unsustainable if we are not.


Because it's only wrong if you're not a republican.

Thinkin\' Man
Rexburg, ID

...Because this spending is on top of a huge deficit!

Sandy, UT

Roland: do you seriously believe that Americans can be taxed at the rate and for the time necessary to get our debt levels under control? What level of taxation and what time period are you suggesting? I say it can't be done and still keep the economy performing with any efficacy.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Thanks, Roland, for the enlightening numbers. Let me add some more. Under Reagan, tax revenues averaged 18.2 percent of GDP. During Obama's first term, government revenues averaged 15.35 percent, largely due to the worst recession since the big one back in the '30s. Over the next four years, projected revenues are actually above Reagan's 18.2 percent, at about 18.65 percent.

The problem with both then and now is that revenues are far short of expenses. Since even Republicans can't figure out a way to cut 16 percent of our government expenses (the shortfall divided by the total) without destroying the economy, we must increase taxes and make them more progressive. The wealthy don't need more investment money. Already the financial sector is far larger than the real economy (as pointed out recently by a Republican commentator). What we need is more money in the hands of the consumer classes, more jobs that pay a living wage, and less financial speculation.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To SEY: If we raised federal taxes to 22.2% of GDP, we would still be on the low end of developed countries. It may not be politically possible to do so, but that's a different matter. Also the important thing is to get our deficit below our long term growth rate. If we have a deficit of 2% of GDP, and a growth rate of 3%, our debt/GDP ration will decline.

That's how we paid down our debt following WWII even though there were deficits most years and the nominal value of the debt kept increasing. We cut our debt from 120% of GDP down to around 40% in a period of about 35 years. It wasn't until the Republican party became the party of all tax cuts, all the time, that our debt/GDP ratio began climbing.

Getting it back to 40% over 35 years would be a good goal, although it doesn't make for a catchy bumper sticker.

Murray, UT

Truth, that is the issue.

Falsehood #1
People who don't like Obama's policies are racists. A favorite lie.

Truth: People who don't like Obama's policies are not automatically racists nor are they automatically white, rich, republican, Christian, or from any particular region of the country. Those who call them racists are the ones who are bigots, assuming a whole set of characteristics based on one known characteristic.

Falsehood #2
The numbers Mr Kayser from Murray and Cottonwood Heights, or where ever he is really from, need a source. I find completely different numbers when I search federal government spending as a percent of GDP. Reagan's 22.4% okay, but Obama's rate is 24.5% average. (Numbers from Whitehouse government website, but other sites I looked at concur) Nice try on the compare one made up number for Obama to documented average of Reagan, but it only fools liberals. No where could I find the percent of GDP Mr. Kayser is claiming, but then I didn't check MSNBC, nor do I look at projections.

Truth matters. It is in short supply when it comes from this president, and his devoted followers.

Now resume your hate party.

4word thinker
Murray, UT


Somehow I think that when you say ...if we are willing to tax ourselves at a level that funds them.", you don't mean tax YOURSELF, you mean tax others.

We would have to raise taxes 35% on EVERYONE to get enough money coming in to balance what is being spent. Yes you can weight it heavier on the wealthier people, but not even they have enough to pay it all, and that is only for income tax. All other federal taxes would have to up that much too. Payroll tax up to 8.3% for employer and employee. Self employment up to 21%, with income tax on top of that. Park fees, gas tax, phone tax, all up 35%. Every source of federal income must go up to achieve balance at the current level of spending, which means everyone's taxes must go up.

Let's write a ballot measure for ALL federal taxes to go up 35% and put it to a popular vote and see how it does. But we have to make sure Obamaphone folks know they have to pay it on their phones too.

the truth
Holladay, UT

So, extreme left,

are we to believe the Democrats never spend?

BTW, Reagan was working with a democrat congress, who controlled ALL the spending. Maybe we should thank Reagan for slowing it as much as he could.

The fact is the liberals and progressives of both parties love spending. (that was problem with bush)

And there is certainly has been no stopping of spending under Obama (especially when democrats controlled everything), he just wants to tax us all to death to do it, (first he target the rich and corporations for popularity, then he will get everyone else) and even then he still just spends even more and more.

But hey, if it happened under Reagan it must be okay, ain't that right lefties?

Portland, OR

I, for one, would like to see proof of 'the truth's claim "liberals love spending." President Obama's spending has, in fact, been the lowest in decades. Among the last six presidents, only Clinton spent less. The only large ticket item in Obama's administration was the Recovery Act, which was needed to prevent a second Great Depression. It is the fifth most expensive program in modern history. George W. Bush's tax cuts were more expensive.

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