Yesterday, I noted that we have generally had our strongest periods of economic growth coming out of our deepest recessions, and I compared FDR and Obama in this vein. Another good comparison is a more recent one — between Obama and President Reagan.
According to the Obama administration’s own Bureau of Economic Analysis (see “Percent change from preceding period”), in 1980, when Reagan was elected, real (inflation-adjusted) growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) was minus-0.3 percent. It was also minus-0.3 percent in 2008, when Obama was elected. So the two men inherited similarly terrible economies.
By 1984, as Reagan was running for reelection, real GDP growth was 7.2 percent — a number we haven’t come close to hitting since. (In the subsequent 27 years, we’ve never even hit 5.0 percent.) So far in 2012, as Obama is running for reelection, real GDP growth is 1.9 percent. (In 2011, it was 1.7 percent.)
No wonder the number of states that Reagan won (49) exceeds the percentage of citizens who approve of Obama’s performance (47).