by Michael Reagan
If President Obama really wants to get the U.S. economy going again, he could do worse than to study the results of my Dad’s 1981 Economic Recovery Act, which boosted the economy by leaps and bounds.
Take the matter of jobs, for example. Thanks to the 1981 act, an astounding 20 million new jobs were created. Moreover, inflation dropped from 13.5 percent in 1980 to a mere 4.1 percent by 1988, and unemployment fell from 7.6 percent to 5.5 percent.
Moreover, the net worth of families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 annually grew by 27 percent. At the same time, the real gross national product jumped by 26 percent and the prime interest rate was slashed by half — from 21.5 percent in January 1981 to 10 percent in August 1988.
The amount of individual tax revenues rose from $244 billion in 1980 to $446 billion in 1989. Moreover, total tax revenues jumped grew by almost 100 percent, rising by 99.4 percent during the 1980s. The act produced 92 months of healthy economic growth — the longest period of peacetime growth in the post-WWII period.
Under my dad, marginal tax rates were cut from a top rate of 70 percent to a mere 28 percent, while revenues to the U.S. government from all taxes nearly doubled — increasing from roughly $500 billion to an astronomical $1.1 trillion in 1990.
Such stellar economic growth was the result of my dad’s economic policies, which were rooted in his belief in the ability of the American people to make the right decisions concerning their nation’s economic activity. Contrast that with the Obama administration’s quasi-Marxist policies, which seek to make Washington the center of the nation’s economic activity.
This results in aberrations, such as non-elected government boards seeking to dictate to corporations and business where they can and cannot locate their various operations, as we’ve seen in the case of Seattle-based Boeing’s decision to open a plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. Incredibly, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is trying to block that move, claiming that it is based solely on the status of that state as a right-to-work state, putting the government in league with Big Labor, which hates giving workers their rights to work as they see fit and wants to prevent the move.
Ronald Reagan would have been appalled by that outrage. When faced with a similar attempt by a labor union to twist the rules governing the behavior of air traffic controllers, my dad simply fired and replaced them. He would have defied any attempt to prevent a company from moving some of their operations to a new location because a labor union opposed the move on the grounds that it freed employees from the grip of Big Labor bosses.
The Obama administration has displayed outright hostility toward Boeing, using the NLRB to harass the company as it attempts to operate free of government interference. Too bad my dad isn’t around to curb the power of an out-of-control government agency slavishly bowing to the dictates of a powerful labor union, and not the workers it pretends to represent.