Big Fat Giant Disclaimer #1:

While I realize there will be many who will question what the political slant is here, I assure you there are absolutely zero motivations along those lines!

For one, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a registered independent, and I have zero affiliation with or interest in defending a particular person or party.

This article simply goes in the, “Boomer finds these snippets of information interesting,” basket.

Big Fat Giant Disclaimer #2:

As with all issues dealing with money and the economy, the discussions on each of these points is of course much larger than simple statistics – that said, these simple statistics aren’t intended to paint a full picture of any particular year or situation. They’re simply just snippets that Obama and Reagan have in common that I found interesting.

  • 1

    Federal Debt Increased

    Federal debt increased under both administrations. According to, the debt rose from about $997 Billion in 1981 to about $2.9 Trillion in 1989, an increase of about 290%.

    Debt was approximately $12 Trillion in 2009, and $18 Trillion in 2014 (and growing).

  • 2

    Early Unemployment Rates

    Both in office during recessions, Obama and Reagan served as president with 10% unemployment early in their presidencies.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment reached as high as 10% under Obama in 2009, less than a year into his presidency, and 10.8% under Reagan, less than 2 years into his presidency.

  • 3

    Overall Economic Growth

    Both experienced overall economic growth after the recession.

    Looking at GDP from the beginnings to ends of each presidency, according to an article on Forbes, the post-recession economy under Reagan, adjusted for inflation, grew 32%. Under Obama, as of 2014 it grew 9.6%.

    The discussion on the “why” behind these numbers does seem huge, as another article in Forbes points out, calling the Obama and Reagan economies “an apples and oranges comparison” because of differing economic landscapes when both took office.

  • 4

    Annual GDP Growth Rates

    Both saw annual GDP rates grow every year except one (at least so far for Obama... 2015 & 16 still to come). According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis via, 1982 for Reagan with -1.9%, and 2009 for Obama with -2.8%.

    The average growth rate for Reagan was 3.5% from 1981 to 1988, whereas the average for the Obama years so far is 2.3%.

  • 5

    Federal Spending Deficits

    Both had Federal spending deficits every year. Reagan started with a $179 Billion deficit in 1981 with some ebbs and flows along the way, ending with a $251 Billion deficit.

    Obama started with a $1.4 Trillion deficit in 2009 in ended with a $447 Billion deficit in 2014. estimates it’ll be near this amount at the end of 2016.

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