The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Ronald Reagan was a better President than Barack Obama

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/24/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,500 times Debate No: 76902
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (24)
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In this debate, I will argue that President Ronald Reagan was better than President Barack Obama in terms of policy. No trolling or semantics.


Round 1: Acceptance only
Round 2: Opening arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals/refutations
Round 4: Defend arguments
Round 5: Final rebuttals/defenses + conclusion

Failure to follow structure will result in automatic DQ. First user to forfeit gets a DQ. If one user cannot debate the other, then this must be discussed between the two for an agreement and both must confirm in debate rounds to end in a tie.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I want to thank my opponent for joining me for a thrilling debate. I have decided to divide my case into two main parts. One is economic policy and the other is foreign policy. To me, these two policies mean the most when comparing Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. I want it to be remembered that my case is to prove that President Reagan was better, in terms of public policy, than President Obama. Here we go!

Ronald Reagan

I. Economic Policy

Reagan's economic policy when he came into office was a supply-side strategy for the economy as promoted by economists like Arthur Laffer. Reagan believed that there needed to be large tax reductions to help the economy grow. At the same time, the growth of the government in domestic spending needed to be limited. A restrictive monetary policy would be used to stabilize the dollar and stop inflation. When this occured the economy was supposed to boom, which it did succesfully. It is important to understand how the tax cuts were implemented, as Dr. Laffer explains here:

"Looking at the cumulative effects of the ERTA in terms of tax (calendar) years, the tax cut reduced tax rates by 1.25 percent through the entirety of 1981, 10 percent through 1982, 20 percent through 1983, and the full 25 percent through 1984."

It was one of the greatest economic booms in our nation's history. Real GDP growth from 1981 to 1989 was 3.61 percent. Since Kennedy/Johnson, the industrial productivity of the nation had been declining and by the time of the Jimmy Carter years it was 0.6 percent. Reagan shattered that industrial decline with his pro-growth plan. Industrial productivity increased to 1.5 percent during his presidency. There was 92 months of economic expansion during the Reagan/Bush years. [2,3]

Obviously this meant more money in the hands of the American people. Median household income increased by $4,000 during the Reagan years, a stark reversal from the $1,500 decline during the Carter years. Nearly 17 million jobs were created in the United States. [3]

II. Foreign Policy

It's hard for anyone to understand why Reagan's foreign policy was bad, because it was one of the best doctrines to ever exist. It brought and peaceful and glorious victory to the end of the Cold War as the Soviet Union fell apart. It all thanks to more money for defense spending, which rocketed upwards for American freedom! He had three strategies:

1. Military Strategy - When President Reagan entered office, military morale was low and so was the pay. President Carter had cut a lot of programs in the military. Under the Reagan Administration, military spending skyrocketed in the crusade against communism. This included the famous SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) programs and several over and covert missions to aid anti-communists guerrilla forces in Central America, South America, Africa, and Afghanistan.

2. Economic Strategy - Yes, Reaganomics helped win the Cold War. The recovering economy helped President Reagan's military buildup. The free market capitalist United States was too much for the USSR which had an its inefficient command-directed communist economic system.

3. Political Strategy - Politics played a role to in defeating the reds. With a strong ally in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Reagan launched a global political form of blitzkrieg on the USSR and other communist political leaders. The reds had seriously underestimated the American president and saw him as a "warmonger".

Together, these strategies defeated the USSR and by January 1989 when President Reagan left office the USSR was in great trouble. In 1991, the USSR would collapse. Soviet Head of State Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of perestroika (re-structuring) and glasnost (openness) proved too little, too late in order to preserve communism and the USSR. Gorbachev told the History Channel in 2002, "I don't know what would have happened had [Reagan] not been there." [4,5]

Barack Obama

I. Economic Policy

This has been one of the worst economic recoveries in recent history, especially when compared to the recovery of Ronald Reagan. Obama's stimulus plan was a total disaster that failed to spark large economic growth. It has also injected more taxes on the wealthy with the expiring of the Bush tax cuts. During the Reagan years 16.1 million jobs were gained to the U.S. economy. Now to be fair to Obama, who hasn't finished his presidency, we need to scale back to Reagan's first six years in office and compare that with Obama's first six years. We can easily do that by looking at this graph:

At no point in history has Obama's job record exceeded Reagan's jobs record. Time is running out Obama and he will obviously not catch up to the economic superiority of the Reagan years. I can see fifty years from now people talking about how badly Obama's presideny was economically. This is especially true when you look at median household income:

"The income of the median U.S. household was $51,900 in 2013, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. That’s essentially unchanged from 2012, after adjusting for inflation, and is 8 percent lower than in 2007, before the recession began. Median income hasn’t shown a statistically significant increase since the recession ended in 2009." [6]

What about real GDP growth? Going back to the statistics, real GDP grew by 2.21 percent from 2009 to 2014. When looking at Reagan from 1981 to 1986, real GDP grew by 3.50 percent. Clearly the Reagan economic record is much better than the Obama economic record. [2]

Kahn further writes about the disaster of tax increases:

"The current administration has ignored historical evidence that high tax rates on saving and investment over time erode the growth of productive capital, leading to lower economic growth and job creation. It also has stubbornly relied on outdated Keynesian economic models. Hence it continues in a fantasy that higher tax rates on upper-income earners will generate significant revenue. The job hopes of many are too important to be nailed to the cross of this economic ideology." [7]

High tax rates never work. We paying the price right now.

II. Foreign Policy

Obama's main opponents, ISIS, are far weaker than the mighty Soviet Union, yet Obama does little. We have no real strategy against ISIS. It's a disaster:

"The Obama administration and the Pentagon have counseled patience. Losing Ramadi was a “setback,” the White House said, and not one worth setting our “hair on fire,” according to spokesman Josh Earnest. Washington says it will ramp up the pace of training Iraqi troops—training, critics note, that’s been going on for years in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion.

But interviews with military and political officials and analysts in Iraq—both Iraqi and foreign—paint a darker picture. The grim fact confronting the administration and its international partners is that the degrade and destroy campaign, as currently constituted, is failing. And there are “really no good options going forward,” as it struggles with how to counter ISIS, says Sajad Jiyad, Iraq analyst and senior researcher at the Al-Bayan Center for Studies and Planning in Baghdad." [8]

With his lack of stepping up, the entire world is in a very dangerous position. In comparison, Reagan left America in a perfectly safe position, but while the United States stands and does nothing ISIS wins the war:

"The U.S. campaign in Iraq since 2014 has been a study in too little, too late half-measures that do not actually save American resources in the long term. Instead, Washington just ends up needing to deepen its investment anyway – only, each time its allies trust it a little less, thousands more Iraqis have died, and irreplaceable communities and cultural artifacts have been lost forever.

Time is decidedly not on the side of the United States. As then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told me in March 2014, the Iraqi government had been requesting U.S. airstrikes and Special Forces assistance against the Islamic State since the end of 2013. The U.S. unwillingness to act then did not save it anything: Its Iraqi ally collapsed, and now it has been forced into another military campaign." [9]

Concluding, Obama's presidency has been far worse than Reagan's presidency.


1. Laffer, Arthur. "The Laffer Curve: Past, Present, and Future." The Heritage Foundation, 1 June 2004. Web.
2. Willamson, Samuel H. "Annualized Growth Rate and Graphs of Various Historical Economic Series," MeasuringWorth, 2014.
3. Niskanen, William, and Stephen Moore. "Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 261: Supply-Side Tax Cuts and the Truth about the Reagan Economic Record." (n.d.): n. pag. Cato Institute, 22 Oct. 1996. Web.
4. Gaffney, Dennis and Peter Gaffney. The Seven Day-Scholar: The Presidents. 2012.
5. Morelock, Jerry D. "Ronald Reagan's Cold War." Armchair General IX.5 (2012): 18-19.
6. Casselman, Ben. "Five Years Of Recovery Haven't Boosted The Median Household Income." DataLab. ESPN, 16 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 June 2015.
7. Rahn, Richard W. "Tax Cuts and Revenue: What We Learned in the 1980s."WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, 25 Sept. 2010. Web. 24 June 2015.
8. Powell, Bill. "Is ISIS Winning?" Newsweek. Newsweek LLC, 02 June 2015. Web. 24 June 2015.
9. Knights, Michael. "Doubling Down on a Doubtful Strategy." Foreign Policy. Grahams Holding Company, 05 June 2015. Web. 24 June 2015.


As per the rules, I will not address Pro’s case this round and will just introduce my arguments.


To win this debate, I do not need to prove Barack Obama is a better president than Ronald Reagan was. I just have to prove that Reagan was not better than Obama.

C1-Reagan’s Growth vs. Obama’s Growth

As is well known, the economy suffered in the early years of the Reagan administration, only to see strong growth for the rest of it. Many say the growth was due to supply side economics; however, I’m going to prove it was primarily due to the actions of the Federal Reserve and high government spending during the Reagan administrations. I will also show why growth under Obama is due to similar purposes, but why he is a more fiscally responsible president.

As can be seen, one thing that cannot be denied is that both presidents saw a net unemployment rate drop from when they entered office.

As can be noted Reagan saw unemployment rate spike up early in his administration. This was not because of him, but due to the actions of the Federal Reserve. Inflation grew rapidly in the 70s’ and the Fed did what they could to drop the inflation rate. They were successful in doing so, but it led to really high interest rates. (2)

With higher interest rates, it’s harder to see economic growth, so it led to a recession. However, once the Fed dropped the interest rates, unemployment began to drop again. In the May of 1987 the unemployment rate was at 6.3%. (1) That means it had dropped 1.2% since Reagan entered office. Some may say the reason the unemployment rate dropped so much was because of Supply Side Economics. Reagan did cut income taxes; however, he eliminated many tax breaks, introduced the largest peacetime tax increase (TEFRA), and increased taxes on Social Security, gasoline, capital gains, among other things. (3, 4) Overall, federal tax receipts under his presidency were 18.2% of GDP, barely any different than under the previous administration and were 24.7% of the national income by the end of his presidency (barley lower from the 25.1% it had been at). (3-4) One thing that also went against SSE rhetoric, was he dramatically increased spending. The most notable spending increase was on the huge military buildup, but he also increased spending in many other areas such as in the Department of Education & Energy. (3) Overall, he ran a larger deficit than the previous administrations for most of his presidency. (5)

Obama has also seen a greater increase is in the stock market. Examining this chart: (10)

We can see although both have seen a greater increase in the stock market under their administrations, Obama has seen much better increases. Growth in the stock market can lead to long term growth.

Overall, we can see that Obama’s policies took a country suffering from the worst economic state since the Great Depression and brought it back to its feet. Meanwhile, Reagan, although did stimulate the economy had a lot of his growth result from the Federal Reserve and ran large deficits throughout most of his presidency. Plus, Obama has seen the stock market improve much more than Reagan. Both presidents saw better growth, however, it is clear that Obama had to have more responsibility due to the Great Recession and managed to cut deficits too. Therefore, Obama is a better president economically than Reagan.

Everything posted after this is rushed. These points will be stronger when I respond to Pro's responses.


Obama has managed to introduce historical legislation which Reagan never did. Obama introduced a healthcare legislation, more similar to those in other developed nations such as Canada & many European nations. It has also overall been a success too, as it has increased the health insurance for millions of Americans, which saves lives, money, and can act as less of a burden on businesses. (11) Plus it has found to be even cheaper than originally expected and has not prevented the deficit from dropping. (11)

C3-Foreign Policy:

May things here can be addressed next round when I rebut Pro’s arguments, as most of Reagan’s actions have had to do with the Cold War, so I’ll just bring up a few points.

Reagan funded and supplied chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, who later became an American enemy, to invade Iran and start the Iran-Iraq War. (12-13) This among other things was a major blow to American-Iranian relations which are just starting to improve under President Obama. (14)

Reagan also funded the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. (13) However, this terrorist group ended up launching the largest foreign attack on American soil, on September 11th on 2001. Their leader Bin Laden (whom Reagan funded) then continued to live through a whole administration until he was finally killed under Obama.

Overall, Reagan’s foreign policy is still causing problems today, many of which Obama has solved.


As seen through Obama's economic success compared to Reagan's, his healthcare reform, and his foreign policy compared to Reagan's, Reagan was not a better presdent than Obama.
















Debate Round No. 2


I want to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. We are now in the refutations period.

Reagan's growth vs. Obama's growth

My opponent argues that one of the main reasons the economy go so better was because of the Federal Reserve's policy and high government spending:

"Many say the growth was due to supply side economics; however, I’m going to prove it was primarily due to the actions of the Federal Reserve and high government spending during the Reagan administrations. I will also show why growth under Obama is due to similar purposes, but why he is a more fiscally responsible president."

He shows Fed interest rates and explains how that led to a defeat of inflation. Finally, the Fed dropped rates after two years and the unemployment rate started to head down. There's a problem that my opponent misses, which is that this IS the monetary policy of Reaganomics, as I explained before, but will explain again:

"Reaganomics consisted of four key elements to reverse the high-inflation, slow-growth economic record of the 1970s: (1) a restrictive monetary policy designed to stabilize the value of the dollar and end runaway inflation; (2) a 25 percent across-the-board tax cut enacted (The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981) designed to spur savings, investment, work, and economic efficiency; (3) a promise to balance the budget through domestic spending restraint; and (4) an agenda to roll back government regulation." [1]

Since restrictive monetary policy is part of Reaganomics and that is what the Fed did, the credit must be given to Ronald Reagan. It is important to remember the unprecedented amount of defense Reagan gave politically to the Federal Reserve and Chairman Paul Volcker:

"What Reagan provided was political protection. The Fed's previous failures to stifle inflation reflected its unwillingness to maintain tight-money policies long enough to purge inflationary psychology. Successive presidents preferred a different approach: the wage-price policies built on the pleasing (but unrealistic) premise that these could quell inflation without jeopardizing full employment.

Reagan rejected this futile path. As the gruesome social costs of Volcker's policies mounted -- the monthly unemployment rate would ultimately rise to a post-World War II high of 10.8 percent -- Reagan's approval ratings plunged. In May of 1981, they were 68 percent; by January 1983, 35 percent." [2]

Reagan's policy required restraint in domestic spending. That was upheld. Annual percentage increase in billions for the government domestically only grew by 1 percent during the Reagan years. This is much lower than the domestic government growth of 3.5 percent during the Jimmy Carter years. [1]

As a percentage of GDP, federal outlways were lower when Reagan left office from he entered it. In 1981, federal outlays were 22.2 percent of GDP and in 1989 they were 21.2 percent of GDP. We have now concluded that spending was limited during the Reagan years, but mainly on the domestic side as Reaganomics argues. Naturally defense spending increases during a time of war. [3]

My opponent argues that Reagan lowered taxes, but that he also raised taxes as well. The Reagan years are known for the era of supply-side economics when taxes collapsed to help the economy. This is true because as a whole, economists recognize that taxes were much lower when Reagan left office from when he entered it. The whole point of supply-side economics is to lower tax rates while cutting deductions in order for a more transparent tax system. It's also important to keep in mind that Reagan's important 1981 tax bill was put into effect over years and far outweighs the 1986 increase:

"Critics charge that the tax cuts caused higher deficits, but they misread the evidence. The Reagan tax cut, though approved in 1981, was phased in over several years. As a result, bracket creep (indexing was not implemented until 1985) and payroll tax increases completely swamped Reagan's 1.25 percent tax cut in 1981 and effectively canceled out the portion of the tax cut which went into effect in 1982. The economy received an unambiguous tax cut only as of January 1983. Thereafter, personal income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation)." [4]

This was followed by Reagan's 1986 tax cut, which brought the top rate down from 50% to 28%. When he entered office the top rate as 70%. Finally it is important to remember that the deficit was expected to continue to decline when Reagan left office. The deficit, at $141 billion when Reagan left office, was on track to decline every year in CBO projections. In 1990 it would be $110 billion. What happened was that George H.W. Bush raised taxes and ruined the fiscal situation. [1]

My opponent looks to stop market growth, but this is flawed. Stock market growth really doesn't accurately reflect the economy:

"We're buying companies, not economies. So if companies manage their debt, cash, resources, etc. better than the overall economy, then stocks can go up while the economy does not." [11]

Additionally, companies in the stock market have greater corporate earnings than before. It also very critical to remember that companies worked internationally. My opponent has to prove that the stock market is doing well from Obama's policy and not by policies in the rest of the world. [11]

Finally, the deficit was not Ronald Reagan's fault. Fiscal policy was pretty sound, the deficit problem goes to Volcker, although it was needed to get out of the recession. Economist J.W. Mason is working on such a paper:

"One interesting thing I discovered working on it is that, despite what we all think we know, the increase in federal borrowing during the 1980s was mostly due to higher interest rate, not tax and spending decisions. Add to the Volcker rate hikes the deep recession of the early 1980s and the disinflation later in the decade, and you’ve explained the entire rise in the debt-GDP ratio under Reagan. What’s funny is that this is a straightforward matter of historical fact and yet nobody seems to be aware of it." [5]


This policy has been a disaster for the Obama administration and Obamacare isn't working. In a survey 77 percent of businesses have reported an increase in healthcare costs following Obamacare. It's a disaster for the health of the American economy. There are still many legal issues ahead:

"Republican lawmakers have sued over delays in requiring employers to provide insurance. Some Indiana schools say it's unconstitutional to force them to provide coverage. Another suit says Congress violated a little-known section of the Constitution about which chamber must introduce tax bills first. Others challenge the requirement that insurance cover contraception." [7]

Moore reports the big problems with health care costs and that Obamacare really isn't working:

"In 2013, as Obamacare’s policies were phasing in, nearly 5 million policyholders across 31 states and the District of Columbia were notified that their current coverage was being discontinued. This doesn’t include nearly 20 states that weren’t tracking these numbers so the total could have been several million more. In California alone, 1.1 million policies were canceled.

In March, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that Obamacare will result in a total of 1 million fewer people enrolled in employment-based coverage in 2015, increasing to 8 million fewer enrolled in employment-based covered by 2018. That’s a lot of people who haven’t been able to keep the health insurance that they like." [8]

Now we must remember the big lie given by Obama that you can keep your healthcare plan. It has been proven false.

Foreign Policy

Keep in mind that everything Reagan did during the Cold War was to support the fall of the Soviet Union. You are looking at foreign policy after the Soviet Union, which was thanks to Reagan's defeat of communism. A man cannot be ahead of his time. Foreign policy is primarily focused on gigantic, major opponents. Today that is ISIS, decades ago that was the USSR. What happens if Reagan doesn't fund these people? Then the Soviets win the Cold War and the fight against freedom in the western world. Before Reagan we lost:

1. South Vietnam
2. Cambodia
3. Laos
4. South Yemen
5. Angola
6. Mozambique
7. Ethiopia
8. Grenada
9. Nicaragua

Then when Reagan entered, we won in:

1. Bolivia
2. Honduras
3. Argentina
4. Grenada
5. El Salvador
6. Uruguay
7. Brazil
8. Guatemala
9. The Philippines [10]

That is thanks to his great foreign policy that defeated the Soviet Union.


1. Niskanen, William, and Stephen Moore. "Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 261: Supply-Side Tax Cuts and the Truth about the Reagan Economic Record." (n.d.): n. pag. Cato Institute, 22 Oct. 1996. Web.
2. Samuelson, Robert. "Volcker, Reagan & History." RealClearPolitics. RealClear Holdings LLC, 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 June 2015.
4. Mitchell, Daniel J. "The Historical Lessons of Lower Tax Rates." The Heritage Foundation, 19 July 1996. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
5. Mason, J. W. "The Myth of Reagan's Debt." J W Mason. N.p., 06 June 2015. Web. 28 June 2015.
6. "SHRM Survey Findings: Health Care Reform - 2015 Update." SHRM. Society for Human Resource Management, 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
7. Heath, Brad. "More Legal Challenges Ahead for Obamacare." USA Today. Gannett, 25 June 2015. Web. 28 June 2015.
8. Moore, Stephen. "The Fantasy That ObamaCare Is Working." The Heritage Foundation, 12 June 2015. Web. 28 June 2015.
9. Jacobson, Louis. "Barack Obama Says That What He'd Said Was You Could Keep Your Plan 'if It Hasn't Changed since the Law Passed'" PolitiFact. Tampa Bay Times, 06 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 June 2015.
10. D'Souza, Dinesh. Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader. New York: Free, 1997. Print.
11. Hyman, Sean. "Why Stocks Don't Reflect the Economy." Newsmax. Newsmax Media, 11 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 June 2015.


This round I will only address Pro’s opening arguments as per the rules.


Monetary Policy: The actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and rate of growth of the money supply, which in turn affects interest rates. (1)
Economic Stagnation: a prolonged period of slow economic growth (traditionally measured in terms of the GDP growth), usually accompanied by high unemployment. (9)

R1-Reagan’s Economic Policy

I discussed this last round, but I’ll make the point here. Reagan is not primarily responsible for the economic growth under his administration.

One of the most important parts of Supply Side Economics theory is that taxes need to be cut. Restating my argument from last round (because it applies here),

”Reagan did cut income taxes; however, he eliminated many tax breaks, introduced the largest peacetime tax increase (TEFRA), and increased taxes on Social Security, gasoline, capital gains, among other things. Overall, federal tax receipts under his presidency were 18.2% of GDP, barely any different than under the previous administration and were 24.7% of the national income by the end of his presidency (barley lower from the 25.1% it had been at).”

Also, Reagan never really cut spending, as demonstrated last round. A large part of the spending increases were due to foreign aid & military, which although aren’t domestic spending, are still the government spending a lot of money. However, Reagan increased domestic spending in many areas such as the Department of Energy & Education, Social Security, Medicare, federal entitlements, and farm programs. (2) In fact, Reagan increased long term debt, due to continuous deficits.

This part I wrote last round, but didn’t put in my argument (sources are linked in the previous round):

“This did help increase the growth rate at the time, as it acted as a stimulus. (6) However, it led to a huge debt increase, and saw the US go from the world’s largest creditor to the world’s largest debtor. (7). This may have been fine for the time, but in the long run debt can be a major burden on future generations. (8)”

Finally, for the restrictive monetary policy. It is true, that the inflation rate was generally low during Reagan’s years. So in this case, SSE may have had a factor. However, the president has no control on the money supply. That is completely under the control of the Fed, which acts independently of the government.

So why did the economy grow so much? As already discussed, the relatively low interest rates by the Fed were a factor. There was also Reagan’s large spending, which not only puts money into the hands of people (which boosts consumption and investment), but is also a direct part of GDP:

However, another really important factor, was that many of the Baby Boomers were set to join workforce. As can be seen with this American population pyramid in 1980, the largest ages groups in the US were the 15-19 year olds & 20-24 year olds. This means the largest age groups were people finishing/finished high school & college and set to enter the workforce. (3)

With a net gain in workers joining the workforce and earning their own money, the economy is naturally going to boom, leading to increases in GDP, household income, etc.

Therefore, Reagan does not deserve most of the credit for the economic boom that occurred, as the workforce was naturally set to expand and many of the responsibility was in the hands of the Fed.

R2-Obama’s Economic Policy

I touched upon this last round, but Obama has had to do a lot more than Reagan ever did to induce growth and inherited a much worse situation, and has had really good results.

Pro’s first claim is that the stimulus package was a failure and this economic recovery was a failure compared to Reagan’s.

This argument I wrote last round, but I forgot to copy and paste it into my argument (see sources in the last round):

“Now, if we compared the unemployment rate under Obama in the May of this year, to Reagan’s in the May of 87’ we can see from the chart above that the unemployment rate dropped from 7.8% to 5.5% (2.3%) compared to a 1.2% drop under Reagan. However, Reagan was able to see large growth after the Fed dropped interest rates. However, because Obama was coming in during the burst of the housing bubble and 2008 Recession, the Fed had already dropped interest rates to close to 0% with no prevail. Obama then enacted much needed relief programs, such as his stimulus bill, which most economists agree was helpful. (9) He also gave much needed bailouts to many companies, most notably American car companies. This helped cause the economy to finally begin to recover, as noted by the unemployment rate drop. However, one thing Obama has managed to do is begin cutting deficits. Examining the above chart we can see that although the deficit increased due to the recession and recovery programs, it has been dropping ever since and is soon going to become lower than the average deficit rate since 1974.”

When you consider Reagan had large deficits throughout much of his presidency and Obama has seen a larger net unemployment rate droppage while cutting back on the deficits, I’d say the stimulus package has on balance been a success, and hasn’t even been a long term burden on the deficit.

Plus, Reagan’s recovery was not even nearly as hard Obama’s. Reagan’s whole recovery had to be done because the Fed had to temporarily raise interest rates to combat inflation. Obama’s recovery saw the whole housing bubble burst and economy crash.

Pro also points out that Reagan has added more jobs. However, this is a useless statistic, when you consider Obama has seen a larger drop in unemployment rate since entering office. Also, as already pointed out Reagan had several Baby Boomers entering the job force. Examining this population pyramid of the US from 2010 we can see that the amount of new generation set to enter the workforce is smaller than Reagan’s was. (4)

Pro then points out that median household income hasn’t grown much under Obama. While that is true, while the economy had to recover from the disaster it is, a lot of the recovery had to do with simply getting people back to work. Now, as unemployment rate is dropping faster, the household income is rising faster and the economy is almost fully recovered, with a huge thanks going to President Obama. (5)

Similar thing with GDP. Although Reagan has seen a larger increase in GDP, Obama has also spent less than the Bush administration did, compared to Reagan and the Carter administration, and as shown earlier government spending is a part of GDP. Also, like mentioned, Obama had to help revive the whole economy, which meant a lot of people had to focus more on paying back debts and simply working jobs. However, since 2013 the GDP has seen a real growth rate a lot closer to those under Reagan.(6)

Finally, Pro critiques Obama for using high taxes on the wealthy. As shown above the economic recovery has done well even so, high taxes on the wealthy are a different beast than they used to be. In the 80s’ Americans believed that business should be done in America. However, nowadays many of America’s largest companies such as Apple & Walmart act greatly outside the US. (7)

Overall, Obama deserves much more responsibility for economic recovery than Reagan and has had amazing results considering how bad the Recession was. For this reason, Obama is economically better than Reagan.

R3-Foreign Policy

Pro asserts Reagan helped end the USSR. However, the USSR was doomed to fail way before Reagan took office.

Pro’s main points are essentially that the battles against communists around the world & the massive military buildup led to the fall of the USSR. I will first assess these two claims.

The idea that the declining influence of communism in other countries which the USSR wasn’t involved in led to its collapse holds no weight, since Pro doesn’t explain why it would. Although, the USSR was a part of the war in Afghanistan. However, that war started during the Carter Administration and there is no reason to assume the USSR would have won had the US not began funding the opposition (which didn’t even start until the mid 80s’). (8)

Pro also fails to adequately explain why Reagan’s increased military spending led to the collapse of the USSR. His main assertion to back this up are the battles against communism (which I already discussed) and the USSR, which I discussed in the above paragraph.

So why did the USSR collapse? It went through stagnation, most notably economic stagnation all due to its failed system. Although Pro touches upon this calling the it a, “inefficient command-directed communist economic system”, but it had that system well before Reagan took office. Soviet saw its economic growth rapidly declining starting in the 60s’ and also saw things such as low worker productivity, as they became more and more communist. (10)

So to sum up, Reagan did little to defeat the USSR.

Pro then criticizes Obama for not doing enough to stop ISIS. Of course, I just proved Reagan didn’t really do much to stop the USSR either. Under Reagan’s whole administration the military did nothing against the USSR directly, yet under Obama the military has been launching attacks against terrorist groups, such as ISIS. (11)

Therefore, Pro’s claim that Reagan’s foreign policy is better than Obama’s is untrue.

Since I demonstrated that Obama stepped up during the economic crisis, Reagan had unecessary deficit raises, and that Obama is doing more to terror groups than Reagan did to the USSR, I have succecsfuly rebuted Pro's claims and therefore proved that Reagan is not a better president than Obama.


Debate Round No. 3


Ronald Reagan

I. Economic Policy

I want to thank my opponent for continuing to do the debate. We are now in round 4, which focuses on me and my opponent defending the cases after the rebuttals in round 3. My opponent has repeated the point that Reagan cut taxes, but also raised taxes. He also brings his point again that Reagan increased domestic spending. Once again, I'm going to point out what Reaganomics is as defined by Stephen Moore and William Niskanen (a Reagan economic advisor):

"Reaganomics consisted of four key elements to reverse the high-inflation, slow-growth economic record of the 1970s: (1) a restrictive monetary policy designed to stabilize the value of the dollar and end runaway inflation; (2) a 25 percent across-the-board tax cut enacted (The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981) designed to spur savings, investment, work, and economic efficiency; (3) a promise to balance the budget through domestic spending restraint; and (4) an agenda to roll back government regulation." [1]

We know that a military build-up was needed for Cold War doctrine, but what about that domestic spending restraint as pointed out on number three? Remember, the key word here is restraint. Under Jimmy Carter it was 3.5% annually. Under Ronald Reagan it was 1% annually. In other words, limited government spending as achieved. [1]

The problem with my opponent's source is that it only looked at Reagan's spending nominally and doesn't factor domestic spending growth compared to Carter, which shows how limited government spending was. I will cite federal government outlays as a percentage of GDP as my secound source, which is more important than simple nominal outlays. In 1981, federal outlays as a percentage of GDP was 22.2% and in 1989 it was at 21.2%. That's a full percent lower and keep in mind that these are total outlays. Reagan's spending wasn't that large at all. [2]

Regarding taxes, they were cut in 1981 and 1986. As a whole, taxes went down and not up. In 1982, there wasn't really an increase in taxes, especially as rates, but instead as more or less deduction cuts, which is part of the supply-side strategy. Arthur Laffer (another Reagan economic advisor) argues about it all the time. Speaking of which, Laffer has his own economic data which proves Reagan's supply-side tax cuts did directly cause the real GDP growth and unemployment reduction after inflation was conquered. Reagan's 1981 tax bill, which was a 25% reduction, went into effect over several phases. They only came fully into effect at the start of 1983. That entirely corresponds with the unemployment reduction and GDP growth. Now I cannot upload the graph since it is in pdf form, but it is my third source on page 4. A simple Google search will work for you. [3]

We should also remember that Reagan's policies RAISED tax revenue because of the Laffer curve. If the tax rate is 100%, no one will work. If it's 0%, everyone will work but the government will receive less revenue. The point is to have a low rate so the majority of the country is working while at the same time maximizing the government's revenue. That did not happen with 91% and 70% percent tax rates before Reagan. The Reagan economy skyrocketed, but Laffer explains how revenue increased for the government with the tax cuts:

"Let’s imagine we cut all income tax rates across the board to a true flat rate tax such that the static average tax rate drops from 9.1% of GDP starting in 1981 to 8.0% of GDP, and, as a result of this tax rate cut, GDP doubles. While the tax cut was designed to be static revenue neutral (i.e. given no change in the size of the economy, total tax receipts would be the same), the size of the economy grew dramatically, causing taxes as a share of GDP to fall as the denominator grew faster than the numerator. In others words, even though GDP doubled and tax revenues went up by 75%—both because of the tax cut—tax revenues as a percent of GDP fell to 8.0% from 9.1%." [3]

Finally, restrictive monetary policy is part of Reaganomics and Reagan was a firm supporter of Paul Volcker at a time when the Fed policy was very unpopular. My opponent has also acknowledged that Reagan's tax cuts may have worked to bring down inflation. Let us remember that Volcker needed political protection and Reagan provided it as Samuelson explains:

"Widespread congressional opposition to Volcker came from both Republicans and Democrats. Reagan was the nation’s chief political officer. Five words from him withdrawing support from Volcker would have been worth more than 50,000 from administration technocrats complaining about the money supply." [4]

Something is wrong with my opponent's Baby Boom figures. Most baby boomers were already in the workforce by the 1970s. The Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. If you were born in 1946, you were twenty by 1966 which means you probably entered the workforce by then. Likewise, if you were born in 1956 you were in the workforce by 1976. That's most of the Baby Boomers. Only those born later or in the early 1960s just joined the workforce by the time of the Reagan years, but the Baby Boomers in the workforce did not create substantial economic growth because most were already working before Reagan's presidency. [5]

II. Foreign Policy

I want it to be remembered that I said this:

"Keep in mind that everything Reagan did during the Cold War was to support the fall of the Soviet Union."

The key word here is support. I did not say Reagan's build-up was the only thing that led to the fall of communism, I'm only arguing that it was significant. We know communism has proven to be a failed system, but Reagan's policies accelerated the decline. It makes a big difference when the USSR collapsed in 1991 rather than having it live on for decades as a threat until the inevitable fall. Reagan's policy also rolled back communism, that vile and destructive ideology, across the world.

In the 1970s, the Soviet Union was winning the Cold War. In the 1980s, the Soviet Union was losing the Cold War as proven by the expansion of democracy in many countries thanks to Ronald Reagan's support. I would prefer to have the USSR, a country that slaughtered millions of people, dead early than dead later. It's kind of like how Nazi Germany's system was going to fail, but we should'nt want it to still exist for decades. The Soviets could clearly see the disaster of trying to meet Reagan's military build-up at the Geneva summit:

"According to minutes from the meeting, Gorbachev told Reagan the had observed to a Soviet scientist that he could see "no reason" for Reagan's commitment to SDI, but that the scientist had found the explanation: SDI would produce 600 billion to a trillion dollars in new military expenditures. In other words, SDI would be a tool in Reagan's economic war to bankrupt the USSR. "That was the reason" for SDI, said Gorbachev." [6]

Gorbachev was well aware that billions and trillions of dollars would have to be spent on military expenditures in the USSR rather than domestic spending to help the country if Reagan went forward with SDI.

Barack Obama

I. Economic Policy

My opponent has seemed to have forgotten that Obama's recovery program came with a telling unemployment chart that was way off. Obama and his economic advisors naturally factored things like population when assembling this chart for the economic program. According to the chart below, the unemployment rate was not supposed to exceed 8% with the Obama stimulus package. They thought that without it unemployment would rise to 9%. Instead, with the Obama recovery program we had unemployment at 10% and it never reached its goals:

Also, if we look from the trough (or peak) of the unemployment rates, when the recoveries start to get going, we see Reagan was at 10.8% unemployment and Obama was at 10%. Under Obama, we've had a 4.5 percent reduction in unemployment. Under Reagan, it was reduced by 4.6% by then. In other words, Reagan reduced more unemployment than Obama so far when looking at the peak unemployment rates.

The recession has been so bad because Obama and his fiscal stimulus policies are actually contradicting Fed policy. Scott Sumner of the Mercatus Center writes this well:

"To see why monetary offset continues to be operative, consider the sorts of statements continually made by Fed officials. We never hear them explicitly say they’ll sabotage fiscal stimulus, but we do hear them say they will calibrate the level of monetary stimulus to the health of the economy. For instance, the recent Evans Rule commits the Fed to hold interest rates close to zero until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent or core inflation rises above 2.5 percent. Because fiscal stimulus would presumably make this happen sooner, it would also, ipso facto, cause the Fed to raise interest rates sooner than otherwise. Thus fiscal stimulus would lead to tighter money over time." [7]

II. Foreign Policy

Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster because, again, there is no strategy. Reagan had a strategy that worked effectively. Obama has no strategy and that is why ISIS is spreading.


1. Niskanen, William, and Stephen Moore. "Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 261: Supply-Side Tax Cuts and the Truth about the Reagan Economic Record." (n.d.): n. pag. Cato Institute, 22 Oct. 1996. Web.
3. Laffer, Arthur. "Revisiting the Reagan Tax Cuts." The Laffer Center. The Pacific Research Center, 2015. Web. 01 July 2015.
4. Samuelson, Robert. "Setting the Record Straight on Reagan, Volcker and Inflation: Part 2." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 01 July 2015.
5. "Baby Boomers." A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 01 July 2015.
6. Kengor, Paul. "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism." Regan Books: New York. 2006.
7. Sumner, Scott. "Why the Fiscal Multiplier Is Roughly Zero." Mercatus on Policy (2013): 1-4. The Mercatus Center. George Mason University, Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.


This round I will only defend my opening statements (from Pro’s 3rd round), as per the rules.

C1-Economic Growth

Pro does agree with me that a large part of the economic growth in the 80s’ was due to the acts of the Fed. However, he mentions how Reagan provided a defense to then Chairman Paul Volcker. Although that may be true, you can just as easily say Obama has done the same thing with Chairman Ben Bernanke and Chairman Janet Yellen. The GOP has launched attacks on the Fed in recent years, and one can argue Obama helped protect it as a Republican leader may have put more pressure on the Fed to raise the rates, which would be disastrous. (1, 2).

Pro then shows that on balance domestic spending was lowered. However, that is irrelevant, as I’ve already demonstrated overall spending increased. Even if it is in the military, it still brings more spending into the economy, leading to naturally more employment, and therefore a stronger economy. Also, Pro never even explains why a cut in domestic spending would lead to economic growth. If anything, it would initially hurt it, as many government employees would be laid off.

Pro the says that taxes were primarily decreased. However, all the evidence he provides is referring to the income tax rate, which ignores everything I said. Reposting it here:

Reagan did cut income taxes; however, he eliminated many tax breaks, introduced the largest peacetime tax increase (TEFRA), and increased taxes on Social Security, gasoline, capital gains, among other things. Overall, federal tax receipts under his presidency were 18.2% of GDP, barely any different than under the previous administration and were 24.7% of the national income by the end of his presidency (barley lower from the 25.1% it had been at).”

As for the deficit, even if had been projected to eventually decline, Reagan saw the large spending increase, which greatly increased the deficit and the national debt, and it was overall unnecessary (more about that in the Foreign Policy contention). Pro later asserts that the high interest rate led to the rise in debt. This may have had some effect, but the deficit did stay high after the Fed dropped the rates and without the unnecessary massive military buildup, there is a lot less spending, and therefore less debt. (3)

Finally, Pro asserts stock market growth doesn’t accurately reflect the economy. Pro’s quote seems to forget companies are what drive the economy, so if the stock market is going up, these companies are having success. International factors may be a factor, but one thing that cannot be denied is the US economy is doing better (look at data I’ve provided earlier in the debate). I’ve already discussed how Obama deserves credit for the economy. Not to mention, like I mentioned he protected the Fed from GOP attacks, especially when it was undergoing quantitative easing. QE directly led to stock market growth, but the GOP vigorously opposed this. (4, 5) For this reason, it is clear Obama deserves much credit for the rising stock market.


Pro starts off saying 77% of businesses report an increase in healthcare costs, but I checked both of Pro’s sources for this contention and that stat was not presented in either of them, so I’m rejecting that number without further evidence.

Pro asserts there are legal problems, but the highest court in the country, the Supreme Court, declared Obamacare to be legal, making any concerns irrelevant. (6)

Finally, I won’t deny Obamacare has problems, but it is overall a net benefit. The CBO found that it will bring economic benefits such as reducing the deficit over time (less money in medicare & medicaid), lead to more small businesses (less people worrying about having a job that covers their health insurance), etc. (7) Plus, it would provide medical insurance to many Americans.

Overall, Obamacare is a historical piece of legislation for the US and will provided/provided millions of Americans with health insurance.

C3-Foreign Policy

Pro goes more in depth in foreign policy last round, so I’ll have more to say in my rebuttal of that round, but I’ll point out again that the USSR only participated in Afghanistan. Weakening communism around the world would not have a direct impact in the collapse of the USSR.


Debate Round No. 4


It's time for the final round, in which final rebuttals and argument defenses are finished along with conclusions. I hope my opponent had a wonderul Fourth of July.

Economic Growth

My opponent argues that Obama has provided political protection for Fed Chairmans Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen in a similar way to the political protection Reagan provided Chairman Paul Volcker and a time when Fed policy of lowering inflation while raising unemployment was unpopular, but his sources do not prove this. His first source also describes Bernanke before a hearing in the Republican House. Obama isn't mentioned. It is more a criticism of Fed policy than anything else too. It isn't about slashing the power of the central bank. The second source from The New York Times is just as similar, with Yellen before a Republican committee on monetary policy, but it also never mentions Obama. In my sources, I cited quotes and gave specifics on how Reagan defend the Fed from defeat. My opponent has done no such thing during this debate.

My opponent has demonstrated that nominal spending increased, which isn't saying much when put into perspective. If spending was so good for the economy, then why didn't Carter's domestic spending growth of 3.5% annually not work better than Reagan's only 1% growth annually? Total federal outlays as a percentage of GDP went down from 22.2% to 21.2%. My opponent has also failed to explain specifically, with any major source, how Reagan's slowed domestic and large military spending helped the economy. He needs to specify and it takes more than the GDP equation to prove that Reagan's spending desicively helped the economy. He also needs to prove why the nominal number is more important then the actual GDP number. Like I said before, Carter spent more, but the situation got worse. [1,2]

I, on the other hand, have corresponded the tax cuts with when they were in full effect to when the boom of economic growth occured:

"Specifically, here’s how the phase-in occurred: Supposedly there was a 5% cut in income tax rates on October 1, 1981, 10% on July 1, 1982 and 10% on July 1, 1983." [3]

Laffer shows when they went into full effect on figure 2, real GDP boomed. Obama should take a page from Reagan's book because it has been proven to work:

"If policymakers were able to increase aggregate supply, then the Fed would be under no pressure to offset the effects with tighter monetary policy. That’s because supply-side tax cuts actually tend to lower the inflation rates and raise growth. A good example is a cut in the employer-side of the payroll tax, which would encourage hiring but would not boost wages or prices. Indeed, the cost of labor from the firm’s perspective would decline, whereas workers would see no change in take-home pay. Some economists believe that cuts in taxes on investment income might also boost aggregate supply." [8]

My opponent likes to say Reagan raised a lot of taxes, but remember that I am looking at Reagan's specific supply-side tax cuts and there economic results. The income tax declined ferociously, from a top rate of 70% to 28%. That should not be in doubt. My opponent says Reagan raised taxes, but does not explain how much or how they corresponded with economic growth. My opponent has also forgot that the corporate tax rate went down as well, which went from 46% to 40% in 1987 to 34% in 1988. These are more examples of supply-side tax cuts. [4]

My opponent has hidden the true Reagan tax record on the capital gains rate. Capital gains taxes did not go up when Reagan was president, but remained the same from when he started to when he left except for his first five years when they were lower. In 1981, Reagan's ERTA cut the capital gains tax rate from 28% to 20%. It was raised again in the 1986 tax bill back to 28%. Taxes, as a whole for capital gains, did not go up during the Reagan years, but mostly stayed the same except for a period when they were lower. [5]

My opponent goes after the debt because of Reagan's spending, but does not explain how Reagan's spending is more responsible than Fed policy for the high deficits. My opponent says Fed interest rates "may" have been responsible and to me this means like he's conceding. He needs to explains how much or how little it is responsible. I'm arguing the Fed policy was primarily responsible, but was necessary to deal with the inflation problem. At this my point, my opponent is getting desperate and is resorting to Wikipedia as well. One interesting point about my opponent's graph is that in the next five years deficits are set to go back up. This did not happen under Reagan. In th five years after his presidency deficits were set to go back down. In 1990, the projected deficit was to be $141 billion. In 1995, it was set to be $110 billion.[1]

During the Reagan years, median household income increased every year. It has not done so under Obama, this alone shows that Reagan was better than Obama on the economy. Keep real GDP growth and the fact that he will never create as many in jobs in mind too. [6]

Finally, my opponent says that other factor "may" be a factor. This is a concession. He does not say how much. All I can say that QE means a lot less from what it did in previous decades because of globalization. Multinational corporations don't just need the United States. Here is more explanation for globalization causing high profits as well as other factors:

"1. We're buying companies, not economies. So if companies manage their debt, cash, resources, etc. better than the overall economy, then stocks can go up while the economy does not.

It's similar to why I can prosper in a bad economy, because I run my personal finances differently than the overall macro economy. The same can be done with a company and with large companies collectively too. So the fiscal debt and its drag on the economy can be very different than a corporation’s debt level.

2. Corporate earnings are stronger now than in times past, even though the U.S. economy is still weak. In other words, the overall earnings of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 are greater this time around as the S&P 500 index nears its previous tops from 2000 and 2007. We know that because of the price-earnings (P/E) ratios at the previous market peaks.

In 2000, the S&P 500 peaked at a P/E of 29, while in 2007, it peaked at a P/E of 26. Today, the P/E, while at the same level as before, is at a P/E of 17.5. Big difference. So that means that there's a lot more in earnings this time around as these companies have hit these levels. Therefore, stocks could go higher than in the past due to the state of corporate earnings even though the economy is still somewhat weak.

3. The final reason why what's going on in the U.S. economy isn't reflective of what is or will happen in stocks is that most of the companies (if not all of them) in the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, etc. have very significant international operations that are affected by those economies as well as our economy." [7]


My opponent has lied by saying he couldn't find the report about businesses and reported healthcare costs. If you go to page 12 you will the statistic where 77% of businesses reported an increase in healthcare costs.

Judicial concerns are still relevant because they can affect the legislation, even if they don't kill it.

My opponent has admitted that Obamacare has problems. These problems easily outweigh the benefits for the economy.

"Not only is Obamacare costing hardworking American families hours and jobs, but thousands continue to receive healthcare cancellation notices. So far, at least 5 million Americans have lost their current healthcare plans because their insurance no longer meets the new standards set under Obamacare. With the continued rocky rollout of Obamacare, this year will see millions of individuals with small-group market plans, mostly provided by small businesses; lose coverage due to dramatic increases in healthcare premiums." [8]

Foreign Policy

My opponent basically ditched this by saying he will go more in depth next round, but that does make me suspicious. My opponent only used under 5,000 characters on a round with a limit of 10,000 characters. He could have put in a lot more on foreign policy that he didn't, which makes me suspicious that he might be holding off foreign policy so I don't have to respond.


Nothing Ronald Reagan did during his presidency was wrong. Almost everything Obama has done has been a disaster. I feel that I should be awarded best convincing argument because I was specific and prove how Reagan was better at public policy than Obama was. At the same time, I should be awarded conduct for my opponent's lying, lack of use for one round, misuse of sources, and resorting to Wikipedia. Finally, I respectfully cited my sources and used highly respected economists.


1. Niskanen, William, and Stephen Moore. "Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 261: Supply-Side Tax Cuts and the Truth about the Reagan Economic Record." (n.d.): n. pag. Cato Institute, 22 Oct. 1996. Web.
3. Laffer, Arthur. "Revisiting the Reagan Tax Cuts." The Laffer Center. The Pacific Research Center, 2015. Web. 01 July 2015.
7. Hyman, Sean. "Why Stocks Don't Reflect the Economy." Newsmax. Newsmax Media, 11 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 June 2015.
8. Sumner, Scott. "Why the Fiscal Multiplier Is Roughly Zero." Mercatus on Policy (2013): 1-4. The Mercatus Center. George Mason University, Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
10. "SHRM Survey Findings: Health Care Reform - 2015 Update." SHRM. Society for Human Resource Management, 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.


I’m going to layoff round 5 for the most part to keep the debate fair (except for a few things), because I misunderstood what to do in round 4 (I explain this more later). I will primarily respond to round 4.

To win this debate, I do not need to prove Barack Obama is a better president than Ronald Reagan was. I just have to prove that Reagan was not better than Obama.

R1-Reagan’s Economic Policy:

Pro rebuts my point that Reagan also raised taxes as well by providing a definition of Reaganomics. The definition doesn’t even rebut what I’m saying though because the definition suggests it’s only talking about income taxes (“across the board tax” suggests it’s talking about income levels). Also, Pro never directly mentions taxes on thing such as social security or gas being increased (which I continually mention), nor these stats (I sourced this earlier in the debate): “Overall, federal tax receipts under his presidency were 18.2% of GDP, barely any different than under the previous administration and were 24.7% of the national income by the end of his presidency, barley lower from the 25.1% it had been at”. I brought these up every round, yet all Pro addressed from what I mentioned was Capital Gains and TEFRA. He said that TEFRA (although not by name) mainly raised deductions (which still means more people are being taxed more). However, it was the largest tax increase in American history, so obviously people were being taxed more. (1)

Now I’ll address the part about how the tax cuts raised government revenue. He first mentions how the 70% and 91% tax rates didn’t maximize government revenue, but the 28% under Reagan had the economy “skyrocket”. However, the economy grew faster throughout most of the 50s’ and 60s’ when the tax rates was really high (while Reagan’s administration only rivaled that after the Fed dropped interest rates and the economy recovered) (2, 3):

Then to quote part of Laffer’s statement, “GDP doubled and tax revenues went up by 75%—both because of the tax cut”

However, the GDP growth and tax revenue increase (if more money is being made, people are paying more taxes), were primarily due to the Fed dropping the interest rates. I’ve mentioned this before (and I’ll bring it up again later), but I’ll have Nobel Prize Winning economist Paul Krugman explain it (4):

Serious analyses of the Reagan-era business cycle place very little weight on Reagan, and emphasize instead the role of the Federal Reserve, which sets monetary policy and is largely independent of the political process. At the beginning of the 1980s, the Fed, under the leadership of Paul Volcker, was determined to bring inflation down, even at a heavy price; it tightened policy, sending interest rates sky high, with mortgage rates going above 18 percent. What followed was a severe recession that drove unemployment to double digits but also broke the wage-price spiral.

Then the Fed decided that America had suffered enough. It loosened the reins, sending interest rates plummeting and housing starts soaring. And the economy bounced back. Reagan got the political credit for “morning in America,” but Mr. Volcker was actually responsible for both the slump and the boom.

So the whole premise of Laffer’s’ (and Pro’s argument) is flawed, as the Fed was a large part of the 80s boom.

Now to address spending. Pro has still failed to explain why domestic spending cuts would help the economy even though I raised the issue in round 4 and he could have responded in round 5. All that was ever said was, “to balance the budget through domestic spending restraint”, which still doesn’t explain why it’d help the economy and I proved earlier that the budget wasn’t balanced under Reagan and in fact at some points was worse than it had ever been since WWII. I’ll address the necessity of Cold War spending later. Pro then asks, “If spending was so good for the economy, then why didn't Carter's domestic spending growth of 3.5% annually not work better than Reagan's only 1% growth annually?” That simply ignores the 1973 and 1979 oil crisis, which hurt the American economy for years after and led to high inflation. (5) Also to further answer the question, high spending helps the economy, because it increases aggregate demand (while the opposite decreases it) and with more demand, people will buy more. This is because there’s demand for weapons in this case, which means they can hire more workers and those workers can spend their money on other businesses.

Now to address Obama’s protection of the Fed, I’ll once again show Krugman explain it (4) (since he mentioned lack of quotes): The Fed “has at least made an effort to boost the economy — and it has done so despite ferocious attacks from conservatives, who have accused it again and again of “debasing the dollar” and setting the stage for runaway inflation. Without Mr. Obama to shield its independence, the Fed might well have been bullied into raising interest rates, which would have been disastrous.”

Finally, Pro is caught up in the semantics of “baby boomers”. Once again showing the population pyramid:

As can clearly be seen at the beginning of the decade most of the workers were just set to join the workforce, so that obviously played a large role. Since he had no other rebuttal it clearly was a large factor in the growth of the 80s’.

To conclude, many other factors such as the Fed lowering the rates and the population boom would have been the primary cause of Reagan’s economic growth. The tax cuts were marginal as shown through stats, while Reagan drove up spending in his administration, which although may have provided some growth, led to high deficits.

R2-Obama’s Economic Policy:

Even if the White House’s numbers were off, it definitely did help the economy as explained in previous rounds, and you can read this round how it increased spending helps. To sum it up, the Fed had its interest rates as low as they could go and the economy wasn’t improving, so obviously the aggregate demand needed some boost, and Obama provided it.

Pro then mentions how the peak unemployment rate was higher under Reagan, so the drop was larger under Reagan. However, that is completely unfair comparison because as explained above the Fed caused both the slump and the recovery, while the whole housing bubble bursted under Obama, and the Fed dropped the rates as low as they could go. For this reason also, the consistent growth in household income under Reagan is less significant because his recession was a lot easier to tackle. Plus, overall unemployment rate dropped lower under Obama in the same amount of time.

As for monetary offset, the quote admits that the fiscal stimulus would speed up the recovery. Also, the Fed had lowered interest rates, but the unemployment rate was still going up, so overall his whole argument is insignificant in this case, because the Fed couldn’t do much else.

He also says Obama should drop taxes, but he did for 98% of working people. (10) If he did it too much on business and rich people they could just use their breaks and invest in other countries, a problem Reagan didn’t face. I mentioned this, but Pro never responded to it.

R3-Foreign Policy:

Pro has yet to disprove my point that declining communism elsewhere would have a large effect, so the question is, did spending accelerate the collapse? Comparing spending (7):

As can be seen the USSR spent pretty much the same they had been spending previously, until the 90s, so there was no response to American spending. In fact, Gorbachev said. “The Cold War ended despite President Reagan's arms buildup, not because of it”. (8)

As for ISIS, I have already mentioned Obama did more to them to Reagan did the USSR. Pro says Obama doesn’t have a strategy, but he recently introduced one. (9)


Pro accuses me of lying about the healthcare stat. However, if you go back to Pro’s R3 healthcare point you can see the sources 7 & 8 were here. Neither of these had multiple pages, nor that stat:

So, either Pro’s lying or he didn’t cite it (which still means he’s stating it without proof).

He also accuses me of not using round 4 enough, but I was under the impression it was only suppose to respond to round 3 and I only decided to use facts and quotes for the Foreign Policy part this round or just restated things to prevent it from being a big issue.

Also he mentions me using Wikpedia, but it was only for minor things and I used many reputable News articles otherwise, often written by economists.


To conclude, I have shown that Obama took necessary actions in order to help expand the US economy in times of trouble, because the Fed had already dropped the rates low and if he cut taxes too much on the wealthy that money might end up being invested elsewhere and that Reagan was greatly assisted by the Fed lowering the rates and the natural population boom. Plus, despite Obama’s tough situation, he still has a lower unemployment rate than Reagan did in the same amount of time. Plus, Obama has made more of an effort to cut the deficit, while Reagan raised it. Also, Reagan’s attempt to end the USSR just led to a higher national debt and strengthening new enemies (e.g. Bin Ladden & Hussein), while not even having a big factor. Meanwhile, Obama has been engaging in combat with terrorism and has a new plan to face ISIS. For this reason Ronald Reagan was not a better president than Barack Obama and you should vote Con.


Debate Round No. 5
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DeletedUser 5 years ago
Spelling was pretty much a tie. No way am I awarding spelling to Con because Pro spelled a few words wrong. Unless, it was pretty noticeable and hard to follow. Conduct was tie, and both sources were pretty accurate.
Posted by DeletedUser 5 years ago
1. Pro successfully collaborated the economic boom with Reaganomics. He showed the timing for the tax cuts worked because unemployment and real GDP growth specifically occurred after them. Con's big argument was that the Fed did most of the work, but Pro proved Reagan was important to that by proving political protection for Paul Volcker. Con's arguments for Obama's defense of the Fed weren't convincing.

2. Con argued that Reagan raised taxes, but Pro's point was that taxes as a whole went down. No one denies that taxes did. The income reductions were huge. Pro also pointed out that the capital gains tax was lower for a time, but overall it was the same rate when Reagan entered office as it was when he left office. That's not an increase. At the same time Con's case for Obama was weakened by Pro's statistics for the real median household income and (especially) unemployment, which Obama and his team projected would be much smaller with the spending bill. The Obama stimulus bill might have helped the economy, but Reaganomics did more in the 1980s.

3. Foreign policy seemed even, but Pro wins here. Reagan's strategy of a military build-up led to proxy wars around the world. At the same time, he cited how the USSR truly believed that SDI was an effective threat. The point of SDI was that Reagan could a reach a point of military spending where the Soviets would realize that they could no longer compete and Gorbachev did. Con's arguments that Obama is doing more to stop ISIS were fairly debunked. Pro used more sources to explain why Obama's strategy (or lack for that matter) was not working. He showed that ISIS was expanding. If it is, then Obama's policy is failing while Reagan's successfully forced the Soviets to retreat.
Posted by salam.morcos 5 years ago
I might vote on this.
Posted by whiteflame 5 years ago
>Reported vote: Contra// Mod action: Removed<

2 points to Pro (Sources) and 1 point to Con (Conduct). Reasons for voting decision: Both sides used powerful arguments. Pro's arguments with regards to the economy (i.e. GDP growth, the increase in jobs, and the increase in median household incomes, etc) were very convincing. Furthermore, Pro showed that taxes and spending both fell as a percentage of the U.S. economy. Con however had an effective set of arguments himself, namely the arguments that were supportive of President Obama with concern to the situations he inherited. Pro had better sources, but Con seemed to have better conduct.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter spends more time explaining why the arguments points are tied than he does explaining either of his point allocations. He has to do more than just say that one side has better sources to allocate those points, that is not sufficient. Neither is stating that one side has better conduct.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
That was fun debate Royal. Thanks for debating!
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
Obviously round 5 are the most recent arguments. You can address them. The way it works is that we both present our arguments in round 2, followed by refutations of those arguments in round 3, round 4 is a defense of those arguments as well as room to defend refutations if you have the space to do so. Round 5 is the round for final defenses of both refutations and arguments. If you felt you missed something in round 4, go right ahead an address that in round 5. You will notice responded to your real median household income in round 5 because I did not have enough space in the round earlier.
Posted by RoyalFlush100 5 years ago
I'm just wondering, am I allowed to address your round 5 arguments or just round 4?
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
Posted by RoyalFlush100 5 years ago
Ugh. I just realized I forgot to copy and paste a large part of my argument :/ Luckily it will fit into my rebuttals.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
"Reagan's important 1981 tax bill was put into effect over years and far outweighs the 1986 increase"

I just want to point out that 1982 was the tax increase year I was referring too. 1986 was a year of tax cuts.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Anonymous 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the comments.
Vote Placed by CASmnl42 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:34 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Both debaters should be commended for comporting themselves courteously. Points to Pro only because Con made references to being rushed or forgetting arguments he meant to make earlier. S&G: Both made minor grammatical errors, but Pro's were far more frequent (e.g. "There was 92 months" / were; "Politics played a role to" / too). Arguments: Difficult; very high quality from both. But Pro never fully answered Con's arguments on RR taxes and spending holding mostly flat, overall, and failed to contend with implications of lower spending ratios in growing GDP. Also Con dominated discussion of RR policy w/ USSR, as Pro never drew firm link between military buildup and USSR collapse, while Con did much to negate one. Sources: Both used ideological sources, which isn't great. Pro was a bit worse at picking biased sources, but still gets points, because Con would often link to a chart from a source but not the source itself. Pro gave full context for his sources.

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