Who was the last TRUE Conservative president?
Further, according to the Congressional Budget Office, government spending averaged 22.4 percent of GDP during Reagan’s two terms. Based on estimations of federal spending during the final years of his first — maybe only — term, the CBO figures that Obama’s fiscal legacy will average 24.6 percent of GDP, not too far off from what Reagan accomplished. It should be noted that Reagan’s 22.4 percent stands as the all-time record among U.S. Presidents.
If the CBO’s calculations hold true, Obama will break that record, but the fact that the conservative torchbearer holds the record now (and he didn’t have wars like other presidents to blame it on) really puts everything into perspective.
In a related topic, Obama’s ability to “create jobs” (an outcome of government expansion/contraction) is never considered as being at par with Reagan’s. Yet, it is eerily similar. During the first year and a half of his presidency, Reagan saw the unemployment rate increase from 7.5 to 9.8 percent. When Obama came into office, unemployment stood at 7.2 percent and 18 months later it was at 9.5 percent. Reagan’s growth for that period was 2.3 percentage points. Obama’s — 2.3 points, too.
The Reagan myth also has the man pegged as the greatest tax-cutting president ever. Yes, in 1981 he forced through Congress some major tax cuts but, in other years of his presidency (specifically ‘83 through ‘87), he introduced a multitude of tax increases and new taxes that pulled in revenues from other bases. Historians look at 1982 and 1984 as featuring the highest tax increases in peacetime America. While in power he also increased funding for America’s two behemoth entitlement programs: Social Security grew by 50 percent from 1981 to 1987 while Medicare grew by a startling 84 percent over that same period.
If you step back and look past the rhetoric and hero worship that surrounds the Republican Insiders’ Reagan myth, you’ll realize that he was anything but a conservative (based upon the most factual definition of the political belief) and — like most people who count themselves as conservatives nowadays — he is more appropriately identified as a neoconservative. Someone who, like George W. Bush, is socially conservative yet quite liberal in the application of government powers and military might. His approach to governance was, quite frankly, no different than Obama’s.
After objectively analyzing Reagan's record, I think I have to conclude that Ike Eisenhower was the last TRUE Conservative president.
In stark contrast to Reagan's record, Eisenhower ordered "Operation Wetback," mass-deporting almost two million illegal aliens, mostly Mexicans.
Eisenhower's New Look, a policy of nuclear deterrence, gave priority to inexpensive nuclear weaponswhile reducing the funding for the other military forces to keep pressure on the Soviet Union and reduce federal deficits at the same time.
He Kept America at Peace.
- Eisenhower was confronted with major Cold War crises every year he was in office: Korea, Vietnam, Formosa, Suez, Hungary, Berlin, and the U-2. While more than once America seemed on the brink of war and those around him clamored to drop the Bomb, Eisenhower always kept a level head. He dealt calmly and rationally with each situation, always finding a solution that avoided war without diminishing America's prestige.
He Ended the Korean War.
- He alone had the prestige to persuade Americans to accept a negotiated peace and convince the Chinese that failure to reach an agreement would lead to dire consequences. Eisenhower considered this to be his greatest presidential accomplishment.
He Balanced the Budget, Not Just Once, But Three Times.
- Despite much pressure to do otherwise, he also refused to cut taxes and raise defense spending. His fiscal policy contributed to the prosperity of the 1950's.
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