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The next time a wingnut starts shouting at you about Obama's poor employment record, you might want to share a few of these charts with them:

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Note the unemployment rate when each took office: 7.5% for Reagan in January 1981, 7.8% for Obama in January 2009. It peaked for Reagan at 10.8% in November of 1982, while getting no higher than 10% for Obama (it was originally 10.2%, but has since been revised).

By September of their respective reelection years, the rate had fallen to 7.3% for Reagan, and now 7.8% for Obama.


Obama inherited a higher unemployment rate that was in freefall. Reagan's unemployment rate was steady for his first year, then skyrocketed. Yet Obama can't blame his predecessor and Reagan can?

Reagan's unemployment rate also went higher than Obama's ever did. By the fall of 1984, it had fallen substantially, thanks in large part to government stimulus in the form of defense spending. Obama wasn't quite so fortunate in his own Congress: he managed to pass a single inadequate stimulus at the start of his term, but then Republicans blocked any further attempts at job creation.

And for all that, they still end up nearly identical at the end of their first terms.

Here it is in graph form:


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For a bit of fun, ask your wingnut acquaintances to compare Reagan's and Obama's records on jobs, then show them the above charts.

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