MSNBC Contributor: 'I'll Put Obama's Deficit Next to Reagan's Any Day of the Week'

June 4th, 2011 11:40 AM

I've said for years that some of the worst reporting by the media deals with issues of finance and the economy.

"Real Time" watchers were given a perfect example of this Friday evening when a college professor that contributes to MSNBC as well as Nation magazine actually said, "I’ll put my Obama deficit next to your Reagan deficit any day of the week" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

FORMER CONGRESSMAN RICK LAZIO: Mitt Romney unlike Barack Obama has 25 years of private sector experience. I think when you're looking at an economy…

MELISSA HARRIS PERRY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: And that worked out, Wall Street’s doing great.

LAZIO: ...that just created 15,000 jobs. If you compare this, this, this recovery compared to the last ten recoveries, we would have created, if we went to the same average, we would have created about 14 or 15 million more jobs. If we went back to ’82, in 1982 Reagan inherited a ten or eleven percent unemployment rate. Coming out of that recession, they ended up creating about 14 million jobs.

MELISSA HARRIS PERRY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I’ll put my Obama deficit next to your Reagan deficit any day of the week. Right, so…

LAZIO: I will too, because it’s about a trillion and a half dollars this year alone for Obama.


If you add up all of Reagan's deficits throughout his two terms, it's a combined $1.5 trillion. Adjusted for inflation, that's $2.72 trillion.

In Obama's first three years in office, his combined deficits will total $4.23 trillion. In just three years.

Anyone wanting to equate these numbers must have either no knowledge of simple arithmetic, a total disregard for facts, or both.

Now in fairness, Lazio wasn't all that accurate with numbers he was citing either.

The unemployment rate when Reagan took office was 7.5 percent. It did indeed rise to 10.8 percent in November 1982, but that was under his watch.

However, it is fair to say that Reagan created 14 to 15 million jobs. From January 1981 to January 1989, a total of 16 million employees were added to non-farm payrolls.

Lazio also underestimated the number of jobs created last month. It was 54,000 instead of the 15,000 he cited.

Regardless, I'll pit Reagan's job creation and deficit record against Obama's any day of the week.

How 'bout you?