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Rand Paul says Reagan increased the deficit more than Carter, and he is right

Today Mother Jones released a new video which shows Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) repeatedly claiming that President Reagan increased the deficit more than President Carter. The video is potentially damaging for Paul, who is considered one of the leading candidates for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2016. President Reagan is not God to conservatives, but he may be the closest thing to it. Carter, meanwhile, is seen by conservatives as the epiphany of everything that is wrong with Democrats. Paul’s criticism of Reagan may not sit well with the Republican base should he decide to run nationally in 2016.

Federal Deficits under Republican and Democratic Presidents
Screenshot by Ryan Witt

As seen in the video above, Paul points out that his father, Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), voted against Reagan’s first budget. The reason Ron Paul voted against that budget, according to his son, is that Reagan’s budget was “$100 billion in debt” which is ‘three times greater than Jimmy Carter’s worst deficit.”

Paul can also be seen saying repeatedly that domestic spending went up more under Reagan than under Carter.

As seen in the graph above, Paul is right when it comes to his claims on Reagan and the deficits. Reagan greatly increased federal spending during his administration while simultaneously cutting taxes, which did lead to an increase in deficit. Under Carter federal deficits were no higher than $36 billion. In Reagan’s first year the deficit would rise to $100 billion and in subsequent years it rose to over $200 billion.

In response to the video Paul’s office released the following statement:

I have always been and continue to be a great supporter of Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and the millions of jobs they created. Clearly spending during his tenure did not lessen, but he also had to contend with Democrat majorities in Congress.”

Republicans controlled the Senate in the first six year’s of Reagan’s tenure, while Democrats controlled the House the entire time.

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