Hannity exaggerated Reagan's record on jobs, federal revenue

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Sean Hannity exaggerated the number of jobs created under Ronald Reagan, asserting that "21 million new jobs" were created, and falsely claimed that Reagan "doubl[ed] the income for the federal government" and oversaw the "longest peacetime -- period of peacetime economic growth in history." In fact, the number of jobs increased by 16 million; federal revenue increased 15 percent; and the longest period of peacetime economic growth occurred between March 1991 and March 2001.

On the January 22 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity responded to a statement by California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) -- that "there's a lot of people that think [former President Ronald] Reagan added to [economic] inequality" -- by exaggerating the number of jobs created under Reagan, asserting that "21 million new jobs" were created. Hannity also falsely claimed that Reagan "doubl[ed] the income for the federal government" and oversaw the "longest peacetime -- period of peacetime economic growth in history." In fact, the number of total nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 16 million during Reagan's term; federal revenue increased 15 percent ($1.077 trillion to $1.236 trillion) when adjusted for inflation; and the longest period of peacetime economic growth in U.S. history occurred between March 1991 and March 2001, largely during President Bill Clinton's term.

When Reagan was inaugurated in January 1981, there were 91,031,000 total nonfarm payroll jobs (seasonally adjusted), according to the statistical database of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). By the time Reagan left office in January 1989, there were 107,133,000 total nonfarm payroll jobs (seasonally adjusted) -- an increase of a little more than 16.1 million jobs. Using a measurement that includes farm jobs, there were 99,955,000 total civilian employment jobs (seasonally adjusted) in January 1981, according to the BLS statistical database. In January 1989, there were 116,708,000 total civilian employment jobs (seasonally adjusted), a difference of roughly 16.75 million jobs.

Numerous media outlets, including CNN, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times, have reported that about 16 million jobs were created under Reagan. Additionally, former President George H.W. Bush -- who served as Reagan's vice president before being elected president -- said at the dedication of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on November 4, 1991, that Reagan "helped the private sector create more than 16 million jobs."

As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, Hannity has often incorrectly claimed that Reagan doubled revenue or income to the federal government. According to the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB), when adjusted for inflation to constant fiscal year 2000 dollars, receipts (revenues) increased from $1.077 trillion to $1.236 trillion during Reagan's time in office. Even in unadjusted (current) dollars, Hannity's claim that income to the federal government "doubl[ed]" during the Reagan administration is false: From 1981 to 1988, revenues in current dollars increased from $599.3 billion to $909.3 billion.

From the OMB:

FISCAL YEAR

REVENUE IN CURRENT DOLLARS (billions)

REVENUE IN CONSTANT FY2000 DOLLARS (billions)

1981

599.3

1,077.4

1982

617.8

1,036.9

1983

600.6

961.7

1984

666.5

1,016.8

1985

734.1

1,082.6

1986

769.2

1,107.3

1987

854.4

1,196.1

1988

909.3

1,235.6

Hannity has repeatedly claimed that Reagan presided over the "longest period of peacetime economic growth in history." While it is true that -- at the time -- the economic expansion that began during Reagan's presidency was the "longest peacetime" expansion, it was surpassed by the expansion that began in March 1991 and ended in March 2001, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research:

March 1991 -- March 2001: 120 months

February 1961 -- December 1969: 106 months

November 1982 -- July 1990: 92 months

The economic growth from February 1961 to December 1969 also surpassed the Reagan-era expansion but partially occurred during the Vietnam War.

From the January 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: All right, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will join us a little later in the show with more on this big showdown. But joining us now with more, California attorney general, former presidential candidate Jerry Brown, and also joining us, our good friend, former Congressman John Kasich is with us. Guys, welcome back to the program.

Jerry, look, I know it's a rough-and-tumble sport, Jerry Brown, what this is all about here. I didn't know that Wal-Mart was an enemy of the American people. I didn't know that Reagan, who gave us the longest period of peacetime economic growth in history and ended the Cold War, was such a demonized figure. Is that the new hard left of your party?

BROWN: Well, there are some folks in the Democratic Party that are concerned about Wal-Mart, and, of course, there's a lot of people that think Reagan added to inequality while doing some other things for the economy. So when --

HANNITY: You mean 21 million new jobs that he was creating, doubling the income to the federal government, longest peacetime -- period of peacetime economic growth in history. Those were awful moments in history, weren't they?

BROWN: Well, look, I don't want to go back over history. I think we're looking at the debate and how it is. I think some of those points didn't score that well between Barack and Hillary. I mean, they were getting into little nits and nats.

Posted In
Economy, Budget, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
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