One of the seemingly older memes I’ve seen from Occupy Democrats compares Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter. It’s actually one of the more unfair memes that I’ve seen in a while. Hence, I thought it was perfect for a fact check. The points made were mixed; some were related and some were pretty foolishly unrelated. I’ve attempted to categorize them into four topics: Military service, invading foreign countries, arming foreign nations, job creation. Lastly, the meme asks the reader which one Republicans praise and which one they hate. Let’s see how valid this really is!
Before we get started, I think it’s noteworthy to look at the names in the meme. “Pres. Reagan” is smaller than “Pres. Carter.” Why would they do something like that? Part of it could be the same reason why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to change its logo to emphasize Jesus Christ’s name: Bigger words get more attention when near smaller words. Some may think that it’s just a design flaw. I personally think it’s a cheap attempt to make Jimmy Carter look better.
Reagan’s military service wasn’t as detailed as Carter’s was. It just said that he served in Hollywood, which is another cheap attempt by Democrats to make a Republican look like a coward. This is historically something that Democrats have liked to do, but this time it just made Democrats look insensitive. First of all, the only choice you really have when enlisting in the military is which branch and which job (from a list) you’ll serve in. You don’t usually get the choice of where you’re going to go. If this was the case, I don’t know how many people would’ve actually gone into Japan, Vietnam, and Iraq.
What made Democrats look insensitive is the reason why Reagan did his military service in Culver City, CA (not Hollywood, but definitely in LA): He had eyesight difficulties which kept him from serving overseas. Reagan was an actor before he was assigned to Culver City, which is probably why he was assigned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit after being transferred to the Army Air Force as Public Relations. It’s what he could do given his poor eyesight, which he had no control over. Before we get into Lieutenant Carter, it’s good to remember that Reagan was a Lieutenant in the Army.
Carter served in the Navy and worked on submarines. He was assigned to help develop a nuclear submarine program. Hence, lowering himself into a nuclear reactor to save others doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Here’s what bothered me: Occupy Democrats used Carter’s act of heroism in an attempt to make Reagan look like he never would’ve saved anybody’s life, since he was in no danger. The military won’t send you out into combat if it thinks you’re going to be more of a hinderance than an asset.
Invading Foreign Countries
Regan invaded more than just Lebanon. For some reason, Occupy Democrats think killing 249 people in one bombing was a big deal. Do I care about war, invading other nations, and senseless killing? Sure. Most people do. But does Occupy Democrats remember who made the decision to drop the atomic bombs in Japan? It was Harry S. Truman, someone they’ve praised in another meme for doubling the minimum wage. Sorry, guys. If you’re going to attack Reagan for killing 249 people in one bombing, maybe you should try attacking Truman for killing 150,000 in Hiroshima in a single bombing and 75,000 in Nagasaki in another bombing.
As far as never firing a shot nor invading a single foreign country for President Carter, this isn’t entirely true. Sure, he never invaded a foreign country like Reagan invaded Grenada or Lebanon. But he did use six US transport planes and eight helicopters in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran. I don’t know about you, but I have no idea how someone can use six transport planes and eight helicopters and never fire one single shot.
Did he knock on Iran’s door, wait at the border with all those, and say, “Excuse me, I’d like my hostages back?” Maybe the one Iranian casualty came from the fire that killed eight of our guys. Who knows? I know that this was a ginormous reason why he lost the 1980 election. Whether or not Carter actually had the military fire any shots in Iran is something that I find to be a little uncertain. But sending troops into another country like that, even to rescue 52 diplomats, is still considered invading another nation.
Arming Foreign Nations
Yes, Reagan was most definitely guilty of arming Iran. He also armed Iraq. But apparently, seeing how Occupy Democrats are mostly who will read this meme on its Facebook page, Democrats think it’s a bad idea to arm an Islamic Republic. Of course, this puts Democrats in an awkward position since they say to tolerate our Muslim brothers and sisters while they simultaneously distrust and discriminate them behind closed doors.
The only thing that I could really find about Jimmy Carter limiting the sales of arms was the SALT II treaty. According to the History Channel, “The treaty was denounced as a “sellout” to the Soviets, one that would leave America virtually defenseless against a whole range of new weapons not mentioned in the agreement. Even supporters of arms control were less than enthusiastic about the treaty, since it did little to actually control arms.” Funny how even supporters of arms control didn’t like it because it didn’t really do much, isn’t it? So while Occupy Democrats is raising Carter on a pedestal for limiting arms sales, it doesn’t seem to understand that Carter really didn’t do much to limit arms at all.
Before getting into this last section, it’s important to understand that Jimmy Carter was a one-term president and Ronald Reagan served two terms as president. It’s important because Occupy Democrats thinks you’re stupid at math. I, however, think you understand how an average works. The other point of importance here is that there were only 48 months that Jimmy Carter was president while there were 96 months that Ronald Reagan was president.
Assuming that these numbers are accurate, let’s do the math:
4 years x 12 months = 48 months * 215,000 jobs created per month (average) = 10,320,000 total jobs created
8 years x 12 months = 96 months * 167,000 jobs created per month (average) = 16,032,000 total jobs created
As we can see, Reagan added 5.7 million more jobs than Carter did. Don’t trust those numbers? If we look at All Employees: Total Nonfarm Payrolls on FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data), between January 1977 and January 1981, we will see that Carter added 10,345,000 jobs. However, if we look at the same thing between January 1981 and January 1989, we will see that Reagan added 16,131,000 jobs. While it’s still 5.7 million, it’s much closer to 5.8 million (5.786) than it was before.
It’s no secret that, based on the meme and actually looking things up, Occupy Democrats thinks that its base is stupid enough to believe anything without looking it up. I personally don’t believe that at all. Sure, some people are sheep and allow themselves to be uninformed. But I believe that if more people understood how economic indicators work and where to find and compare economic data, Occupy Democrats would find its credibility flat on its face.
There’s a lot of things you have to understand when it comes to American politics. One thing is that people will cook their numbers and skew accuracies so good that it makes Walter White’s blue meth look like over-the-counter cough syrup. Another thing is that most people will want to get your support by slapping blinders on you and not allowing you to think for yourself. Knowledge really is the best weapon in the world. At least when it comes to politics. I find this meme to be mostly invalid.
This is a page of economic links that will help you better understand and find economic data. I highly recommend FRED when looking for data points.
Here’s an article I wrote earlier this year about how the president can manipulate his image using economic indicators such as the unemployment rate. I show how you can double check and see whether or not the president is actually helping the economy when unemployment is down.