Ronald Reagan may have been a good and decent man.
As president, though, Reagan pursued policies that were short-sighted, reckless and, for many, hurtful. His economic legacy is one of deplorable disregard for the consequences of his actions, and the ramifications of Reagan's decisions remain with us to this day. ...
On the matter of deficits, Reagan nearly tripled the gap between the amount of money the federal government took in and the amount it spent. He did this by cutting tax rates by an average 25 percent, while aggressively increasing defense spending.
In 1981, shortly after taking office, Reagan lamented "runaway deficits" that were then approaching $80 billion, or about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product. Within only two years, however, his policies had succeeded in enlarging the deficit to more than $200 billion, or 6 percent of GDP.