Longest Expansion Ever

Someone told me that last night Sean Hannity was talking about how Ronald Reagan “dropped the top marginal rate and we had the longest period of peacetime economic growth.” I was trying to use Google to find the transcript and was foiled. Foiled by, among other things, the fact that apparently conservatives say this all the time. For example, this is Hannity in October:

He dropped the top marginal rates from 70 to 28 percent; created 20 million new jobs; doubled revenues to the government; and gave us, at the time, the longest period of peacetime economic growth in history. Compare the two models.

The claim, though popular, is straightforwardly false:

The longest peacetime expansion coincided roughly with the Clinton administration and was preceded by increases in tax rates for the wealthy signed by Clinton and George H.W. Bush. I’m going to be generous to conservatives and say they’re just confused here. It was true, at the time that the expansion following the 1982 recession was the longest peacetime expansion on record. But that record was surpassed by the very next expansion. Meanwhile, the ’82 recession was the most severe recession since the Great Depression though it now looks like we’ll likely beat that record.


But consider the conservative movement put on notice! If you see people making this claim again, send ’em my post.

CORRECTION: Yikes — sloppy! The Hannity quote I pulled is accurate, he qualifies it by saying “at the time.” Apologies for the error. There are plenty of instances on the web of conservatives getting this wrong, but the one I picked he gets it right. My bad.