Reagan Biographer & Presidential Historian Fact-Checks WaPo’s ‘Fact Checker’

AP Photo/Doug Mills
AP Photo/Doug Mills

Craig Shirley, the author of two best-selling books about Ronald Reagan and a presidential historian, is speaking up to fact check Washington Post “fact checker” Glenn Kessler, who recently slammed Senator Rand Paul’s claims that President Reagan created a strong economy.

In an April 10 piece, Kessler gave Rand Paul a rating of “three Pinocchios,” saying that the Senator was wrong with his contentions that Reagan improved our nation’s economy, cut taxes, and helped create jobs in his eight years in the White House.

Kessler was supposedly fact checking a statement Paul made on Sean Hannity’s April 7 TV show. “The last president we had was Ronald Reagan that said we’re going to dramatically cut tax rates,” Senator Paul said. “And guess what? More revenue came in, but tens of millions of jobs were created.”

The Post “fact checker” deemed this all to be a lie. In his summation, Kessler denied that Reagan’s economic record led to any improvement in the jobs climate and insisted that it was a “money loser” for the government.

But presidential historian Craig Shirley takes exception to Kessler’s denigration of Reagan’s record.

“Kessler,” Shirley told Breitbart, “gets Four Pinocchios for being wrong across the board and a Fifth Pinocchio for being willfully manipulative.”

In his op ed, “fact checker” Kessler said that Paul was wrong to note that tens of millions of jobs were created under Reagan. But Shirley points out that more jobs were lost under Carter than he was able to create, so Reagan started out with a severe deficit in jobs.

Kessler went on to claim that Reagan’s reputation as a tax cutter is not deserved because Reagan actually raised taxes while in office. To this Shirley points out that Reagan cut taxes by billions more than he raised them.

The Post editorialist also said that Reagan’s tax revenue intake was a “revenue loss,” but Shirley disagreed, saying that Federal Revenue was falling under Carter, but under Reagan it grew.

Shirley also reminds Kessler that Reagan needed three years to dig out of the Carter Recession.

The historian also hastened to point out that Reagan needed to spend money to rebuild our defenses after the military budget was slashed by the three presidents before him–Nixon, Ford, and Carter. This, Shirley says, accounts for a large amount of Reagan’s rise in spending.

The Reagan expert also said that Reagan’s economic agenda served as the basis for improved conditions that came in the ’90s, as Clinton and Gingrich grew the economy using Reaganomics.

Shirley concluded saying, “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler “is not interested in the Facts.”

Craig Shirley is the author of Rendezvous With Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America, which detailed Reagan’s 1980 Campaign, and Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All, which detailed Reagan’s 1976 campaign. He is also the author of the best-selling December 1941; 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World and is the president of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. Shirley has lectured at the Reagan Library, is the Visiting Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Reagan Ranch. He is currently working on several future books including one telling the story of Reagan’s final years as President and his life post-presidency.

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