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Fri, Oct. 18

Letter: A crash course in recession history

What's a recession? School kids are skipping history and civics with "No child left behind." So let your students read this history.

When a nation has a huge deficit spending or a huge debt (such as the current $9 trillion debt and 6 percent unemployment) it creates a credit crunch and a recession. Treasury bonds soak up most of the credit. Issuing more Treasury bond debt only makes the problem worse. Check our post-war history.

• Harry Truman - no recession, unemployment 2.9 percent, 1953.

• Dwight Eisenhower - 10-month recession, 1960-61; stock market fell 21 percent, 1957; unemployment 6.7 percent, 1961.

• John Kennedy - no recession, 1961-63; unemployment 3.8 percent, 1961.

• Lyndon Johnson - no recession, unemployment 3.8 percent, 1969.

• Richard Nixon - 11-month recession, 1969-70; stock market fell 36 percent, 1970; unemployment 8.5 percent, 1973.

• Gerald Ford - 16-month recession, 1973-75; stock market fell 48 percent, 1974; unemployment 8.5 percent 1975.

• Jimmy Carter - six-month recession, 1980; stock market fell 11 percent, 1979; unemployment 5.8 percent, 1979. Total U.S. debt less than $1 trillion.

• Ronald Reagan - 16-month recession, 1981-82; stock market fell 27 percent, 1980-82; stock market fell 34 percent, 1987; unemployment 10 percent, 1982.

• George H. Bush - eight-month recession, 1991; stock market fell 20 percent, 1990; unemployment 7.5 percent.

• Bill Clinton - no recession, budget surplus, 1998-99; stock market up 300 percent, 1993 to 2000; unemployment 4 percent.

• George W. Bush - 10-month recession, 2001-02; stock market fell 49 percent 2001-02; unemployment 7 percent 2002; stock market up 66 percent 2003-07; added $4 trillion to debt, a second recession, 2008; stock market down 9 percent, 2008.

Who said deficits and huge debt don't matter?

Quentin David

Prescott

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