What Spending Did Reagan Increase?


Quick Answer

Former President Reagan increased the spending on defense, education, energy and Social Security among many others. Under Reagan's administration, the education and energy budgets doubled while spending on Medicare and federal entitlements also increased. The increased spending tripled the U.S. national debt from $1 trillion to $3 trillion.

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Full Answer

The increased spending and tax cuts generated significant economic growth from 1982 to 1990. The tax cuts implemented by Reagan significantly increased federal revenues by about 28 percent between 1980 and 1990.

Critics of Reagan's economic policies state that whatever gains were achieved through tax cuts were reversed by other deductions introduced in later years. For example, the income tax deductions that were implemented in 1981 were quickly reversed by gradual tax increases from 1982 that would recover all the lost revenue by 1989. Critics also claim that Reagan's administration increased bureaucracy by hiring more civil servants.

Reagan restored the U.S. economy to a real economic growth rate of about 3.6 percent between 1983 and 1990, during which period the economy grew by about a third. This was the longest period of economic expansion since World War II. The tax cuts implemented by Reagan were greatest for the lowest tax groups, but even the top taxpayers enjoyed significant tax reductions.

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