And the truth is?
Presimetrics: What the Facts Tell Us About How the Presidents Measure Up On the Issues We Care About by Mike Kimel and Michael E. Kanell [330.973KIM] will help you to figure it all out.
This from the Introduction:
What we discovered over and over again in the course of our research was surprising. It turns out that in many cases, what most people believe happened in the past didn't. In fact, the pundits and historians are often wrong. For example, it's commonly acknowledged that President Reagan was successful in cutting the size of the federal government. But this opinion is simply not borne out by the data. Of the eleven American presidents who served from the end of World War II to 2008, Reagan was the only one who increased both the size of the national debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the percentage of Americans employed by the federal government.In case you think the authors have a bias, rest assured, there is no evidence of it. They explained:
And if there's one thing about this book of which we are proud, it is the approach we followed. We started by picking the most important issues we could come up with, and then tried to find the data we needed to figure out what actually happened, and why. We tried to be consistent, and to treat each issue, data set, and administration the same way. And we never tossed out an answer because we didn't like it. Our philosophy was to ask questions and let the data answer.Some fun and surprising reading ahead!