Since Barack Obama became president-elect, many in the mainstream media have claimed he will inherit the greatest economic crisis since FDR.
Interestingly, many in the media made similar claims before Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president. For example, according to the January 19, 1981 issue of Newsweek, “When Ronald Reagan steps into the White House next week, he will inherit the most dangerous economic crisis since Franklin Roosevelt took office 48 years ago.”
Is Obama really facing an economic crisis greater than Reagan faced 28 years ago?
The misery index (the sum of the inflation rate and the unemployment rate) was 21.98 in June 1980. It was down to 10.07 when Reagan left office in January 1988. The misery index was 7.77 in November 2008.
Given that the misery index was nearly three times as high when Reagan became president than it is today, it appears the claim that Obama will inherit the greatest economic crisis since FDR is quite an exaggeration.