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President Reagan took a different approach. He believed our economic system was not to blame for the recession he inherited, but it was the government’s policies that needed changing. Like President Kennedy did in the 1960s, he cut income taxes across the board, including the maximum tax rate on job creators.

In a recent opinion column in The Washington Times, free-market economist Richard Rahn, who was chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the time, relates what happened: “Under Reagan, adult black unemployment fell by 20 percent, but under Mr. Obama, it has increased by 42 percent. Black teenage unemployment fell by 16 percent under Reagan, but has risen by 56 percent under Mr. Obama.”

What Mr. Obama is selling is the politics of victimization. His answer to the jobs crisis isn’t to give the economy new tax incentives to invest and expand business; it’s more government.

Immediately after being sworn into office, Reagan flatly declared that “government is the problem” and that freeing private enterprise from suffocating taxation and regulation were the answers.

To those who said his tax cuts would help only the rich, Kennedy said “a rising tide lifts all boats,” and Reagan believed that, too. A sign of the times during the 1980s was the emergence of an inspiring magazine called Black Enterprise that heralded the successes of countless black entrepreneurs.

Mr. Obama’s focus on the Mall wasn’t on how to stimulate business startups and job creation. He did not address the most deeply held concerns of another young black woman out in the crowd who, The Post reported, held a homemade sign that read, “The dream without work is dead.”

What a tragedy that Mr. Obama’s policies will produce only more economic stagnation, long-term unemployment and lives of quiet desperation.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.