What People Flub About the Gipper Will Bunch tackles five enduring myths about Ronald Reagan By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Feb 6, 2011 8:42 AM CST 97 comments Comments Will Bunch takes on five myths about Ronald Reagan in today's Washington Post. (?Monticello Society) (Newser) – Today is the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan, so Will Bunch takes the opportunity to clear up five commonly believed myths about the conservative icon in the Washington Post: Reagan was a very popular president. While Reagan scores high marks now, his approval rating in office averaged just 52.8%. In fact, the 40th president had huge swings in popularity—the highest after he was shot in 1981, the lowest after unemployment peaked in 1982 (35%). At the peak of Iran-Contra, about one in three Americans wanted him to quit. Reagan cut taxes. After a big tax cut in 1981, the very next year he enacted what was then the largest ever peacetime tax hike. In fact, Reagan raised taxes six of his eight years in office. Reagan shrank government. Federal spending increased an average of 2.5% a year (adjusted for inflation) under Reagan and the national debt soared to nearly $3 trillion from $700 billion. Click for the complete list.