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Old 06-29-2012, 12:54 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Democratic Presidents Are Better for the Economy

Because I don't think we've been arguing enough recently.

Results are based on a study examining economic performance of every President since Truman

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-0...e-economy.html

Democratic Presidents Are Better for the Economy
By Richard J. Carroll
Jun 25, 2012 5:30 PM CT

The prevailing political wisdom says that a U.S. president should win re-election if gasoline prices are stable, the stock market is climbing and monthly jobless numbers are declining.

There is some logic to this: Such indicators affect our pocketbooks and our psyches, whether or not the president has much control over them. Yet short-term economic fluctuations are not what make the nation strong or a president great.

A president is a success economically if he can help steer the country onto a longer-term path of broadly shared economic growth, and if his policies lay a foundation for sustainable prosperity for the future. Although it isn’t easy for voters to determine if a president is contributing to long-term economic success, they can do better than base their decisions on gas prices.

After three years in office, President Barack Obama has enough of a record to judge against the economic performances of other recent presidents. The rankings can help you cast a more informed vote in November -- one that doesn’t view Obama in isolation or depend on which candidate’s super-PAC spent the most on advertising.

In “The President as Economist: Scoring Economic Performance From Harry Truman to Barack Obama,” I compare the 12 presidents since World War II using 17 economic indicators, including growth in gross domestic product, rate of unemployment, inflation, population below the poverty line, increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, savings and investment rates, exports and trade balances, federal budget growth, and debt and federal taxes as a share of GDP.

Smaller Government

The analysis accepts Republican economic philosophy that says the U.S. would be better off with a lower rate of federal budget growth and a smaller federal budget relative to GDP. So presidents were penalized if the federal budget grew faster than the economy during their terms. Likewise, higher tax revenue as a share of GDP also counts against a president’s record. It is a framework that rewards smaller government.

The book examines each indicator for each administration, and boils down the many aspects of a president’s economic performance to a single score. The scores are derived using basic statistical methods, including averaging each president’s indicators, then determining standard deviations from the mean. These methods produce a common unit of comparison for indicators that are expressed in different units, such as growth rates and shares of GDP. The results may surprise you (table).

As you can see, Presidents Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson rank first through third. Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush make up the bottom three. President Ronald Reagan is No. 8, just one slot above President Obama.

It’s important to note that the analysis uses a one-year lag on the indicators to reflect that a president’s first year in office is usually dominated by the federal budgets and policies adopted under the previous administration. No reasonable economist would blame the 10.5 percent inflation rate and other weak economic conditions of 1981 on Reagan. Clearly, Carter was mainly responsible, presidentially speaking. Similarly, the slow economic growth of 2001 had nothing to do with George W. Bush’s policies, and Obama cannot credibly be blamed for the economic fallout of 2009.

Informed Vote

Truman’s first-place finish owes mainly to the vast improvement in fiscal indicators. He was the only president, for example, who averaged a budget surplus (2.4 percent of the federal budget). He reduced the national debt as a share of GDP by 46.1 percentage points (from 117.5 percent in 1945 to 71.4 percent in 1953), and tax revenue as a share of GDP at 16.6 percent was second lowest (only Obama’s 15.3 percent is lower). Truman’s indicators in the general economy include the second- lowest average unemployment rate, 4.0 percent; the second- highest annual productivity growth rate, 3.2 percent; and the best average trade balance, a surplus of 1.6 percent of GDP.

In the middle of the rankings, we find Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon at six and seven. It might surprise some that Nixon is right behind Clinton because the 1970s produced such checkered economic results and Clinton is highly regarded for his management of the economy.

Nixon, however, had the highest average savings rate; the second-lowest percentage of the population below the poverty line; and the second-highest increase in exports. Nixon also had some big negatives, including the second-highest average inflation rate of 6.6 percent and the highest increase in unemployment of 4.9 percentage points.

Clinton’s term produced the second-largest reduction of population below the poverty line. He came in fourth for GDP growth of 3.6 percent; and he scored third for annual stock- market growth. Clinton’s negatives include the worst deterioration in the balance of trade at 2.6 percentage points of GDP -- a surprise considering that he won congressional approval for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In the end, Clinton comes out ahead of Nixon, but not by much. Had Nixon not resigned and instead finished his second term, his record would have benefited from the 1976-1977 recovery years, putting him ahead of Clinton.

At the bottom of the standings, the George W. Bush administration had many strong negatives and few positives. Bush 43 had the lowest GDP growth rate at 1.4 percent; the worst average trade balance; the highest increase in population below the poverty line; and the biggest increase in the national debt.

Counting as positives on Bush 43’s record were his low average inflation rate of 1.8 percent (third place), second-best export level at 10.8 percent of GDP, and the highest drop in tax revenue as a share of GDP, 4.4 percentage points (from 19.5 to 15.1 percent).

Party Comparisons

The rankings can also be used for performance comparisons of the two political parties. Conveniently, there are six Republicans and six Democrats, so if we take the average for Democratic and Republican presidents we can make a head-to-head party comparison. The Democratic presidents scored substantially higher than the Republican presidents, with a score of 26.95. Republican presidents scored -26.95.

Other statistical tests, including the so-called min-max method, which moderates the influence of extreme indicator values, produce similar results. These are consistent considering that the top three performers are Democrats and two out of the lowest three are Republicans. Five out of six Democrats reduced the national debt as a percentage of GDP, while four out of six Republicans raised it. The story is similar on budget deficits, with five of the top six performances recorded by Democrats and four of the bottom five recorded by Republicans.

With respect to GDP growth, three of the top four performers were Democrats and four of the bottom five were Republicans. In reducing the poverty rate, the top three were Democrats and two of the bottom three were Republicans. The Democrats also had a better record on employment.

Republicans had better records on reducing inflation, achieving four of the top five performances, while Democrats had four of the bottom five showings. Republicans also did well in lowering tax revenue as a percentage of GDP, claiming the top five spots.

So what does this tell us about Obama? When all of the indicators are combined, he ranks ninth out of 12, one position below Reagan but above Bush 41, Carter and Bush 43. Obama is also well below the midpoint that falls between Clinton and Nixon. For Republicans who view Reagan as an economic miracle- maker and Obama as, well, something less than that, it might come as a shock that Obama falls next in line in economic performance.

Though Obama’s performance doesn’t sound very impressive when compared with all the presidents, it is respectable when compared with his immediate predecessor, Bush 43. Lined up against his contemporaries after 1977, Obama ranks third out of six.

Voters can decide whether to re-elect Obama according to gas prices, the monthly jobs reports and fluctuations in the stock market. Or they could take the long view and look closely at where the U.S. economy stood when he took office and where it is today, as Part 2 of this series will explore.

(Richard J. Carroll is an economist at the World Bank. This article, the first of three, is based on his new book, “The President as Economist: Scoring Economic Performance From Harry Truman to Barack Obama,” published in June by Praeger. The opinions expressed are his own.)
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:02 AM   #76
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My rant about "adequate equipment": How in the blue hell could our military not adequately equip our soldiers when we spend 43% of what the world spends on military expenditures and China & Russia collectively only spend 10%? There is no justification any military brass could give me that would make it ok for even one of our combat soldiers marching into Iraq without body armor, batteries for night vision, adequate armor in humvees to protect against ieds, etc. I saw a video a while back where a cameraman was following some troops while they went to buy batteries for their govt issued night vision with their own money because they weren't provided any. As far as I'm concerned, heads should have rolled when our boys were sent into firefights without the necessary equipment. Someone didn't do their job.
That's because you have a cartoonish understanding of our military like so many others. HumVees were never supposed to be armored. That's why our troops were sent to Iraq in unarmored HumVees. It was only after experience with the IED problem that we realized that a vehicle designed primarily for transportation behind our lines was poorly suited for this different kind of war (without lines).

Even at 43% of global military spending (assuming that number is right), trade-offs must be made. To fully equip all of our troops with the best possible equipment to meet every possible contingency would cost a heck of a lot more than that and I don't suppose that you are arguing for massive defense spending increases, are you?
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:36 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
That's because you have a cartoonish understanding of our military like so many others. HumVees were never supposed to be armored. That's why our troops were sent to Iraq in unarmored HumVees. It was only after experience with the IED problem that we realized that a vehicle designed primarily for transportation behind our lines was poorly suited for this different kind of war (without lines).

Even at 43% of global military spending (assuming that number is right), trade-offs must be made. To fully equip all of our troops with the best possible equipment to meet every possible contingency would cost a heck of a lot more than that and I don't suppose that you are arguing for massive defense spending increases, are you?
Our intelligence is a bit better than suddenly experiencing the IED problem. How about the battery issue and the body armor issue?
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:40 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
That's because you have a cartoonish understanding of our military like so many others. HumVees were never supposed to be armored. That's why our troops were sent to Iraq in unarmored HumVees. It was only after experience with the IED problem that we realized that a vehicle designed primarily for transportation behind our lines was poorly suited for this different kind of war (without lines).

Even at 43% of global military spending (assuming that number is right), trade-offs must be made. To fully equip all of our troops with the best possible equipment to meet every possible contingency would cost a heck of a lot more than that and I don't suppose that you are arguing for massive defense spending increases, are you?
Our intelligence is a bit better than suddenly experiencing the IED problem (the term comes from the British Army when the IRA used them in the 1970s). How about the battery issue and the body armor issue(no cartoon there)?
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:02 AM   #79
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Our intelligence is a bit better than suddenly experiencing the IED problem. How about the battery issue and the body armor issue?
Like I said, if you want a gold-plated military, you're going to have to be willing to pay more for it. As it was (unarmored HumVees, limited batteries and body armor, etc.), we still rolled through Iraq's military like a hot knife through butter... twice... with astonishingly low casualty rates. The proof that we were adequately prepared and equipped is in that pudding.
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:32 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Like I said, if you want a gold-plated military, you're going to have to be willing to pay more for it. As it was (unarmored HumVees, limited batteries and body armor, etc.), we still rolled through Iraq's military like a hot knife through butter... twice... with astonishingly low casualty rates. The proof that we were adequately prepared and equipped is in that pudding.
At $700 billion vs. China spending $119 billion, I'd say our military should be solid gold.
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:42 PM   #81
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At $700 billion vs. China spending $119 billion, I'd say our military should be solid gold.
People say lots of things.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:42 PM   #82
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At $700 billion vs. China spending $119 billion, I'd say our military should be solid gold.
That just shows how out of touch you are with the military.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:10 AM   #83
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Does the president rule like a king or does he work with congress? You are such a ****ing dumbass.
Dude.... I got that from YOU. You're the guy who said a president "deserves huge praise" if an economic factor improves during his watch (see quote below).

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Jackson's the only President to leave office with a debt free nation. The praise he deserves for that is huge.
If you believe your own writing, you'd praise Obama cuz he reduced government spending by a factor of 5 over Reagan.... spending growth under Obama is WAY slower than it was under any president in recent history. That is one heckuva economic improvement. I don't get it... are you saying that you were a ****ing dumbass for praising presidents when an economic factor improves, or just calling me a ****ing dumbass for adopting your philosophy on the subject?
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Old 07-03-2012, 05:59 AM   #84
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People say lots of things.
That's a two way street.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:57 AM   #85
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That's a two way street.
Sure it is, except I backed mine up with two amazingly successful wars.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:38 AM   #86
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Sure it is, except I backed mine up with two amazingly successful wars.
Honestly not trying to poke you in your side with this question (I really would like to know), but do you really consider the war to be amazingly successful?
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:46 AM   #87
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Honestly not trying to poke you in your side with this question (I really would like to know), but do you really consider the entire war and occupation of Iraq to be amazingly successful?
The military aspects, which is what we're talking about here, were all amazingly successful. We didn't lose battles. Our casualty rates were very low by historical standards. To the extent that it took us longer to reduce the insurgency to manageable levels than we would have liked, it wasn't because we under-equipped our soldiers.

I don't understand how you can simultaneously hold the views that we spend too much on our military and that we don't equip our military adequately.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:55 AM   #88
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Sure it is, except I backed mine up with two amazingly successful wars.
Ho boy.

I just dipped into this thread. Took no time at all to find pat going full retard.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:56 AM   #89
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I don't understand how you can simultaneously hold the views that we spend too much on our military and that we don't equip our military adequately.
Why can't you understand that?

They're not mutually exclusive statements.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:57 AM   #90
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I love pat declaring our war in Afghanistan to be amazingly successful, militarily.

That's like saying my SUV was amazingly successful in flattening that bicycle some kid left in the street.

THE US MILITARY ROUTED THE TALIBAN IN OPEN WARFARE. SIMPLY AMAZING.
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