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Myths Debunked:
Republicans Are Better for the Economy than Democrats



The New York Times

Bush's Record on Jobs: Risking Unhappy Comparisons

By DAVID LEONHARDT                  July 3, 2003

For George W. Bush, the race has begun to escape comparisons to Herbert Hoover.

With more than two million jobs having disappeared since Mr. Bush took office in January 2001, he finds himself in danger of becoming the first president since Hoover to oversee a decline in the country's employment. Economists disagree on how much blame, if any, Mr. Bush deserves for the long slump, but even White House aides view the economy as one of the only big threats to his re-election campaign.

Now, a turning point could be approaching. The Labor Department will release its jobs report for June this morning, and some forecasters are predicting that it will mark the beginning of a rebound. An increase in the nation's payrolls — the odds of which are roughly even, Wall Street economists say — would be the first since January…

[How many times has that “turning point” been predicted?—Caro]

The New York Times

Presidents and Job Growth

Crain’s Chicago Business

Voters waiting for GOP, Dems to get the message

November 25, 2002
By Rance Crain

Conventional wisdom would lead you to believe that Republican mid-term election victories, coupled with a half-point Federal Reserve Board interest rate cut, would release frenzied refrains of "Happy days are here again" on Wall Street. But that didn't happen.

Could it be the stock market rallied a month before the elections on the premise that the Democrats would add to their razor-thin U.S. Senate margin and even reclaim control in the House of Representatives? Could it be the stock rally fizzled because Republicans, instead, gained the upper hand?

The GOP, of course, is the party that's supposed to be better for stocks and business. But Republicans are also known for cutting taxes, thereby helping to create big federal budget deficits. Deficits drive interest rates up, higher interest drives inflation up and inflation is the sworn enemy of the stock market.

Not long ago, we knew all that…

[When the scion of a business publication empire realizes that Republicans being better for the economy is a myth, perhaps that myth is on it way to being debunked.—Caro]

Mother Jones

'Office Park Dads' and Economic Leadership

Key swing voters tend to believe that Republicans handle economic issues better, which bodes well for the GOP this fall. But is that belief based in fact?

Sign of the Times? The issue is the same. Will the debate be as simplistic?By Arthur I. Blaustein
September 23, 2002

News flash: Pollsters -- who seem to decide what candidates say and do -- have determined that "soccer moms," the object of candidates' affections in the 2000 campaign, are out. "Office park dads" are in. Conventional pollster wisdom has it that both parties will battle for the votes of this 15 per cent of the electorate. They are suburban, married, 25-50 years old, non-union, corporate executives or professionals, earn around $60,000 and, we are told, will determine the outcome of the 2002 election.

An updated version of the Reagan Democrats, these swing voters tend to support Republican candidates in national elections, particularly when the key issue is managing the economy. The reason is simple: As a recent CBS/N.Y. Times poll found, a majority of voters believe that Republicans are better at managing the economy. I've heard the same basic argument -- that the Democrats have better social programs but the Republicans are better managers of the economy -- more often than I've heard Judy Garland sing "Over the Rainbow." But is that argument based in fact?...

Welcome to the Economic Sweepstakes Quiz. The rules are simple. Guess which president since World War II did best on these eight generally accepted measures of good economic management. You can choose among five Republicans (Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and poppa Bush) and five Democrats (Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton).

Which president produced:

1. The highest growth in the gross domestic product?
2. The biggest increase in jobs?
3. The biggest increase in personal disposable income after taxes?
4. The highest growth in industrial production?
5. The biggest rise in hourly wages?
6. The lowest Misery Index (inflation plus unemployment)?
7. The lowest inflation?
8. The largest reduction in the federal budget deficit?

Done guessing? Okay, here are the answers: 1. Truman; 2. Carter; 3. Johnson; 4. Kennedy; 5. Johnson; 6. Truman; 7. Truman; 8. Clinton. A Democratic sweep.

If this isn't enough to destroy the myth that the economy has performed better under Republicans, consider that the stock market has historically fared better when a Democrat is in the White House. During the 20th century, The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose, on average, 7.3 percent per year under Republican presidents. Under Democrats, it rose 10.3 percent -- which means investors gained a whopping 41 percent more. And that figure is even higher if you factor in last year's nose-dive...

Los Angeles Times


Like Father, Like Son: The Economic Indicators Head South

The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Sep 30, 2002; Ronald Brownstein

When it comes to the economy, the Bush family is on an intergenerational losing streak.

Nearly halfway through his term, President Bush's economic record is beginning to look a lot like that of his father, former President George Bush. That isn't good news for the younger Bush. Or for the economy.

Most key measures of economic well-being for average families declined under the first President Bush. Then, after an unsteady start, almost all of those same measures improved during Bill Clinton's eight years in the White House.

Now, under the second President Bush, the trend lines are pointing down again.

The pattern was dramatically underscored last week when the Census Bureau released its annual reports on income and poverty in America. Together, these two studies provide the most comprehensive snapshot of the economic well-being of American families. On both fronts, the news was grim--and a throwback to the economy's performance under the first President Bush.

From 1989 through 1992, when the elder Bush held the presidency, the number of Americans in poverty increased by 6.5 million, according to Census Bureau figures. That was the largest increase in poverty under any president in the last 40 years.

The new census figures showed that the ranks of the poor increased by an additional 1.3 million during George W. Bush's first year in office. So, in five years combined under the Bushes, the number of Americans in poverty has swelled by 7.8 million.

By contrast, during Clinton's eight years, the number of Americans in poverty declined by 7.7 million...



Bush I


Bush II

Median income

ê 4.9%

é 14.5%

ê 2.2%

Americans in poverty

é 6.5 million

ê 7.7 million

é 1.3 million

Job creation

2.3 million
new jobs

22.9 million
new jobs

1.5 million
fewer jobs

Federal budget

Deficit of
$290 billion
in last year

Surplus of
$236 billion
in last year

Deficit of
$160 billion
in latest year

Unemployment rate

é 1.9%

ê 3.1%

é 1.5%

Percentage of Americans
   without health insurance

é 1.4%

ê 0.8%

é 0.4%

Source: The above LA Times article

See the graphs. is keeping track of Bush II's economic record

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Last changed: December 13, 2009