White House control and economic growth: the historical pattern

Every period of Democratic rule shows faster GDP growth than any period of Republican rule.
Remarkable, no?

A remarkable chart, from Dean Baker.

Annualized GDP rates, by administration, from 1960

Kennedy-Johnson &#8212 5.2%

Clinton &#8212 3.6%

Reagan &#8212 3.4%

Carter &#8212 3.4%

Nixon-Ford &#8212 2.7%

Bush II &#8212 2.6%

Bush I &#8212 1.9%

Tell your favorite Republican that economic growth under Jimmy Carter was faster than economic growth in the twelve Reagan-Bush “Morning in America” years, just to watch his head explode. As Adlai Stevenson used to say, if you want to live like a Republican, you’d better vote for a Democrat.

I’m sad to report that in this one domain, even GWB has been unable to make GHWB look good, and that even the coming recession won’t be able to change that. I guess Dad will have to be content with Junior’s having made him look like a foreign-policy genius.

Dean posts the chart to make a different point: that economics reporters for major daily papers are so professionally literate that they might as well be in the tank for the GOP. But you knew that.

Footnote Someone ought to take this back to 1920, treating Harding-Coolidge-Hoover, Roosevelt-Truman, Kennedy-Johnson, Nixon-Ford, and Reagan-Bush I as single units. I’m pretty sure that it would turn out that the country had experienced greater GDP growth under every period with Democrats in the White House than in any period with Republicans in the White House.

John Maynard Keynes has occupied a position in Republican demonology not far from Alger Hiss. Odd how reality has a way of striking back.

Update A reader points to this Angry Bear post, which in turn points to this BEA webpage, which takes us back to 1929. Numerate readers are invited to have at it.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com