Friday, May 23, 2014

Obama By the Numbers - GDP

Continuing on in our empirical series comparing economic performance under different presidencies, we look today at economic growth.  Here, even I was surprised based on the empirical data in two ways.

1.  Carter had a surprisingly high average economic growth rate.  Marginally higher than Reagan's (however this was due to a freakish one off event of 16.5% annualized economic growth in the 2nd quarter of 1978.  The reason for it I'm still trying to peg down).

2.  Bush Jr. had an even lower economic average than Obama, largely due to the walloping -8.3% contraction in late 2008.

Still, economic performance under Obama is nothing to get too excited about.  At 2.1% it is on par with the two nepotist presidents democrats love to loathe, and nowhere near Clinton, Reagan or Carter (two of which were dealing with real recessions).  But in all honesty and truth (because the facts don't lie) Obama is "not as bad" as Bush Jr.  However, while we can debate which economy is "marginally less sucky" under the hated Obama and the hated Bush, two points of order.

One, though not economic, Obama was billed as this brilliant, intelligent, genius by the media, academia and other arms of the democrat party.  However, Bush Jr received nothing but 120% the complete opposite of Obama.  He was an idiot, a war monger, etc. etc.  Still, the "holy and sacred" Obama could not really muster a significantly better economic performance than the loathed and galactically stupid Bush Jr.  If there is a criticism most conservatives, libertarians and republicans have, it's the egregious amount of handicap, affirmative action, and lowering of the bar the media and society has granted Obama while holding Bush to abusive and impossible standards.  The truth is that Obama is no better than Bush.

Two, Keynesian stimulus.  Understand with the LARGEST Keynesian stimulus since WWII, Obama can still only manage to be marginally better than Bush Jr.  This is like Barry Bonds taking steroids, but never hitting a home run.  Matter of fact, the above chart should strike fear into Keynesian zealots as the two presidents with the most amount of textbook Keynesian stimulus have the poorest economic performances.  Good lord, even Carter trounced them.

With that in mind, the next statistic we will look at will be precisely that - Keynesian stimulus in the form of deficit spending and national debt.  Something I'm sure doesn't need addressing, but it will be interesting to see just how much in economic steroids different presidents have been taking.


Peregrine John said...

You mention some exceptional events that have little or nothing to do with a given president yet severely mess with his total numbers. It'd be interesting to identify and drop them - positive and negative - from the data and see where they stand when the freak event factor is removed. I haven't the faintest clue how to do that, but it would be interesting and probably enlightening.

RobertW said...

As has been said often before, Presidents can do little to increase business growth, but they can do a lot to suppress it. My question for the Cap is would you rate Bush Jr's policies as more pro business, less pro business, or the same as Obama? I don't think Bush had animosity towards business the way Obama does - but then why the ho-hum numbers?

Anonymous said...

For late 70s data, read this: it's a fascinating look at the times.

Tim said...

What's Bush Jr's number without that 8.3% contraction? I'd posit that things feel much worse under Obama (and are) because he's presided over a period of sustained mediocrity, as opposed to W's decent-enough numbers until his crash.

Anonymous said...

Dems took hold of congress and spending in 2006 and are responsible for the "community redevelopment act" which caused the 2008 crisis despite Bush going to congress 3 times earlier to try to avoid it.

SFG said...

Um, the data doesn't really show what you're trying to argue. If anything, it shows there's no huge difference between Republicans and Democrats, and if there is a difference, it's just barely in favor of the Democrats--they have two high-growth presidents to the Republicans' one.