Sunday, December 29, 2013

Presidents And The Economy. Who Was Best, Worst? Take The CSM Quiz.

The Great Depression
Brought on by a Republican President, a Republican Congress and a conservative Supreme Court.


"Republican Rule and Economic Catastrophe: A Lockstep Relationship"


Christian Science Monitor

Presidents and the economy: 

Who was best, worst? 

Take our quiz.

(Alan: In this quiz Democratic administrations had considerably more favorable economic outcomes while Republican performance was correspondingly mediocre to lousy.)

Selected Quiz Answers:

40. Under which administration did unemployment soar to a post-Depression high?

Under Reagan, the unemployment rate reached 10.8 percent in December 1982 – above even the Great Recession high of 10.0 percent under Obama. After peaking, the rate fell slightly faster under Reagan than Obama.

21. Under which administration of the past eight decades did income inequality (the income gap between the top 1 percent and everybody else) grow the most?

The Reagan administration saw the income share of the top 1 percent rise an average 6.4 percent per year, three times faster than any other administration.

19. Which president signed into law the biggest peacetime tax increase in US history.

A year after pushing through an across-the-board tax decrease of 23 percent, Ronald Reagan signed the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) in 1982, raising taxes by nearly 1 percent of GDP.

45. From 1929 to 2008, Republican presidents ruled for 40 years and Democrats for 40 years. Which party offered the better returns in the stock market?

Democrats' average compound return was 9.6 percent; Republicans, 0.6 percent.

46. Throw out Carter and Hoover. (Why? See the next paragraph.) Now imagine $100,000 invested only when the remaining Democrats or Republicans held the White House. Which party has had the best return on that $100,000?

The Republicans held a slight edge through 1992, but the stock market boomed under Clinton and fell under George W. Bush. Including Obama would further add to the Democrats' advantage.

47. Which party accounted for more growth in personal disposable income per capita?

Democrats averaged 2.9 percent a year over their 40 years in power; Republicans, 0.5 percent.

49. Which party accumulated more national debt between 1929 and 2008?

When adjusted for inflation, Republicans accumulated $7.1 trillion in debt; Democrats, $2.8 trillion.

52. Using the authors' 12 different economic indices, which were the Top 5 administrations in terms of handling the economy?

1. Kennedy/Johnson 2. Roosevelt (tie) 2. Clinton (tie) 4. Eisenhower 5. Obama

Surprised? By lagging economic performance by a year and rewarding presidents who keep a rein on taxes and government spending, World Bank economist and author Richard Carroll ranks the Top 5 postwar presidents differently: Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Eisenhower, and Ford. Historians, looking at overall leadership, have a different order. C-SPAN's 2009 survey of historians rated Franklin Roosevelt No. 3 among all presidents (behind Lincoln and Washington), Truman No. 5, Kennedy No. 6, Eisenhower No. 8, and Reagan No. 10. (Obama was not included.)
Partisans beware! This ranking – like all such rankings – depends on certain assumptions. Many economists discount an administration's first year, figuring that what happens with the economy is mostly a result of the previous administration's policies. These rankings, however, include the first year, letting presidents stand on their record as voters might see it.  

53. Which were the Bottom 5 administrations (with the worst first)?

1. Hoover 2. George W. Bush 3. Nixon/Ford 4.Carter 5. George H.W. Bush

Mr. Carroll's ranking of the Bottom 5 postwar presidents (Hoover's not included) are: George W. Bush, Carter, George H.W. Bush, Obama, Reagan. The C-SPAN historians survey puts George W. Bush at No. 7 and Hoover at No. 9 on its list of 10 worst presidents.

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