What can I do for my country? you ask. You can email this chart to everyone you know.
Since 1929, Republicans and Democrats have each controlled the presidency for nearly 40 years. So which party has been better for American pocketbooks and capitalism as a whole? Well, hereâ€™s an experiment: imagine that during these years you had to invest exclusively under either Democratic or Republican administrations. How would you have fared?
As of Friday, a $10,000 investment in the S.& P. stock market index* would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only, although that would be $51,211 if we exclude Herbert Hooverâ€™s presidency during the Great Depression. Invested under Democratic presidents only, $10,000 would have grown to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9 percent over nearly 40 years.
You can also email this article titled “The Simple Arithmetic of Employment: Job Growth Is Always Higher When a Democrat Is In The White House.”
[Update: The email function for the above article seems to be busted. You can email this post instead; see “Email This” link at the end of the post.]
So why is it so many people believe Republicans are better for the economy? Because Republicans say they are. Over and over and over. With great conviction. I’m sure they believe it. But they are nuts.
For that reason, I think Harold Meyerson is jumping the gun a bit in his column “The God That Failed.”
Today, conservative intellectuals might want to consider writing a tome on the failure of their own beloved deity, unregulated capitalism. The fall of the financial system has been so fast and far-reaching that there’s been no time to fully consider its implications for the reigning economic theology of the past 30 years. But with the most right-wing administration in modern American history scurrying to nationalize the banks, the question cannot be elided indefinitely.
What exactly do economic conservatives believe now that their god is dead? What’s become of the glories of privatized Social Security? Of the merits of 401(k)s vs. defined-benefit pensions?
Meyerson assumes the ideologues pay attention to the real world. Although I think the True Believers will have a harder time pushing their unregulated capitalism privatization is best trickle down supply side swill in the near future, they will not lose faith in it. They’ll blame George Bush for this little glitch of a global financial crisis somehow, but say their theories are still correct, and Bush simply didn’t adhere to them faithfully enough.
Meanwhile, nearly 70 percent of Americans now want stricter regulation of the financial sector. From the Los Angeles Times:
“I always thought the least amount of government in people’s lives, the better,” said Bagley, 29, a poll respondent who was contacted in a follow-up interview. “But now you see what happens when you take it to the extreme.”
Exactly. The problem with wingnuts is that they can think only in extremes. Judging by their rhetoric, they think there are only two kinds of government — totalitarian communism or laissez-faire libertarianism. And they apply something like a one-drop rule to judge which is which — even one drop of un-laissez-faire libertarian policy renders a nation into a Stalinist gulag. For this reason, they cannot be worked with. Either vanquish them, or surrender.
So they cannot be educated. But, apparently nearly 70 percent of the American people can be educated, which is no bad thing. Now is the time for progressives like us to do everything we can to educate our fellow citizens about economic reality. It’s what we can do for our country.
“Misplaced Blame,” New York Times editorial
“Let’s Spend Money” by Dean Baker