A Krugman blog post got me thinking —
Everyone in the Republican Party knows that Reagan presided over an economy that has never been equaled, before or since. When I was on TV with Rand Paul, he confidently declared
When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? It was under Ronald Reagan â€¦
Of course, itâ€™s not true …
Krugman goes on to say there was better job growth during the Clinton years, and President Obama hasn’t done that badly, either. But it isn’t just Republicans who somehow think only Republicans understand the economy. Polls going way back show that The Average Voter thinks that Republicans are better on the economy (and defense, and taxes) than Democrats.
And why do so many people think that, when it demonstrably isn’t true (and it isn’t)? IMO because Republicans declare it to be so, loudly and often, and Dems don’t stand up to them about it.
Last year some Princeton economists came out with a study that showed a rather startling gap between Dem and GOP administrations in how the economy performed, going back to World War II.
â€œThe U.S. economy not only grows faster, according to real GDP and other measures, during Democratic versus Republican presidencies, it also produces more jobs, lowers the unemployment rate, generates higher corporate profits and investment, and turns in higher stock market returns. Indeed, it outperforms under almost all standard macroeconomic metrics.â€
As I said, this came out last year, and I don’t recall seeing it at the time. But the differences are not minor. There’s a bar graph at the link above showing substantial differences in economic growth between D and R administrations. But the two articles I found about this, one by Chris Matthews (the one linked above) and the other by Robert Samuelson, both go to great lengths to not give Dems credit for being better on the economy. Samuelson is particularly brilliant —
If Republican presidents were saddled with most recessions, their growth and job creation records would naturally be worse. And thatâ€™s what the Blinder-Watson study shows. Since the late 1940s, the economy has spent about 12 years in recession. But 10 of those 12 years occurred under Republican presidents; only two occurred under Democrats. On average, the economy spent slightly more than a year in recession for each Republican term and only three months for each Democratic term.
If only Republicans hadn’t been saddled with those damn recessions!
To be fair, Samuelson explains that Dems focus on job growth while Republicans focus on reducing inflation. But inflation hasn’t been a problem since the 1980s. What’s their excuse since?
Economic policies pleasurable in the present can be disastrous for the future â€” for example, the inflationary policies of the 1960s. Similarly, the policies that fed the economic booms of the 1990s and the early 2000s spawned overconfidence that fostered the financial crisis.
The financial crisis was caused by the Clinton boom, in other words. It’s always the Dems’ fault.