The Best Presidents for the Economy

We're two weeks away from the presidential election. You will inevitably hear over the coming days that this will be one of the most important elections of our lifetimes. I'm not sure that's the case. One of my favorite election quotes comes from bank lobbyist Andrew Lowenthal: "Every election I've ever been involved with has been 'the most important election in history.' At some point, it's not. It's just the path of history."

In general, presidents get too much credit for the economy when things are good, and too much blame when things are poor. We tend to imagine every blip in the stock market and every unemployment report as a direct reflection of a president's policies -- particularly during election years. In reality, Congress and the Federal Reserve probably have just as much, if not more, sway over the economy than any president. And one president's policies can spill over into the next administration, making it difficult to sort out who is liable for what. We have a hard enough time accurately measuring what the economy is doing, let along assigning responsibility for its moves.

Still, everyone should know a little economic history. And the cleanest way to get a feel for how the economy has done under past presidents is to just lay the numbers bare.

Here are five economic variables going back to 1900, covering every president from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama.

1. Stock market performance
This is the inflation-adjusted, dividend-adjusted, performance of the S&P 500:

2. Corporate profits

A word here: Corporate profits were incredibly depressed from the financial crisis in January 2009, when President Obama entered office. That low starting point makes growth through today look massive. If, instead of January 2009, you use January 2008 profit levels as a starting base, average annual corporate profit growth under President Obama is 6.8%.

3. Real GDP per capita
This measures growth of the entire economy adjusted for the size of the population:

Another note here: World War II spending was near a peak when President Roosevelt passed away in 1945, boosting the economy and annual growth. Real GDP fell 12% between 1945 and 1947 as wartime spending tapered off.

4. Inflation

5. Unemployment rate
This is the change in the unemployment rate during presidential terms (or through September for President Obama), measured in percentage points. Unemployment is measured by a yearly average before 1955; after, it is measured on a monthly basis.

What do you make of these numbers? Share your thoughts below.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 4:50 PM, ynotc wrote:

    This list has little meaning.

    Stock market performance has only one place to go when there has been a massive overselling due to a cataclysmic event. Do we really want a 25% return after a 50% drop?

    Corporate profits; do we want increased profits at the expense of greater employment?

    Real GDP per capita; increases from some presidents that are higher on the list come from increased government spending. Unfortunately this has diminishing returns as the economy gets larger.

    Inflation; this number has not been adjusted to account for the variance in how the number is derived under different presidents. I.E. The basket of goods measured has changed.

    Unemployment rate; Do we really want to stomach a 25% drop to see a 33% gain. Also see discussion above regarding how the numbers are derived now vs. earlier.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 5:06 PM, savant55 wrote:

    Over the last 30 days, the DJI has dropped 3.70%. An average citizen with a $200,000 401k would have lost overall about $7400. Since the great demise of the market in October 2007, the old fashioned way of buying stocks based upon profitability and credibile company business plans has gone by the wayside. Instead, those who have millions are buying and selling, making tremendous profits and essentially manipulating the market. The result is that most regular investors have moved away from the market because they are smart enough to realize it is a game.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 5:16 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    >>Stock market performance has only one place to go when there has been a massive overselling due to a cataclysmic event. Do we really want a 25% return after a 50% drop?<<

    As opposed to a 50% drop after a 50% drop? Yes!

    >>do we want increased profits at the expense of greater employment?<<

    As opposed to decreased profits at the expense of greater employment? Yes!

    I see this article not as a political endorsement, but as a sign that economies aren't fully reliant (or even heavily reliant) on specific political parties. Additionally, investing in good companies will yield good results, regardless of party affiliations.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 5:32 PM, Snertie wrote:

    This list is completely meaningless.

    @savant55 nails it: Few of us are "investing" anymore. We're either maneuvering defensively or waiting for the next bubble just hoping to beat out inflation.

    The market is now optimized for rent seekers, not investors. Until that changes, the America we knew will remain a memory.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 5:43 PM, energywonk wrote:

    If none of you are investing, then why are you reading The Mottley Fool? Of course these numbers have some meaning --- it might not tell the entire story but its a window....

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 5:44 PM, WyattJunker wrote:

    "In reality, Congress and the Federal Reserve probably have just as much, if not more, sway over the economy than any president."

    In reality, if the president and Congress had exercised fiscal restraint then the federal reserve wouldn't have had to act with such extreme, unwarranted prejudice as a counterbalance to their dereliction of duty.

    Without the Bernanke, Obama couldn't have said his first 5 lies, let alone his 5,000 that followed. Benanke is Obama's fiscal condom, and yes, it is about to burst.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 5:44 PM, LoadDrive wrote:

    Please Stop sending Me" Trash like this" Matter-Of-Fact....I plan to Vote the Trash Out of the White House.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 5:47 PM, FoolishRR wrote:

    I love it! Real data, rather than political blather telling us how to think and vote. Very stimulating.....

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 5:53 PM, maccdw wrote:

    Data. If you dislike these data, you claim they mean nothing. Imagine what would be posted here if these data supported, say, Mitt Romney instead.

    Democratic administrations have long been better for the economy than Republican administrations. This fact, of course, is considered a myth at Fox and other GOP outlets. Facts can be so inconvenient.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 5:54 PM, Jarmbru wrote:

    Loved the second paragraph of this article. In truth Presidents don't have much effect on the economy compared to other forces such as the banks (e.g. 2007) and Congress. Blaming Obama or giving credit to Obama for the entire state of American and even the world economy is just pure nonsense, and it's a farce when Romney or Obama make any claims to that effect.

    It is always good to have facts and to study them. It is not always easy to know what they mean and how to act on them. Better to start with facts and to then form an opinion and take action than to adopt an attitude and then cherry pick the available data to prove the attitude. Are you listening The Donald?

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:01 PM, jm7700229 wrote:

    @savant55 and @snertie -- can't agree. It would be hard to explain the runup in the markets since the bubble burst on a few of the megarich manipulating it. I'm a retiree living on savings from self employment. I am a moderately active investor as well. Painful as 2007 and 2008 were, if you weren't one of the people who panicked, sold at the low, and contributed to the crash, you have probably done quite well with conservative investing, as I have.

    There have been many articles about the difference between people's beliefs about the market (very negative) and its actual performance (very positive). I remember being told in the late '90s that "the rules have changed." They hadn't. Now I'm hearing that "investing is dead." It's not.

    That said, I do agree that charting presidential terms against a measure of national economic performance is as meaningful as charting my weekly calorie consumption against the performance of my favorite NFL team.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:02 PM, snapperreef wrote:

    Like political polls, these numbers can show trends, but the footnotes explaining Truman's poor GDP performance after WWII have to be included to keep one from jumping to unwarranted conclusions.

    Just watch out when making conclusions about points in time.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:12 PM, Snertie wrote:

    @jm7700229, I have a simple explanation for you: Inflation, as a result of the neo-Keynesian cheap money policy of the Fed for the last 10 years. The economy is being pumped full of cheap money, with no where real to go. So it's been flooding the markets.

    Once there is real demand for goods & services again, this inflation will migrate from the markets as prices of real goods and services get bid up.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:18 PM, DoctorLewis4 wrote:

    Thanks for the article. Hard to argue with facts.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:22 PM, matthunt97 wrote:

    Sure enough more "big" data and information that is supposedly correlated to something, in this case presidents. We seem to forget that a policy put in place by a previous administration may bear fruit in another, let alone all the external forces that a president can not control (even though he might wish he could). It is likely that the current state of affairs of deficit spending, the lack of jobs, and corporations and individuals taking defensive positions, plus other ills, has been brewing from the toxic policies of a whole generation. Now that the steam has built enough pressure we are confronted with the possibility of a lid blowing off. The fiscal CLIFF!!

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:23 PM, twobeerjohn wrote:

    While the stock market has been good the last 2 years, O'Bummer had nothing to do with it. Like O'Bummer had anything to do with the good earnings reported by the companies that drove the market. They were coming off of Bush years with good numbers. Come on, this article is a pile of crap. I've been playing the market since 1972, and know when a president has something to do with it. Clinton had little to do with the internet bubble that drove up the market of the late 90's. That market was due more to Bill Gates than Bill Clinton. C'mon Morgan... You're losing credibility with this article!

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:26 PM, SunnyOES wrote:

    I am an Obama supporter and would like to give the credit to Obama as presented in the data above.

    But I think "Jambru" summed it up when he said ". In truth Presidents don't have much effect on the economy compared to other forces such as the banks (e.g. 2007) and Congress. Blaming Obama or giving credit to Obama for the entire state of American and even the world economy is just pure nonsense, and it's a farce when Romney or Obama make any claims to that effect."

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:28 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    Agreed RR, it's good to see real data. Since the S&P didn't start until 1950 I am hard pressed to understand how Hoover made the comparison. A better measure is average performance under combined democratic and republican presidencies. In almost all economic measures, including the one's listed above the democrats rule. If you want a better ecomomy odds are you'll get it with a democratic president.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:39 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    The following discussion compares 35 economic measures between the presidential administrations from 1948 to 2008.

    Out of the 35 categories, 32 varied by a difference of 3% or more in performance between democratic and republican presidential administrations. Democratic administrations performed better in 26 out of the 32 categories. The democrats were consistently better in growing jobs, income, and GDP. They outperformed the republicans with slower growth rates for national debt, budgets, military expenditures, inflation and taxes on production income. The six categories that the republicans performed better was the growth in corporate profits after taxes, and slower growth rates in federal expenditures and taxes on corporate and personal income. The most significant factor favoring the republicans is a lower debt/GDP figure.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:45 PM, Roberpop4 wrote:

    I like what you said about the economy does't change overnight. This big ship takes alot of time to change course. The taxpayer money our congress has spent and the paper dollars our Fed is printing will take a toll on all our people. The president in office for the next four years will spend most of his time straithening out the economic mess we are in now. Good luck taxpayers and investors.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:46 PM, TheCommodore wrote:

    All this tells me is that Obama has done a commendable job, ESPECIALLY given the mess he inherited from his predecessor. And isn't the current challenger touting how more profits for business means more jobs? So either he is outright wrong in his theory, or Obama has already beat him at his own game. And the fact that you are on the TMF site means that you should be aware of their own investing philosophy - looking for fast, easy scores DOES NOT WORK. So expecting a less-than-4-year solution to a problem that has been decades in the making is completely unrealistic. Romney is spreading pure fantasy if he thinks he can fix

    it any faster.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:46 PM, dumpty2 wrote:

    You can play with statistics to come out with results you are seeking. Every one of these have to be relevant to a number of factors occurring at the same time and what immediately procceded them. Circumstances do not occur the day the president takes oath to the day he leaves. This is the 3rd time the Motley Fool has tried to minimize Obama's failures. Shame on you from a moderate! You make everything you say and all your facts and statistics and recommendations less relevant.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 6:47 PM, ftranitech wrote:

    According to these statistics, then President Obama did a very reasonable job given the disaster handed over to him at the end of 2008.

    Without the deficit spending that happened in the last 4 years, the picture will probably look a lot more like Hoover's number. Putting side the rheotic I think both Republicans and Democrat know that it is a Damm if you do, and Damm it you don't scenario. What was done probable the best course of action to take given the circumtances.

    Surprising to look at the President Bush 's statistics. It is worse than President Obama's number.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:09 PM, GetMeTheBigKnife wrote:

    Funny how objective mathematical data can make some people squirm and balk when it reveals something positive about Obama and something negative about the Republican trickle-down scams

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:10 PM, sbroumand wrote:

    Interesting list and no doubt correct factually, but there is absolutely no real correlation between the numbers and who was President. The data is the data, but there is little we can conclude from who was President at the time.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:18 PM, jwxfiles wrote:

    Mr Housel,

    These certainly are statistics. And that means that beauty, that is interpretation, is in the eye of the beholder. None of which has to do with economic trends or problems that were put in place by previous office holders prior to the president listed taking office. When Clinton ran, the catch phrase was, 'It's the economy, stupid.' The day after the election, the media was reporting that the economy wasn't really that bad.

    Seems that you just can't look at things in isolation. Isn't that the MF way? Take a look at the broader picture, not just dried up facts.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:19 PM, lsheffone wrote:

    Just an unexpected observation-

    On every consideration, not just stock market performance, but more importantly, on corporate profits, unemployment rates, inflation and real GDP growth... the average bottom 3 or 4 performances were by .... you guessed it.... Republican presidents!

    ON EVERY MEASURE AND IN A VERY LOPSIDED MANNER!

    This should give everyone pause for thought before casting your vote. All of this talk about how great Republican administrations are for business... is just that- TALK. Look at the facts.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:26 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    You are absolutely right Isheffone,

    If a good performing economy is a priority your best bet is with a Democratic administration. This is a historical fact.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:28 PM, wamadeus wrote:

    I find your statistic most interesting, however, in my opinion there is a very important item missing, i.e. the change (increase or decrease) in the national debt and "off budget" expenditures.

    Example: Reagan's terms have often been called a great economic expansion - but it was all on the credit card. When Reagan took office our national debt was less than one trillion - accumulated through our entire history - when he left office - in only eight years - he managed to increase our debt to close to three trillion PLUS leaving the "resolution" of the S&L debacle to his successor, G.H.W.Bush, which cost another $500 million.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:35 PM, FortyFever wrote:

    Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured...but not everyone must prove they are a citizen. Many of those who refuse, or are unable, to prove they are citizens will receive free insurance paid for by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens.

    fortyfever

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:39 PM, 052516sm wrote:

    As an investor, there no denying the possitive association between investment performance and the period during which Obama has been President. However, in my opinion, both our national debt and the (real) unemployment rate are very bad. With so many of our children exiting college (my son included) being unable to obtain a job or obtain a job that only requires a high school education, I find very little comfort in the noted statistics. What about our children and our neighbor's children? Is the future for them as bright as it has been for us?

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:41 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    Why do the Motley Fool editors allow this garbage to be published is incomprehensible.

    All of these numbers are bogus. The GDP is an embarrasment, that even manipulated show Obama lagging. The inflation rate since the Panic of 2008 has been between 8-10%/yr, look at unemployment of at least 14% and yet the stock market is up to almost 1500 points again. Yeah, change in umployment rate is 0.0%. Come on Mr. Housel, how can you excuse using numbers you know are garbage. You can't defend this. The numbers for household unemployment data estimates don't add up. Its math, you don't even have to find direct evidence of tampering. Most Keynesian economist estimated 8.2% with the same number!

    The Market is up but it is nothing but inflation, look at gas prices. And wait until May when QE158 inflates the price of gas to near $7/gal, the Fed will panic and increase interest rates. Once that happens the next market Bust will be here by the end of Summer 2013.

    Mr. Morgan, would you argue that China, Cuba and North Korea never suffered from the Great Recession thanks to their centrally planned economies?

    Do you think the central planning in China makes them more able to weather economic busts do to their ease in focusing their economic effort into new ventures?

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:48 PM, gene132 wrote:

    Interesting historical data, but you can argue that Republican presidents have to clean up the excesses of the (previous) democrats. However, you cannot compare a president like Roosevelt to one like Obama-the USA is much more integrated into the world economy today, The fact is, up too Carter's times, we still made 95% of what we consumed here-now we import most consumer goods. This makes us vulnerable, and guarantees high foreign debt and high unemployment.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 7:49 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    Good point wamadeus,

    At 14% per year, Reagan grew the debt much higher than any other president since WW II. Since 1948, the debt grew at an average rate of 5.0% under Democratic presidencies and 8.1% under Republicans.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:03 PM, akaluna wrote:

    Does the number of Americans on food stamps relate to the economy? What about an S&P down grade of US credit? Is that an economic indicator?

    Mr. Morgan this analysis smells like a political ad.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:10 PM, neuRx1 wrote:

    If its a farce to credit or blame presidents for the way the economy goes then its mind boggling to try to accurately predict how the presidential contending candidate would effect the economy. At least with an incumbent we have some history to go on.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:11 PM, Carolchesnut wrote:

    As in many common myths, it isn't what you don't know that gets you, its what you know that isn't so! We all "know" Republicans are pro-business and better for the economy, but the "knowledge" does not fit the factual data.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:12 PM, missbaysdaddy wrote:

    Figures don't lie, but liars sure can figure. I only know from my own experience during the past 4 years and with my CD's maturing and only earning less than one percent I felt forced to do something different in order to have any money to live on in my retirement so I cashed in three of my CD's and put the money into fixed annuities for 5 to 10 years and I am earning an average of 4.5% which I know I will never get rich but at least I can so far pay my bills as long as I can earn at least 4.0%. As for inflation my Gasoline, Food, Insurance, Utilities are all costing me more than they were 4 years ago. I found Dillards Outlet Store so my clothing bills have gone down thanks to the specials they run from time to time. The only break I have found so far in my dividends from my dividend paying stocks. I did leave $40,000.00 in the stock market in 1998 when I moved all my other money into laddered CD's. Today the value of my account is only $29,000.00 but I have collected enough dividends in 14 years that I am money ahead for now. I spent the dividends on things I wanted to buy for my wife and I. I subscribe to the Motley Fool Stock Advisor and have done well with their recommendations. I am thinking about buying into the FOOLX mutual fund around the first of the year and let it ride for 5 to 10 years and see how that works out.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:15 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    greenergrass,

    Robert Shiller of Yale recreated the S&P 500 going back to 1871. That's where the market data here comes from.

    -Morgan

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:17 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<The Market is up but it is nothing but inflation>>

    All the figures here are adjusted for inflation.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:24 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    Akaluna, glad that you consider our poverty level unacceptable – so do I. Did you know that the Kennedy/Johnson administration reduced poverty from 22% to 12% and Clinton reduced it from 15% to 11%? These results have not been achieved by any Republican administrations.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:29 PM, Zombie111 wrote:

    What I took from this is that Warren Harding was the best overall President in economic terms, and his Presidency was both corrupt and followed by the Great Depression.

    And that Presidents are, to a large extent, figureheads who don't have as much influence as the public thinks.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:34 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    Thanks for that Morgan. Good data. Excellent article. I looked at it a little differently, grouping democratic presidencies together and republican presidencies together. The data shows similar conclusions.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:51 PM, TrumanTrout wrote:

    Blasted facts and figures. All I really need is for someone to tell me who looks more presidential.

    Truman Trout

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:56 PM, oprahbeau wrote:

    I don't know where you got your figures for Obama. The stock market is only doing well under his "reign" because of quantitative easing and buying back our own bonds. Unemployment rate 0%??? Puhleez.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 8:57 PM, bronzeguy wrote:

    Economics seems to follow ideology; certainly the deficit does. We're coming off of 8 years of totally unnecessary war expenses and we complain that the President hasn't cleaned it up yet. Add to this a presidential contender who made his millions bankrupting and selling businesses laden with debt. You guys are supposed to understand this.. Let's get real here.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 9:11 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<I don't know where you got your figures for Obama.>>

    The same place I got everyone else's numbers. It's from a database constructed by Yale economist Robert Shiller.

    <<Unemployment rate 0%??? Puhleez.>>

    It clearly says that's the change in the unemployment rate. Unemployment was 7.8% when Obama was sworn in, and is 7.8% today. Thus, 0% change.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 9:18 PM, jorgeviola wrote:

    Amazing that there is so much animosity shown here. I appreciate the article and the numbers. Thank you for bringing it together in a tightly crafted article!

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 9:24 PM, woodNfish wrote:

    One person asked if we don't like the data and are not investing, why are we paying for the Stock Adviser. My subscription runs until February and I am considering cancelling it. They've never met a government created market they didn't like and I think a lot of their advice is bullsh*t as well as dangerous to your savings. They do not promote capital preservation at all, and they are in essence commies. Anyone that supports Obama and endless spending with ever more debt is a crook and a liar. I don't intend to give them any more of my money.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 9:26 PM, CluckChicken wrote:

    "The same place I got everyone else's numbers. It's from a database constructed by Yale economist Robert Shiller."

    I would probably just add a line before the first set of numbers saying that because it is a little difficult to read in the table pics.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 9:26 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    << The fact is, up too Carter's times, we still made 95% of what we consumed here-now we import most consumer goods. >>

    That is distinctly not a fact. More than 2/3 of physical goods Americans consume are made in America.

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/10/25/3-misconcep...

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 9:38 PM, Sketch71 wrote:

    I always enjoy your articles, Mr. Housel, and just seeing the title of this one I knew it would have an entertaining comments sections as well. Gotta love the people on both ends of the political spectrum thinking the data supports their pre-conceived views. I remember seeing some graphs of average market returns or economy growth or some such, both by which party held the presidency and by which held control of congress: one appeared to show better results with a Democrat as pres, but the other seemed to show better results with a Republican-led congress. Interesting. Maybe meaningless. But I know I'm right regardless what the data says... uh.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 9:50 PM, carlsz wrote:

    you are obviously not taking into account the massive new tax that obama is proposing......namely obama care. This next presidental term is our ONLY chance to rescind any of these socialist policies before they are ingrained in our tax code. For the life of me, i have NO idea how we just bow our heads and accept this nonsense!

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 10:01 PM, Dforberger wrote:

    Mr. Morgan Housel

    Data is just data. Until someone does a correlation analysis this data means nothing.

    Unfortunately people will see what they want to see and this causes un-necessary controversy. The proof is in these comment notes.

    Motley Fool, shame on you for allowing this un-necessary controversy.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 10:09 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    The correlation Dforberger is:

    Democratic administrations = good economy,

    Republican administrations = worse economy

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 10:12 PM, redturtle35 wrote:

    I'd like to see the data in presidential order to see the changes from one administration to the next.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 10:17 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    redturtle,

    If you email me at mhousel@fool.com I can arrange that.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 10:27 PM, nosocial wrote:

    Scramble the hazmat teams! Conservative Republicans' heads are exploding everywhere! Obama ranks higher than both Bush's in all 5 metrics and even beats Saint Reagan in 3 of 5? Oh my! Obama out Republicans the Republicans. Someone please come up with a rational explanation to explain the irrational notion that Obama can only be responsible for all of the bad and none of the good!

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 10:37 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    Redturtle35, I hope this helps

    Average nonfarm jobs added per month

    Truman – 90,000

    Eisenhower – 40,000

    Kennedy – 100,000

    Johnson – 190,000

    Nixon – 140,000

    Ford – 60,000

    Carter – 220,000

    Reagan – 165,000

    Bush – 50,000

    Clinton - 240,000

    Bush - 20.000

    Obama – 0 (-800,000 at start, 110,000 current)

    Republicans – 81,000

    Democrats – 156,000

    source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 10:53 PM, lauri1e wrote:

    I agree with LoadDrive

    On October 25, 2012, at 5:44 PM, LoadDrive wrote:

    Please Stop sending Me" Trash like this" Matter-Of-Fact....I plan to Vote the Trash Out of the White House.

  • Report this Comment On October 25, 2012, at 11:06 PM, NoOracleHere wrote:

    I think the data that means most to me is who appreciates this data and who doesn't. It's not really that difficult to tell who's who. But in the end, it's data afterall, right?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 12:25 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Less than 2 weeks until the election. Couldn't help yourself, huh, Morgan?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:13 AM, herky46q wrote:

    Commentary is good but the charts don't mean anything.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 3:19 AM, bobc4012 wrote:

    I agree with ynotc, savant55 and herky46q. For one thing, there is no backup data on how the charts were derived. For instance, to say there is no change in the unemployment rate during Obama's presidency, when in fact there are more unemployed since he took office is quite strange.

    I have seen other charts with different outcomes. You have those where the president is a Democrat with a Democrat Congress (both houses - not just the House as so many morons believe), a Democrat president with a split Congress, a Democrat president with a Republican Congress and the same breakdown for a Republican president. As I recall, the best economic results came with a Democrat president and a Republican Congress. Probably because both groups moved closer to the middle and more compromise. The president would not get his wish list passed and could veto Congress's wish list (unless there were 60 party senators to override or some of the other party "jumping ship").

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 4:04 AM, Bert31 wrote:

    This is easily explained. When a democrat is elected, the market and economy usually have a negative overreaction immediately following the election. Thus, by the time he actually takes office, it is usually overdone and improvement is inevitable. And the opposite is true with Republicans. When a republican is elected, there is usually a bit of an overreaction to the upside as people assume they will be good for the economy. By the time they take office, it is difficult to meet the high expectations already baked in. This is actually a well known and well documented phenomenon Morgan and I am surprised you have never heard of this. Or are you familiar with it? ;)

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 4:23 AM, RoelandV wrote:

    Always interesting and trickey at the same time to use statistics to explain such a difficult to measure issue as the power of a president. If it would be possible at all, more data and other historic information is needed, I guess.

    Two stats maybe could add some interesting extra colour to the picture. Was there a party switch before the particular ruling? This could maybe determine the influence of the previous party in charge? And the scond one is: What was the Increase of Governmental debt during the presendentcy and during the previous presendentcy. This could have a big impact on the development of the economy.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 4:30 AM, chris293 wrote:

    This old information is old. What is important is for the political leaders to stop trying to set up semi-fake businesses, give them government support (our taxes), and then have support their political run for office before the companies go broke.

    As a friend of mine says, "Why are not tax breaks or political donations considered bribes?".

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 4:41 AM, Chontichajim wrote:

    Nice to see Harding for something other than a cabinet of bootleggers and corrupt profiteers. Too bad the stats don't go back to 1850 to see if Franklin Pierce or James Buchanan had any redeeming qualities.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:31 AM, Merschrod wrote:

    Very interesting comments - I did not expect so many political commentaries, nor that folks would accuse TMF of being biased.

    The off the cliff scenario has two facets 1) the congressional imposed cuts and 2) possible austerity policy imposed again by a budget cutting house of representatives. the latter will exacerbate the former. These cuts will slow the economy again by reducing the number of jobs in the public sector and some types of manufacturing, but, because of the job cuts, it will reduce consumer spending on imports so the retail sector will suffer. The sector for investing ( following the 3 year plus advice of TMF) would probably be the primary sector. They appear to be slumped and should pick up as the US slowly becomes a raw materials supplier.

    What say TMF?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:32 AM, MrFinance223 wrote:

    About as meaningless as, say, comparisons that look at stock market retuns during a full moon.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:36 AM, Merschrod wrote:

    Bert31 has a nice scenario for playing the market short term - so hold onto the dogs for the moment, hope that Romney comes in and gives those old dogs some new life, but put those dogs out of their misery come Spring time when reality settles in. This is more fun than going to play the ponies!

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:36 AM, DayTraderCenter wrote:

    We retweeted the link to this info with the comment: "Day Trader Center ‏@ThSi_

    Hey this is some real info for to make the choice in 2 weeks! At ?th place! Even before ?th... @TheSquareMile @themotleyfool (View conversat..."

    Square Mile ‏@TheSquareMile answered:

    "@ThSi_ @themotleyfool To be fair Morgan Housel did start that with some disclaimers. I don't think you can draw any conclusions to be honest..."

    And we replayed:

    "Day Trader Center ‏@ThSi_

    To be honest, for me the economy is the main thing in life. But there are others as well, living in hospitals. @TheSquareMile @themotleyfool " Not only the insane, we meant. Also millions living in hospitals, in jails, in social dependancies, are more or less voters. They are entitled to have an opinion and choice. This here is a vehicle to the decision. It's easier, lighter, to decide when a data is provided. In the opposite case (when no data is available) you lack the comparison and decide only intuitive.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:39 AM, wburzynski wrote:

    The Fool's liberal bias is coming through. Interesting how virtually every stat has Obama's economy outperforming Bush's. Come on guys, I'm not that stupid. Perfect example of massaging the numbers.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:52 AM, DayTraderCenter wrote:

    Oh! Forgotten to say thank you, Mr. Housel. You found the most understandable way, to display the information on this subject of passions, for everyone.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:07 AM, greenergrass wrote:

    Wburzynski, that’s because most economic measures are more favorable under Democratic presidential administrations. I compared 35 economic measures between the presidential administrations since 1948. Out of the 35 categories, 32 varied by a difference of 3% or more in performance between Democratic and Republican presidential administrations. Democratic administrations performed better in 26 out of the 32 categories. The Democrats were consistently better in growing jobs, income, and GDP. They outperformed the Republicans with slower growth rates for national debt, budgets, military expenditures, inflation and taxes on production income. The six categories that the Republicans performed better was the growth in corporate profits after taxes, and slower growth rates in federal expenditures and taxes on corporate and personal income. The most significant factor favoring the Republicans is a lower debt/GDP figure. If you would like to look at the analysis, email me at mgutkoski@hotmail.com.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:24 AM, TMFMurph wrote:

    Run the same analysis by who controlled Congress ( Democrats, Republicans or Split control )....that is where the power to move the economy rests.

    I'll bet you find some surprising results

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:38 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    Folks, none of these numbers are changed, tweaked, altered or massaged. As Any Rooney says, "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:41 AM, greenergrass wrote:

    TMFMurph, I ran that analysis for the DOW and split control was better than a Democratic or Republican supermajority (holding all three branches).

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:45 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    That's Andy* Rooney.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:51 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<The Fool's liberal bias is coming through.>>

    These are just facts.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:51 AM, greenergrass wrote:

    TMFMurph, Regarding GDP growth since 1948, the average was 7.0% when the Democrats had both the Senate and House, and 5.8% with Republicans. A mix yielded 6.3% growth. What other variable would you like to see?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 9:05 AM, TMFBiggles wrote:

    "Pft, facts? You can use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true! Facts, schmacts." - Homer Simpson

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 9:15 AM, 052516sm wrote:

    Nero fiddled while Rome burned. The numbers presented are what they are. Don't kill the messenger. Don't have the specific numbers, but the following trends undoubtly have or will have huge impacts on the health of our economy: large segments of our youth (high school and college grads) unemployed or under-employed, excessive college tuition debt, significant delays in marriage and/or having children, reduced demand for housing and household needs based on low/poor wages, etc. These trends are alarming to me and will have a heavy impact on the vibrancy of our country, our economy and, most importantly in my opinion, the pride in our nation. Perhaps it's time we begin to expand our investment focus to include financially sound companies that also are good role models for addressing things like providing entry-level job/job growth opportunities for the young and learning-and-growth/mentoring opportunities for the mature (and unemployed/ under-employed) workforce. We are our brother's keeper.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 9:16 AM, mainelefty wrote:

    There are a lot of people who already knew that these long term trends existed.

    Some of the stats reveal a paradox. Peace is profitable, even without massive military expense, and is really good for the stock market.

    It's been well known for a long time that economic results are, on average, superior under Democratic Presidents. It has long been the Republican claim that such numbers don't matter, or are misleading.

    The comments seem to reflect that - some say that's right, some cry foul and assert explanations that allegedly prove the opposite of the likely conclusion to be drawn from the numbers.

    It's like Truman once said, "The Republicans complain that I'm giving them hell. But all I'm doing is stating the facts, they just think it's hell."

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 10:07 AM, meade78 wrote:

    Good article, Morgan. People can draw whatever conclusions they like (or don't like) from the numbers, but don't shoot the messenger. It is what it is...

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 10:09 AM, puzzledcanadian wrote:

    Fox News and The GOP have changed the entire political discourse from an approximation of fact to fiction -- these numbers tell some truths. And they have been around for a long time. George W. Bush squandered a surplus and handed over two wars and a massive debt to Obama; The economy has done better under democrats for the better part of two centuries. Herbert Hoover even threw his own money at an attempt to forestall the depression. Unlike Mitt Romney who does exactly the opposite. Why?.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 11:28 AM, mclaugph wrote:

    Interesting article - thanks!

    Perhaps a plug to read this will help:

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/10/18/15-biases-t...

    Sadly, I see a lot of these biases in the comments.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 11:37 AM, safesailor wrote:

    I wonder how many "investor" read a company's financial statistics and say that these figures have been manipulated to look bad! I "know" this is good company because I like their products so I am going to invest in it anyway. Wouldn't it be smarter to seriously investigate those figures you believe to wrong and then bring correcting figures or qualifying facts to the table to add to the discussion rather than off-handedly spout your bias as fact, one side or the other? It is, however, great entertainment to read these comments and enlightening to get my views questioned with theories and facts that put them to the test.

    Carry on Fools and fools.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 12:06 PM, YourUncleDudley wrote:

    The stock market returns with Obama as president had little or nothing to do with what he did or didn't do. Last time I checked, he wasn't a member of the Federal Reserve Committee. It was the Fed's lose monetary policy that led to the bull market.

    Your Uncle Dudley

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 12:08 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <It was the Fed's lose monetary policy that led to the bull market.>>

    That was undoubtedly a big part. But earnings going from a decade low to an all-time high probably had something to do with it, too.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 12:49 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    "In general, presidents get too much credit for the economy when things are good, and too much blame when things are poor." Agreed, and I don't mix investing with politics. What may be good for investing (QE infinity) is not good in my opinion for the nation. So even though I could profit from it, I would not favor this type of policy because its not sound. Good companies will make it through whether the governemnt coddles them or not.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 12:53 PM, ynotc wrote:

    Mr. Housel,

    Your articles always challenge me. In this case many saw the facts and figures that you chose to focus on as being biased and favoring one candidate or party.

    My point (the first post on this article) is; when an atypically large negative swing in the markets occur that those who come in behind will have larger upward swings as a percentage of the lower basis.

    Does this mean that they are superior or did anything that influenced this upward swing? Like many I argue that in the short term there is little that a president does to influence the outcome. Presidential policies do influence economics in a longer term though.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:16 PM, ScottmFool wrote:

    On October 26, 2012 at 12:25am, a Right-Wing Radical Fanboy wrote:

    > Less than 2 weeks until the election. Couldn't help yourself, huh, Morgan?

    The data is the data. The data knows no political affiliation. The fact that you're not challenging it says a lot.

    For what it's worth, I don't see a compelling argument that the data presented is partisan, except that it suggests that Obama sucks less than partisans would want to believe.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:30 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    "For what it's worth, I don't see a compelling argument that the data presented is partisan, except that it suggests that Obama sucks less than partisans would want to believe."

    LOL

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:31 PM, woodNfish wrote:

    "On October 26, 2012, at 8:51 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    These are just facts. "

    No they aren't and the proof of that is your chart showing the unemployment rate at 0.00 under Obama. That shows that you have manipulated the data to show what you want people to see. It is just like the old saying statistics don't lie, but liars use statistics, and you Morgan, are a liar.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:38 PM, RouteReflector wrote:

    It's silly to me how a large portion of the comments entirely ignore all of the other presidents listed in the data above and focus solely on Obama.

    Morgan listed data with no political arguments attached. For the numbers/terms following major anomolies he wrote explanations, and in the case of Obama even pushed the start of his term one year earlier to illustrate a more accurate scenario.

    How, exactly, is this a political pitch? I know the answer is that it shines a more positive light on Obama than most are used to, particularly those with right-leaning tendencies, but let's all try to be at least somewhat intellectually honest. This is an accurate depiction.

    It'd be interesting to see a similar article focused solely on Congress, especially considering Congress has arguably more impact on the immediate economy than the president.

    Thanks for the article, Morgan.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:39 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    Hey Wood-

    Morgan is not saying the unemployment rate is o. He is saying the net change is zero. 7.8 when he took office and 7.8 as of last report in 9/12.

    7.8% is nothging to brag about for a president.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:40 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<No they aren't and the proof of that is your chart showing the unemployment rate at 0.00 under Obama ... and you Morgan, are a liar.>>

    It doesn't show unemployment at 0%. It clearly -- very, very clearly -- says that's the *change* in the unemployment rate. Unemployment was 7.8% when Obama was sworn in, and is 7.8% today. The same methodology was used for all other presidents.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:42 PM, RouteReflector wrote:

    @woodNfish

    0% is the CHANGE in the unemployment rate under Obama, not the actual unemployment rate. It was 7.8% when he took office, it peaked at about 10%, and has been gradually declining since and is now back to 7.8%.

    Now everyone can proceed to ignore that fact and argue about the "real" unemployment rate.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:42 PM, actuary99 wrote:

    It's like a Rorschach test. It's just a random number generator with president's last names next to it. The comments are more revealing than the article.

    The quantity of people not understanding the difference between causation and correlation is frightening.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:49 PM, maccdw wrote:

    Wow, what a range of opinions! I am amused by those who attack Morgan for providing data—not his own data, but independent economists’ data which is widely available. If you are going to deny what these data show, then you should offer something beyond calling Obama “trash” and the like. How about offering independently-produced data that supports your denial of these data?

    I can only imagine how different the postings here would be if these data supported the GOP. Unfortunately, the only data which does support the GOP is the data invented by the GOP.

    Facts can be so inconvenient. Why let facts ruin a good campaign?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 1:58 PM, NavyEODw883 wrote:

    TMFMorgan- Your article certainly sparked a great discussion and some people seem a bit sensitive to their chosen political party. I was wondering if you could add the reigning majority in Congress for each administration as they have just as much to do with policy as the President does. From what I've read (which I'll admit that I'm not nearly as smart as others on this thread) it seemed that moderate Democrats with a Republican Congress did best for the economy. Does anyone know if that's not the case?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 2:01 PM, ScottmFool wrote:

    > you Morgan, are a liar.

    People, the unemployment chart is a DELTA.

    Wow, you people are so blinded by partisanship, it's turned you into blathering idiots. I feel sorry for you.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 2:02 PM, ScottmFool wrote:

    > LOL

    I take that to mean that you, too, are incapable of challenging the data.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 2:12 PM, SeminoleDog wrote:

    Data and facts are only part of telling the truth. Not all of it comes from facts and data, because most reports do not include all factors and influences. Though we are encouraged daily in our judicial system "to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," our government (regardless of party) evidently feels we are incapable of handling the truth, "the whole truth and nothing but the truth." Partial truth veiled as comprehensive reports is the very engine of our business and political systems and that is a shame....for all of us.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 2:14 PM, ScottmFool wrote:

    BTW, small apology to Bert. I've seen sooo much partisanship on this thread, I just assumed you were doing the same :)

    For what it's worth, I'm a centrist and will likely vote for Romney, and hope that Democrats hold the Senate.

    Neither party has proven its earned controlling the House and Senate and executive branch, and I'm continually mystified at the belief that the solutions to our issues can all be found in 1 party, despite history proving otherwise.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 2:15 PM, RouteReflector wrote:

    It'd be interesting to see G W Bush's numbers when you exclude the economic swan dive at the beginning of the recession.

    Any chance you've got the time to break down those numbers, Morgan (or one of the commenters)? I think it's difficult to pin the blame for the recession on W.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 2:36 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    ScottmFool wrote:

    BTW, small apology to Bert. I've seen sooo much partisanship on this thread, I just assumed you were doing the same :)

    I sometimes am. But not on this one. As I noted above I have read about this phenomenmen before, and have actually spent the better part of the day trying to find out what book it was in. I am convinced it was in one of Joel Greenblatt's book but I can not locate it. I will come back and post if I can find it

    Merschrod wrote:

    Bert31 has a nice scenario for playing the market short term - so hold onto the dogs for the moment, hope that Romney comes in and gives those old dogs some new life, but put those dogs out of their misery come Spring time when reality settles in. This is more fun than going to play the ponies!

    I suspect you are being sarcastic but I can't be sure. But this is the reason I was trying to find what book it was in. Because I remember thinking the same thing as I was reading it (probably in 2010), now I wished I had dogeared it!! But I am not a macro investor I prefer to invest in good companies based on sound fundamentals, not macro economic events.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 3:16 PM, BiotechMarc wrote:

    Very misleading numbers. The timing of recurrent recessions and their intensity, and thus the size and timing of associated dips and highs in the economy that accompanying them, are accounting for all of the differences throughout the list provided. If you want more consistency and more meaningful data, normalize the data to the timing of a bottom and measure rate of growth from there. Ranking are also meaningless; you should definfe each president by the extent of his deviation from the mean for all.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 3:31 PM, ynotc wrote:

    It is not the data that is biased but the data that was selected to be viewed.

    By using the right charts or numbers one can make one organization or person seem right or wrong, better or worse. It is only in evaluating the data presented for it's relevancy that a conclusion can be drawn.

    Since this data is mostly about the delta between the highs and lows it favors presidents who were in office or came into office after a large negative swing in economic conditions.

    Does this label them as superior or inferior? No it only speaks to the economic situation that they found themselves in.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 3:46 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<It'd be interesting to see G W Bush's numbers when you exclude the economic swan dive at the beginning of the recession.>>

    Anything can be made to look better if you exclude the bad stuff.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 3:51 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    Since this data is mostly about the delta between the highs and lows it favors presidents who were in office or came into office after a large negative swing in economic conditions

    I agree. I think what is more interesting about this data is what party gets elected when times are good (Republicans) vs. what party gets elected when times are bad (Democrats). So Democrats seem to capitlize on fear, while Republicans capitalize on optimism.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 3:52 PM, ynotc wrote:

    And anything can be made to look better if you include atypical swings, either high or low, in the numbers.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 4:44 PM, Oldmangene wrote:

    Spending more than you make works against you, whether you are a Dem or a Repub.

    This thread misses the main point of sound ecomomics. Statistics classes at Univ. of Fla back in 1950 was a good exposure to liars figure, and figures can lie.

    When is this generation going to get real wisdom, and look at figures with a skeptical eye?

    The only pump that really works after priming, is a hand operated water pump. Any of you guys ever had to draw your own water from one?

    The laws of the harvest always work. You reap what you sow, later than you sow, more than you sow. It holds true for the Government as well. The Federal Reserve is not a Reserve any longer. It is a Federal Debtor.

    Keep up the personal spending, consuming, and grousing about a bad economy and see if it does you any good.

    As always, we never seem to learn from history. So get an a good ready for consequences that were put into place with FDR.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 4:59 PM, Oldmangene wrote:

    Just to give some credibility to my post above, check out the following:

    Discourses on Livy by Machiavelli, which is a history of republics, with heaviest focus on the Roman republic ….. and they all repeat themselves, and we are repeating their exact mistakes, only in a shorter time period because of technology! But there are the few who pay attention, learn, and succeed.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 5:10 PM, Oldmangene wrote:

    If you wish older proof of human nature wanting "Change" to their own hurt, try reading the Jewish history, after their freedom from Egypt.

    Every generation wants it, like Sinatra sang, "My way!"

    So much for getting wisdom. Yet, some do get it, I hope Pro is part of the minority who does.

    So far, they are on track, and I am glad for my 3 years with the team.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 6:08 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "Anything can be made to look better if you exclude the bad stuff."

    You just summarized your own article, Morgan.

    They should change the name of this website to the Huffington Fool.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 6:44 PM, RouteReflector wrote:

    >Anything can be made to look better if you exclude the bad stuff.<

    This is true, though I think you misunderstood.

    Anything can be made to look worse if you exclude the good stuff, as you did at the end of section 2. Your paragraph at the end of Section 2 removes increase in corporate profits when emerging from the recession. I assume that was added to slightly stave off the inevitable attacks from the right, but for the sake of comparison I was curious what W's numbers would look like if the decline into the recession was removed from the sum.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 6:47 PM, RouteReflector wrote:

    @CrankyTexan

    They're numbers. That's all they are; there's no political argument (or really any argument at all) attached to them.

    What specifically about the article is invalid?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:01 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Oh really? No political argument? The name of the article is The Best Presidents for the Economy for crying out loud. My mistake. I thought presidents had something to do with politics. My bad.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:01 PM, daveandrae wrote:

    Hey Morgan, here are a couple of fun facts for ya.

    1. Year to date, what is the total return of the s&p 500 since President Obama was sworn into office?

    89.66%

    2. Of the Motley Fool "investors" intending to vote against Obama, how many do you believe have either matched or exceeded the 89.66% total return of the s&p 500 with their own money over the same time period?

    My guess would be ZERO!

    Food for thought

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:02 PM, seattle1115 wrote:

    TMFMorgan wrote: "These are just facts."

    Exactly - and facts have a well-known liberal bias. Real Americans trust their gut feelings.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:03 PM, Santigers wrote:

    What is the difference between a fact, a theory and a hypothesis?

    In popular usage, a theory is just a vague and fuzzy sort of fact and a hypothesis is often used as a fancy synonym to `guess'. But to a scientist a theory is a conceptual framework that explains existing observations and predicts new ones. For instance, suppose you see the Sun rise. This is an existing observation which is explained by the theory of gravity proposed by Newton. This theory, in addition to explaining why we see the Sun move across the sky, also explains many other phenomena such as the path followed by the Sun as it moves (as seen from Earth) across the sky, the phases of the Moon, the phases of Venus, the tides, just to mention a few. You can today make a calculation and predict the position of the Sun, the phases of the Moon and Venus, the hour of maximal tide, all 200 years from now. The same theory is used to guide spacecraft all over the Solar System.

    A hypothesis is a working assumption. Typically, a scientist devises a hypothesis and then sees if it ``holds water'' by testing it against available data (obtained from previous experiments and observations). If the hypothesis does hold water, the scientist declares it to be a theory.

    " just lay the numbers bare" who's numbers from were? " liers figure and figure lie" will the real facts please stand up?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:08 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    2. Of the Motley Fool "investors" intending to vote against Obama, how many do you believe have either matched or exceeded the 89.66% total return of the s&p 500 with their own money over the same time period?

    My guess would be ZERO!

    You would be wrong.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:17 PM, daveandrae wrote:

    "You would be wrong."

    Simple- Prove it by showing your own investment results over the same time period.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:27 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Dave, the S&P is still lower than it was in 2007 or 2000, so it's not something to brag about.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:29 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    And it's ridiculous to assume that no investor has beaten the S&P since Obama took office. Thousands of people have.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:36 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    And where the heck did you come up with the 89.66% figure, Dave?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:41 PM, daveandrae wrote:

    "Dave, the S&P is still lower than it was in 2007 or 2000, so it's not something to brag about."

    This, of course, means nothing as far as my point is concerned. For President Bush was still in office during the 2007-08 time period.

    "And it's ridiculous to assume that no investor has beaten the S&P since Obama took office. Thousands of people have."

    ROTFLMAO!

    Thousands???

    Please point me towards one, because, other than myself, I don't know a living soul!!!

    Truth be told, 78% of professional money managers cannot even "outperform" the index. Thus, I am damn sure their "investors" did far worse!

    Again, if you have outperformed the s&p 500 since Obama was inaugurated AND you intend to vote against him, that's fine.

    Prove me wrong and show the forum your results.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:48 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    >>> Please point me towards one, because, other than myself, I don't know a living soul!!! <<<

    I see. So since YOU do not know anyone who beat the market, it must be true that NO ONE has beaten the market? Your logic skills are lacking.

    The Motley Fool Stock Advisor has beaten the market. Thousands of people subscribe to it.

    Anyone who invested most of their money in Apple, or Under Armor, or hundreds of other stocks had beaten the market.

    And where the heck did you come up with the 89.66% figure, Dave?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:50 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "Again, if you have outperformed the s&p 500 since Obama was inaugurated AND you intend to vote against him, that's fine."

    So it's not fine for people to vote against Obama if they didn't beat the market? Are you their dictator? Who are you to tell people for whom to vote?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 7:59 PM, daveandrae wrote:

    ^

    Where the heck did I get the 89.66% figure? HELLO!!!

    This is the Motley Fool forum website! Are you really that dumb that you cannot find out, or figure out, the total return of the s&p 500 since January 20th, 2009???

    The last time I checked, its a free country. You can vote for whoever you damn well please.

    Obama's gonna win anyway.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:06 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Hey Einstein, on January 20, 2009, the S&P was $804.47. Today it is $1,411.94. That is NOT a 89.66% return, Einstein. That's a 75.5% return. And it's still lower than it was in 2000 or 2007.

    You're either a liar, or you need to go back to elementary school to learn basic math.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:16 PM, daveandrae wrote:

    Hey Sherlock, since you're so smart, try adjusting the return for that little thing you left out called DIVIDENDS and you'll come up with 89.66%.

    Nuff said.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:18 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Well that answers that question as to whether or not you are a liar. You are a liar.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:31 PM, daveandrae wrote:

    Jan 20, 2009 SPY trading summary-

    Open- 84.23

    High- 85.06

    Low- 80.05

    Close- 80.57

    Closing price adjusted for DIVIDENDS - 74.53

    October 26th 2012 SPY closing price -

    141.35

    Total return of the SPY from 01/20/2009 to 10/26/2012....

    141.35 / 74.53 =

    89.655%

    It should now be painfully obvious to the reader which one of us knows what he is talking about.

    I'm done.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 8:32 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Says the genius who said that NO ONE has beaten the market.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 10:47 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    OMG

    You win the Pulitzer for biggest of mainstream drivel.

    Not a single number with any economic context, any serious discussion of the factors behind each, any understanding of what GDP, inflation, stock prices (driven almost entirely by printing money), etc even mean.

    Do you ever want to be more than this?

    David in Liberty

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 11:33 PM, networkteacher wrote:

    Although Hoover is at or near the bottom of the heap for many of these stats, he was the engineer/president who came up with the implementation of standard sizes for various industries. This fueled the development of a highly competitive US industrial base that could sell on the world market with ease and in large quantities.

    I wonder how many other of the poor performers are unfairly judged, when in fact they set the stage for spectacular success of their sucessors.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 11:35 PM, deg66 wrote:

    Seems to me the democrats only want to spent MY money and raise MY tax's. Thats how they raise the GDP.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 11:53 PM, RouteReflector wrote:

    >Oh really? No political argument? The name of the article is The Best Presidents for the Economy for crying out loud. My mistake. I thought presidents had something to do with politics. My bad.<

    So the title is the portion of the article you take issue with, not the article itself?

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 2:14 AM, TerryHogan wrote:

    I like data. I understand the difference between correlation and causation. I know that there are easily hundreds of different measures you can present as economic indicators. I know that the stock market and the economy don't operate in a vacuum, and I know that historical forces sometimes lay waste to the best made plans. I like that Morgan mentions some of these caveats in the article. Also, all these things could be caused by some other factor that we're not even measuring. When Reagan was elected, there were conservative governments elected in Canada and the UK around the same time. The Great depression hit some countries even worse than the US, so you can't pin it all on Hoover any more than you can pin WWII on Roosevelt (Neville Chamberlain maybe).

    Having said that, I think this is a dangerous article because most people will not read it with those things in mind. Is it just Coolidge = great Hoover = Crap or is there more to the story? Nixon had to deal with Vietnam and the Opec crisis (while trying to understand Kissinger's accent) neither of which occured due to his policies. Sure Eisenhower only had 0.9% GDP growth, but how much of the growth of every president after him was due in part to the interstate system? Just like the Internet bubble that benefitted Clinton couldn't have occured without funding for ARPA under Kennedy and Johnson. All those things are way too complex to tease out. And we haven't even mentioned congress yet!

    While a true control group is not possible, it would be interesting to see the numbers vs. administrations of the opposing political stripe in other G7 countries at the same time. But even that would be meaningless.

    Of course just because the data isn't all there, it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to measure it. But people take up drinking because they hear it's good for your heart and some people still buy lottery tickets and still others smoke, so I think it's safe to say that most people can't really handle data.

    I like that the article got people thinking though.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 5:37 AM, JoshReiss wrote:

    Does anyone notice that the s&p is up 75% (or 89.66% depending upon whose math you agree with), yet unemployment is unchanged? I work for a company in the s&p and we have been several rounds of layoffs in the last few years, but we still manage to pay out $300 million in dividends to shareholders. The idea that a free market fixes everything is a fallacy. Companies are making short term decisions that make the bottom line look good now, but will hurt them in the long run, mostly because most executive compensation is tied to metrics such as earnings per share or net margins. Corporate America has thrived under Obama but that hasn't resulted in job growth. Romney's idea for across the board tax hikes that aren't tied to job creation plans won't help either. It will certainly save me money on my taxes, but I'll just save and invest it and it won't do anything to create jobs.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 9:17 AM, jabez1 wrote:

    The sick rarely improve until sometime after the doctor treats them.

    The heart attack never occurs until after the blockage has built up after years of abuse.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 9:31 AM, Darwood11 wrote:

    Good article; another hand grenade from Morgan. Love the comments.

    One issue I do have with statistics tied to dates corresponding to elections is something called "process lag."

    This economy is a very slow moving beast. For example, how many more years will it take to deal with the millions of Option and Option-ARM mortgages, the millions of zombie homeowners, the millions of homes on the shadow market and held by banks, the continuing problems with bank balance sheets, and the 23 million under- and un-employed?

    These things did not occur in two years, or even four. They were the result of a confluence of events including Fed policy for a decade, or longer.

    So too for today. There are those who say the current Fed policies will end badly. If that occurs, when will it occur? In 3 years, or 5, or?

    Who will be the lucky person in the White House when that occurs? Or when the Iranians lob a bomb, developed over a decade or more?

    A president comes into office and leaves a few years later. Programs and perceptions under that administration don't simple cease on November 6.

    In my opinion, that provides a significant amount of uncertainty when attempting to tie results to dates, because that's all that November 6 is.

    I've made the comment that Romney should be very careful what he wishes for. If things do turn, and if this country does go into recession in 2013, he will be the one holding the bag, and there will be another article in the future, and he'll be stuck with the numbers.

    Considering the nature of this slowly improving economy, the huge deficits and the looming "fiscal cliff," Obama deserves another four years, if no other reason than the fact that it's my opinion that to return things to the "good old days" of 2006 is a pipe dream. This does not reflect my personal opinion about whom would be the better in the White House. it's an acknowledgement of my perception that the next four years will probably be difficult in this country. The current ebullience in the stock market does not reflect the world reality, in my opinion.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 9:41 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "Considering the nature of this slowly improving economy, the huge deficits and the looming "fiscal cliff," Obama deserves another four years"

    That doesn't make sense. You LIKE that Obama is continuing to increase the national debt faster than any president in history? (A chart that is conveniently missing from this article by the way)

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 11:28 AM, wrenchbender57 wrote:

    What, exactly, is Romney's plan? I have been listening and have yet to hear but a few specific points. Seems like he tells us all to believe that he will magically just "fix" everything. But, amazingly, he does not have one original idea. I don't get it that people actually fall for his pitch.

    I agree with many of the comments on here that the President really cannot just fix anything or control the economy. Also agree that the effects of one administration often flow to the next one. So, who is to blame when things go wrong or who gets the credit when things go right? Look at history, it is pretty obvious who caused our present recession. American greed and an Administration and Congress that did not rein in the abuses in the financial industry. Including the Federal Reserve who did not object strongly enough to what was going on. Both parties are to blame. But, President Bush was in office for the 4 years before the current crash happened. Who controlled Congress during that time? Anyone remember?

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 11:37 AM, modularman wrote:

    The problem in our nation is not who is the president from an economic standpoint. The problem is that we have lost touch with our Christian values this country was founded upon. I can make money(and lose money) in any economice climate we have been presented with. What is the real problem is that America has turned its back on God. We have no respect for unborn human life, we have a president who says we are not a Christian nation, our other candidate believes as a mormon he will one day be assigned to a planet all his own where his duty will be to populate that planet, and we have elevated the economy beyond our values of the importance of God,family, helping our neighbors, etc. Yeah, it is the economy, stupid. And we have let its importance outweigh everything else. Wake up America!

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 11:42 AM, Bert31 wrote:

    <<"You would be wrong."

    Simple- Prove it by showing your own investment results over the same time period.>>

    Promise me you will never vote in another election again and maybe I will!

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 11:52 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "What, exactly, is Romney's plan?"

    Obama has PROVEN that he increases the national debt faster than any other president. The only way to stop this is to vote him out. You obviously don't care about the national debt.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 12:19 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    For the curious and by popular request, I ran the same excel macro on national debt since Truman (the earliest database I have).

    This is the average annual growth in federal debt:

    Ford: 16.9%

    Reagan: 14.1%

    Obama: 12.1%

    GHW Bush: 11%

    GW Bush: 9.4%

    Carter: 8.9%

    Nixon: 5.1%

    Clinton: 3.6%

    Johnson: 3.2%

    Kennedy: 2.0%

    Eisenhower: 1.2%

    Truman: 0.3%

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 12:22 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    <<But, President Bush was in office for the 4 years before the current crash happened. Who controlled Congress during that time? Anyone remember?>>

    Good point. Republicans controlled Congress from 1994 - 2006. Economy was much stronger during that time. Dems took control 2007. That is when the Great recesion began.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 12:42 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    How about giving us a list of national debt increase by each president in dollar signs, Morgan? I fully expect you to ignore this request.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 12:44 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Nor will you show increase in food stamps by each president.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 12:46 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Nor will you show increase in gas prices by each president.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 12:46 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Nor will you show increase in health insurance premiums by each president.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 12:47 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Now will you show that Obamacare is the largest tax increase in history.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 2:54 PM, 48ozhalfgallons wrote:

    "... presidents get too much credit for the economy when things are good, and too much blame when things are poor. We tend to imagine every blip in the stock market and every unemployment report as a direct reflection of a president's policies -- particularly during election years...... one president's policies can spill over into the next administration, making it difficult to sort out who is liable for what...." Sounds like doublethink to me.

    The 1% have never done so well as under Obama. Corporate real profit growth @ 77.9%; GDP growth, low middle; inflation, 2.2%.... yeah, right! This distortion puts corporate profits completely far beyond the set of remaining historical statistical norms. The 1% obviously wish to keep it this way. Whether the 1% will thrive as well under Romney is unknown. If I want to keep things the same I'd vote for BO. If I don't like what has happened under BO and believe the only chance for change (for better or worse) I'd vote for MR.

    Anyone believing that presidents have little influence over economic performance is naive and doesn't understand presidential power to veto or mandate. Apparently they believe monetary and fiscal policy are unrelated to economic performance. Three recent examples: Clinton signing off on the destruction of Glass Steagal; Bush appointing Keynsian Barnanke, then suddenly insuring money markets for a year; Obama keeping Barnanke and his QE∞.

    I truly believe that the 1% are able to manipulate leaders to apply schizophrenic policy from one administration to another steering the masses into a state of doublethink, thus preserving inertia for effective policy against the elite's interests.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 2:57 PM, pamnmiles wrote:

    A discussion of the economy has to include a discussion of our health care system which consumes greater than 17% of the GDP

    http://www.kaiseredu.org/issue-modules/us-health-care-costs/....

    while failing to insure 49 million people (16% of the population) and having one of the highest infant mortality and lowest life expectancy of industrialized countries.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_the_United_State....

    This is unsustainable in any economy. Health care reform is our most urgent issue as a nation. Educate yourselves. Don’t rely on the fact that you have health insurance and have not had an issue with the health care system to make your decision; read how lack of health care has lead to early mortality, decreased productivity and financial ruin. Read T.R. Reid’s book The Healing of America to help understand how other countries produce more consistent, high quality health care for all of the population (even, in some cases, “guest workers”) at much lower cost. Many are based on a free market system with healthy “competition” for products.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 4:37 PM, fooldyadidnti wrote:

    All I want to know - Morgan, do you believe these numbers are meaningful?

    If yes. Thanks for answering, I can stop reading you now.

    If no, I'm glad we can both understand that ingenuity, technological advances, production efficiencies and appropriate/effective regulations are the main movers of economies... not presidents, and especially not during their own terms.

    Prime examples - Clinton did nothing to build the internet boom economy (that was all Al Gore, duh!), but he did oversee the repeal of Glass-Stegall and the push for subprime mortgage lending. Both of which led to the housing bomb that gave Obama a baseline that is probably as low as any president's in your little charts, given you are measuring in percentages. Very misleading "data" and smacks of a certain bias, especially to be publishing such useless nonsense around election time.

    (Which has me thinking you may as well answer yes to my question...)

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 7:07 PM, RouteReflector wrote:

    I guess trolling isn't limited to teens and twenty-somethings on 4Chan. Though it's against my better judgement, I'll try to respond to these.

    I assume your implication in all of these questions is "Obama bad!" I'll try to provide some context for you on each of these so you can form a somewhat informed opinion, though I know your opinion will never change no matter how much information is presented to you. That's just the nature of a 2-party system; there's "right" and there's "wrong".

    >>How about giving us a list of national debt increase by each president in dollar signs - CrankyTexan<<

    http://www.skymachines.com/US-National-Debt-Per-Capita-Perce...

    The above is a link to national debt in dollar figures by Presidential term. It includes the percentage debt change during the term, the average percentage debt change during the term, the debt as a percentage of GDP, and the annual interest expense (payments on the debt).

    The chart itself serves fairly effectively at placing the debt in context, and the contributing factors to the present debt/deficit have been beaten to death over the past year ($800 billion borrowed annually for wars, benefits like Medicare, etc)

    >>Nor will you show increase in food stamps by each president.- CrankyTexan<<

    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/34SNAPmonthly.htm

    There's the closest I could find on the first page of a google search.

    Now for the context:

    The US had a big recession. Trillions of dollars exited the economy in the span of a couple weeks, people lost jobs, housing prices tanked, etc. That all occurred at the end of the previous administration. The recession began in December of 2007. In 2008 - the year before Obama took office - three times as many recipients were added to the SNAP database (food stamps) than were added the year prior.

    As part of the stimulus package, the work requirement of 20-hours per week was waived for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents. These waivers were initially created in 1996 and were granted if unemployment in a local area exceeded 10 percent, or if the area “does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for the individuals.” Bush expanded the criteria for unemployment benefits in 2008, and states qualifying for those benefits also qualified for the SNAP waivers. Because of those benefit expansions, about a week and half before Obama took office there were a grand total of 3 states that had no current waivers.

    All of that aside, the most prominent cause of the increase in food stamp usage, as estimated by the USDA, is there is less reluctance in the country from people who qualify for food stamps to apply for them. Only 54 percent of those who were eligible for aid signed up for it in 2002, but the figure in 2009 was 72 percent.

    >>Nor will you show increase in gas prices by each president.- CrankyTexan<<

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/04/01/business/01vi...

    The link is a chart of gas prices for the past 21 years.

    Now for the context:

    Gas is a global commodity. No politician - Presidents, Congressmen, Supreme Court Justices - can influence the price of gas in a meaningful manner.

    "Oil is a global market in which America is a big consumer but a small supplier. We consume about 20 percent of the world’s oil but hold only 2 percent of the oil reserves. That means we are, in economics jargon, “price takers.” Domestic production has increased during the Obama administration, but it has had minimal effects on global prices because, as producers, we are just too small to matter much. And even if domestic oil companies further increased production, they would sell to the highest global bidder." - NY Times

    >>Nor will you show increase in health insurance premiums by each president.- CrankyTexan<<

    >>Now will you show that Obamacare is the largest tax increase in history.- CrankyTexan<<

    I'll combine these two because they are related. Actually, I'll just ignore the first and address the second for the following 2 reasons: 1 - The major facets of Obamacare aren't in effect yet, and 2 - We're operating under the same healthcare system as we've had for decades.

    Now to address the Obamacare tax increase. It's hard to show it's the largest tax increase by any honest metric because it's not the largest tax increase by any honest metric. If you ignore all factors like inflation, population growth, GDP, etc, then yes, Obamacare is the largest tax increase in terms of raw unadjusted dollars which is a ridiculous measure to use.

    On an inflation-adjusted basis, Obamacare drops to #4 while the Reagan 1982 tax increase becomes the biggest.

    When you take into account population growth (the tax increase per individual aka the average tax increase), the ranking falls even further, seeing as our population has increased by 82 million since that Reagan increase.

    When you use what most tax experts view as the best measurement for the size of a tax increase - revenue effect as a % of GDP - the largest increase came under Johnson in 1968 with Reagan's 1982 increase coming in second. That's just in fairly recent history. The truly largest was the Revenue Act of 1942 at around 12 times the size of the Obamacare tax.

    There's context surrounding all of those tax increases, but context isn't as compelling as sound bites and bumper sticker slogans.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 10:21 PM, zgriner wrote:

    Democrats seem to have better economies because of the policies that the Republicans put in place before they were voted out. This then set the stage for a recovery.

    Of course, when Mitt Romney wins and the economy improves, Morgan Housel will write that it was Obama's policies that caused the recovery.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 10:32 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    ^ No, he won't. Regardless of who is president I think the economy will gain momentum driven by residential investment and the ongoing energy boom, neither of which have anything to do with specific Obama policies.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 10:34 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    Sorry, last comment was for zgriner.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 10:44 PM, FoolishVintner wrote:

    Obama?

    #1 for corporate profits?

    #4 for total stock market return?

    Average employment gains?

    Average GDP growth?

    Below average inflation?

    Worst. Socialist. Ever.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 11:34 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    RouteReflector, all your hard work is all fine and dandy except for the fact that they are missing from Morgan's actual article. Most people who read this article are not going to read our comments. As someone recently said, anything can be made to look better if you exclude the bad stuff.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 11:36 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "No politician - Presidents, Congressmen, Supreme Court Justices - can influence the price of gas in a meaningful manner."

    Tell that to the leftists who blamed Bush when gas prices temporarily spiked during his term.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 11:38 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "The major facets of Obamacare aren't in effect yet"

    That is by design. It easier to screw people over if you do it gradually.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 11:44 PM, superbinvesting wrote:

    Very intriguing data. I still believe that FDR is one of the greatest US presidents of all time.

    www.ingeniousinvesting.com

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 1:39 AM, leggomyusername wrote:

    The way data is gathered has a dramatic effect. For example, inflation looks milder than it is lately, because a huge proportion of package sizes have changed. This is dramatically clear in food, harder to determine elsewhere, and present in more areas than the figures imply. I've known people who worked gathering the CPI - it like most statistics contains bias.

    These numbers look pretty good, but the reality of our economy is not good. A bit up from the bottom, better than worst ever... still not good. This dichotomy shows me that our statistics are not sufficient to tell the reality. Not surprising, yet the extent of difference is rather disappointing.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 8:41 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<For example, inflation looks milder than it is lately, because a huge proportion of package sizes have changed.>>

    CPI does adjust for changes in package sizes.

    http://www.dir.ca.gov/OPRL/cpi/faqs.htm

    Decent-sounding conspiracy though.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 9:01 AM, Darwood11 wrote:

    Regarding the prices of food, it's expected that the most serious increases attributable to the severe drought of 2012 won't hit the consumer until 2013.

    ",,,,most of the impact of the drought is expected to be realized in 2013."

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/sum...

    Another example of process lag.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 10:56 AM, EricTyson wrote:

    These metrics are pretty useless. Which party is in control of Congress is an enormously important issue yet not incorporated here. For example, during 75% of Clinton's term, he had an all Republican Congress. Also, there's no time lag presented in the analysis - it takes time for policy to be implemented and to take effect.

    Eric Tyson

    Best-selling Author, Investing For Dummies

    www.erictyson.com

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:00 AM, FoolishVintner wrote:

    "Tell that to the leftists who blamed Bush when gas prices temporarily spiked during his term."

    CrankyTexan, what you are suggesting is that modern Republicans who seize upon the gas price issue are not only just as ignorant as the "leftists who blamed Bush," but hypocritical as well.

    As it turns out, these price spikes have had nothing to do with the supply and demand picture. Oil commodities were deregulated under Bush, allowing an avalanche of speculative money into the futures markets. So it turns out that the leftists were right.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:18 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Vintner, nothing you write will change the fact that gas prices more than doubled under Obama's watch.

    "Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” - 2008, Steven Chu, President Barack Obama’s Energy secretary.

    "We could save all the oil that they are talking about getting from drilling if everybody was just inflating their tires." - 2008, Barack Obama.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:20 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    According to Vintner, Obama is the reason for increased corporate profits and stock market returns but not the reason for doubled gas prices. Who's the hypocrite now?

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:39 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    If we're talking about oil production, worth noting that domestic production is at the highest level in more than a decade and rising consistently for the first time in 30 years:

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&...

    Gas prices doubling is same story as the 77% annual rise in corporate profits described in the article: an abnormally low starting base due to the financial crisis (gas prices fell 60% from July 2008 to January 2009). Nationwide average gas prices are lower today than they were 4.5 years ago.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:46 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Morgan, what's the AVERAGE price of gas during Obama's term? And why didn't you put a gas price chart in your article?

    (crickets)

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:48 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Anything can be made to look better if you exclude the bad stuff.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:52 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<Morgan, what's the AVERAGE price of gas during Obama's term?>>

    $3.01. Under Bush's previous term it was $2.71. Adjust for average nominal wages and the two numbers are virtually identical (down to the penny).

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:53 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<And why didn't you put a gas price chart in your article?>>

    I included overall inflation, of which gas prices are a part of. Various government entities track over 40,000 economic variables. I can't include them all.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:57 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Would it kill you to provide sources for once?

    And why are you now only comparing to Bush instead of 20 other presidents?

    Why didn't you put a gas price chart in your article?

    Why didn't you put a food stamp chart in your article?

    Why didn't you put a health insurance premium chart in your article?

    Anything can be made to look better if you exclude the bad stuff.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 11:58 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    I didn't ask you to include them all. I asked you to include the honest charts that you know will make Obama look bad.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 12:07 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Notice that almost every chart in this article is average annual rate. But when Morgan got to the unemployment rate, he suddenly changed the metric to total change over 4 years instead of average annual unemployment rate.

    I wonder why Morgan did that.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 12:10 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    ^ The other metrics show the average annual rate of *change*, not the absolute level. The unemployment stat also shows the rate of *change* as well.

    It's Sunday, a massive hurricane is barreling towards us, and I need another cup of coffee. Have a good one.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 12:15 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    I am going to write an article about the advantages of hurricanes. I will refuse to list any disadvantages of hurricanes because "I can't include them all."

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 12:22 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    By the way, unemployment rate is the gold standard, not "change in" unemployment rate.

    If all of my grades during four years of high school were F, I could brag that my grades never got worse over four years. Look what a great consistent student I was!

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 12:24 PM, Crandad1 wrote:

    Wow. I think I may have to cancel my subscription to the Motley Fool. Are you kidding me ? Sounds like the fools are leaning Obama ??

    Four more years of Obama and we will be so deep in debt, no way out.

    If it werent for the debt service, just think how many roads and bridges we could build, and teachers we could add. Obama uses the term "investment" to sell his idea of more spending and more stimulous. Just think how many taxpayers it takes just to pay the interest, and when interest rates go up - lookout !

    If I am having trouble paying my debts, I certaintly dont go borrow more money and put in a pool.

    I am holding most to cash- 100- my age.

    If Obama gets back in,I think will stay volatile until we really get hammered by the debt, by then he will be off golfing full time, and our grandkids will be holding the bag paying for all the free stuff.

    Like Paul Ryan said " 4 more years of Obama and we will live in a country where everything is free, except us".

    I am a full time veteran financial advisor, and am very worried - unchartered waters !

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 1:19 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    A liberal's definition of a troll is a non-liberal. Had I written 100 posts worshiping Obama, you would have no problem with me.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 3:52 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    @EricTyson, I agree with you about 90%. However, these statistics do stimulate debate. They also provide an opportunity such as your comments.

    There are so many variables that influence this economy. Some have a profound impact. For example, in 1993 during Bill Clinton's first year in office, the average gasoline prices were $1.07. Pres. Clinton was able to achieve near zero deficits. Gasoline prices didn't really "take off" until about 2004. Things really got out of hand by 2006.

    It would be somewhat simplistic to chart energy prices versus presidential terms and so on. But I suppose it could be done. What would it prove? Nothing. It would only provide one more data point in a very complex multivariable system.

    But I suppose it could provide the basis for an article "The best presidents for energy prices." Drawing the conclusion that any president caused these oil prices might be assumed, but would be an erroneous conclusion.

    Some of these political changes take decades. For example, back in 1965 Medicare was passed through the Congress as something that would never have much impact on our economy and taxes. So perhaps we should adjust Lyndon B. Johnson's legacy and hang the $trillions spent on this program and Medicaid on his legacy and his impact on the economy to this very day?

    Back in 1993 our politicians were pushing the "Service Economy." So today, we have a reduced manufacturing capability as compared to total population. In fact, Mayor Daley of Chicago got on the "service economy" bandwagon and parroted "We don't need manufacturing" in a somewhat infamous speech. So Chicago is steadily losing population, and is well known for high crime, high taxes and frequently achieves notoriety for the highest gasoline prices in the U.S. I'm going to ignore demographic changes wrought by this misguided politician. Mr. Daley has recently been reported as coaching Gary Indiana on how to achieve a "Chicago Style" renaissance. Good luck to them! Mr. Daley's "magic formula?" Raise taxes, pay for retirement benefits via bonds, and sell public assets.

    I decided some years ago that if I really wanted to get some idea of the impact on the U.S. economy on the middle class, of which I am a member, I would have to track such things as savings rate, gasoline prices, effective tax rate, and the value of the dollar. And these are simply the "tip of the iceberg." The value of the dollar, for example, is relevant in my opinion for purchases of foreign made goods. Oil is one such. China, through currency manipulation and a population willing to work for daily rice, has entered the world stage with an eager and willing work force. Those prices are now climbing, long after China's initial impact on commodities.

    Today, with altered CAFE numbers, average MPG for automobiles is also a requisite. After all, if MPG of new autos increased 25%, that's a counteractive effect to the price of gasoline.

    That points out one of the great failures of some statistics. They don't take into account "counter-influences." It is also why some official government statistics seem to go against the grain.

    In my opinion, articles such as this one are irrelevant, and are a good example of "data" as compared to "information." The implication of this article is that certain U.S. Presidents had a more positive effect on the economy than others.

    That requires me to wear my blinders and to make a real "leap of faith" based on certain data. In other words, accepting some data to the exclusion of all other data. I won't do that.

    I've worked in very complex systems for decades.

    I've also had a U.S. passport for all of my life.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 6:34 PM, MrsCathyGF wrote:

    Do what you will with numbers. Any President that does an Apology Tour on behalf of the United States, is no president of mine. We don't need no stinkin Apologies. We need Leadership. We need a person who ENHANCES the image of the US, NOT one who makes us look apologetic. Make note. Every Despot in power right now, Like Chavez, endorse Obama. They LOVE weak presidents....

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 9:24 PM, etearl wrote:

    I have always thought Fool was left wing oriented, as a statistician, this kind of data is clearly bias and worthless. You really have to ask who is the fool here.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 12:02 AM, fooldyadidnti wrote:

    This article has been the lead article for a couple days now... time to change the homepage. Sorry Fool, this is drivel.

    "And the cleanest way to get a feel for how the economy has done under past presidents is to just have Morgan Housel lay the numbers bare."

    I actually laughed out loud when I read that. What a joke. Morgan you still haven't answered me (10/27, 4:37pm).

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 12:22 AM, 2motley4words wrote:

    Right---and do what you will with facts, veryverda: Please provide us with verbatim transcripts of the Obama addresses to foreign governments/citizens in which he delivered statements such as "I'm sorry"/"I apologize" with respect to U.S. foreign policy. (Yeah, I didn't think so.) Still, I agree with you that an "Apology Tour"---not just overseas but also stateside---is in order; however, the one who should embark on it is he who fomented an unjustified war that cost several thousand American---and many tens of thousands of Iraqi---lives and $1+ trillion (oh, but the latter expense doesn't count because it was kept "off-budget"). Of course, this tour will immediately be canceled as soon as you can provide incontrovertible evidence of Saddam's WMDs.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:53 AM, 1WillingFool wrote:

    Under the assumption that the economy is massive and, like a ship, can't be turned around instantaneously, it probably isn't fair to attribute the economy during the first part of a president's term to his actions rather than his predecessor's. It would be nice to see how these charts looked if, say, the times were shifted by a year; e.g., attributing 2009 to G.W. Bush, 2001 to Clinton. etc.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 12:32 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    "<<I don't know where you got your figures for Obama.>>

    The same place I got everyone else's numbers. It's from a database constructed by Yale economist Robert Shiller. "

    The problem is that the figures for Obama come from different calculations than the ones compared to. It is widely known that GDP, inflation and unemployment are different for all of these presidents. What is more important, every change has been made to make the number more favorable for the incumbent administration. The unmployment calculation was changed as recently as Fall of 2010. So please do not insult your readers intelligence.

    The data you use is garbage and the article...

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 12:36 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    and the article... well...

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 1:02 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    This will give you an idea of the political views of Morgan's source.....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq0PtOiO1vs

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 2:19 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    >>By the way, unemployment rate is the gold standard, not "change in" unemployment rate.<<

    Texan, what good does it do you to know that the unemployment rate at the end of a president's term is 4% or 10% if you don't know what it was at the start? "Change in" the rate shows you what an administration has done regarding unemployment.

    But, facts tend to get in the way of your political bias...so I understand why you'd be opposed to them.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 2:25 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    astroturf, don't you think that an article comparing presidents and the economy should mention that during the Obama presidency, the unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent for 43 consecutive months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression? No, of course you don't.

    Facts tend to get in the way of your political bias...so I understand why you'd be opposed to them.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 3:06 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    The federal deficit has increased because of the enormous drop in tax revenues that occured right before Obama took office, due to the economic crisis. That is the only reason.

    Anyone complaining about Obama's "spending" has not bothered to look at the numbers and see if he actually has been "spending" a lot of money. He has not.

    Despite a brief spike from the stimulus, federal spending has only increased at an annualized rate of about 2% per year since Obama took office. This is an extremely low rate compared to presidents from either party. For example, under George W Bush, federal spending consistantly increased at a rate of more than 5% per year.

    Here is the relevant graph:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cgq

    It is also a historical fact that republicans have always grown the national debt far more than democrats.

    If you believe the GOP is better at managing the federal budget, then you have fallen for their lies.

    History tells us that if Romney is elected, he will spend more than Obama, and he will increase the national debt more than Obama would have done.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 3:25 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "Anyone complaining about Obama's "spending" has not bothered to look at the numbers and see if he actually has been "spending" a lot of money. He has not."

    LOL! $5 trillion in new debt is not a lot of money to you?

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 3:32 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    ^^^

    I think I explained it pretty clearly. Debt growth is a function of falling tax receipts, not just spending. In this case, spending has very little to do with the debt growth.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 3:39 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Ummm okay, we don't actually spend the money that we borrow. We just borrow money for no reason.

    Sheesh.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 3:59 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    By the way, Obama VOLUNTARILY extended the Bush tax cuts, while wasting millions on leftist pet projects like Solyndra, so Obama is to blame for the largest 4-year debt increase in history.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 4:20 PM, slickandjake wrote:

    I think this data is tough to ruffle through because the economy is ever-changing and in different positions at different time periods. You cannot compare the WWII economy where luxuries were forbidden and income tax was ridiculously high to the 2008 economy or the 2012 economy. I think the overall message, i.e. the President is given too much responsibility for the state of the economy is spot on. The Government does, however, set the environment for the economy. Then people make decisions as to what gives them the best return for their money whether that is financial return or quality of life return.

    The economy is the responsibility of the Congress which basically delegates their authority to the Federal Reserve. Yes the Federal Reserve, a for-profit private organization of bankers. The Congress allows bankers to control our economy with very little transparancy and oversight. When I hear Obama and Romney both say "I will create jobs" I roll my eyes at not only how clueless and conceited they are but how people have to be so ignorant to believe them. If Obama is so great at creating jobs then where has he been the last 4 years when unemployment has been incredibly high? If Romney is so great at it how does he plan to control the economy when it is not even the executive branch's responsibility nor is there any oversight to the true puppeteers, i.e. the Federal Reserve?

    i think it boils down to the following:

    Jobs will be created when companies believe they can get a greater return investing in hiring more people versus other investment alternatives. That will happen when consumption and growth pick up again. That will happen when people pay down their personal debt to the point that credit opens up again and personal spending can increase again. The taget should be getting people to pay down their personal debt. Succeed at that and I believe the economy will begin to pick up again. Neither candidate addresses personal debt and it is likely one of the keys to the entire economy.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 5:00 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    @slickandjake. I like your perspective, However, the real "puppeteers' are the politicians, who make policy and then expect the economy to align with that. In the end, the bankers do what they can to facilitate the economy to achieve the monetary goals set by the politicians,

    For example, politicians decided that everyone in America should have a home. Similarly, long term dynamics in the U.S. turned this into a "consumer society" which is an adjunct to the "service economy." The problem is, working at McD doesn't pay nearly as much as working in one of those dirty, smelly factories. But it sounded good, because nobody in government clued the electorate into the reality which was "work in the service economy for minimum wage." Unless you are one of the tech elite, that is. For their part, the electorate didn't check the math, The politicians did raise the minimum hourly wage, but it was not nearly enough to make up for the loss of those good paying factory jobs.

    Cheap money, thanks to the Fed, which did it's best to support these political goals, did stoke this policy and for a time (about 10 years) everyone was very happy.

    Here's the bottom line. Politicians come and go. Consumers have very short term memory and expect that their role, as consumers, is to be facilitated by everyone else. The bankers provide the money for all of this and usually profit by it.

    It's a symbiotic system. When the consumers "consume" more than the politicians can promise, and the bankers provide, then it becomes parasitic. It will break down, and it did.

    Today, we have become a parasitic society.

    Will this change? Probably. It's stupidity to assume that the top 50% will allow the bottom 50% to grow and absorb all of the wealth. It won't happen. At what point will the "top" exert it's authority on the "bottom?" Difficult to say. But it will happen.

    Why do I say that? Because the top 50% are educated, have "critical thinking skills" and the ability to generate that wealth via a strong work ethic, etc. They also vote, and pay the majority of taxes. So do the numbers.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 5:38 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    >>don't you think that an article comparing presidents and the economy should mention that during the Obama presidency, the unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent for 43 consecutive months<<

    Texan, if that's the measure being used, then sure. But showing what's been DONE to unemployment is a more telling statistic. As you see in the data above...under the Obama administration NOTHING has been done to unemployment. That's what 0% change means.

    But, apparently that isn't partisan enough for you.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 7:38 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    astroturf, I will repeat my point. If a high school student gets straight F's in every class during his 4-year high school career, you can report his performance using one of two methods...

    A. He got F's every year for 4 years.

    B. His grades were consistent for 4 years.

    You and Morgan choose method B.

    Anything can be made to look better if you exclude the bad stuff.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 8:40 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    ETFsRULE wrote "The federal deficit has increased because of the enormous drop in tax revenues that occured right before Obama took office, due to the economic crisis. That is the only reason.

    Anyone complaining about Obama's "spending" has not bothered to look at the numbers and see if he actually has been "spending" a lot of money. He has not."

    Let's say I earned $100K last year and spent a little more than that. The next year I earn say $75K but I spend even more than I did the year before so I just got the rest from my China based credit card. Would you say I have a spending problem or a revenue problem? Most people with sense try to live within their means.

    For an individual, it is possible to increase revenue through greater productivity (especially at the behest of a nagging wife, lol). In the case of the government, their only idea to increase revenues is to increase taxes.

    Has anybody here even heard of the 'Laffer Curve'?

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 8:43 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    "astroturf, I will repeat my point. If a high school student gets straight F's in every class during his 4-year high school career, you can report his performance using one of two methods...

    A. He got F's every year for 4 years.

    B. His grades were consistent for 4 years.

    You and Morgan choose method B.

    Anything can be made to look better if you exclude the bad stuff.

    "

    It seems as though you are using arbitrary, or even biased guidelines to grade Obama. This isn't a high school class.

    Also: nothing was "consistant" for 4 years - I disagree with both you and Turf on that concept. You need to really look at the trends and properly put the numbers into perspective.

    Unemployment began to make a sharp rise in early 2008, continuing into 2009 when Obama took office. Obviously his policies did not have time to make a significant effect in early 2009. It takes a little time to get anything done, and I don't think he can be blamed for a rise in unemployment that started before he even got there.

    After reaching a peak around 10% in 2009, unemployment began dropping, and it has continued to decline steadily ever since. The rate of decline is consistant with other financial crises, which generally take longer to recover from than non-financial recessions.

    Here's the graph, starting in early 2008:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=ch6

    We are starting to recover from the last Republican presidency, and the real lesson to learn here is that we need to keep the Republicans out of office at all costs. They are bad for economic growth, bad on domestic issues, bad on foreign policy issues, and bad at managing the federal budget and the national debt. In other words: they are not good for anything.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 8:52 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    ....and if Obama wins next week, and the economy still sucks for the next 4 years, you leftists will continue to blame Bush while not holding Obama accountable at all.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 8:54 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    "Let's say I earned $100K last year and spent a little more than that. The next year I earn say $75K but I spend even more than I did the year before so I just got the rest from my China based credit card. Would you say I have a spending problem or a revenue problem? Most people with sense try to live within their means."

    That is the problem with these sorts of analogies: the federal budget is not a household budget, and they do not use credit cards. They pay 1% interest on their debt, not 25%.

    And, more importantly, it is unrealistic to expect Obama to make a yearly 20% decrease in federal spending, to coincide with the roughly 20% decline in federal receipts. That is why your expectations need to be grounded in reality. Even if he tried to do it, a sudden 20% decrease in spending would never be approved by congress. It is simply impossible, and it is a ridiculous assumption. No one wants their medicare cut, or their defense budget cut, etc. This is politics. And if you did cut the federal budget by 20%, unemployment would be MUCH higher than it is right now.

    The fact remains, he was handed an enormous crisis and an enormous deficit. You can't wave a magic wand and make it go away. His opposition, the GOP, has never shown any ability to balance the budget. So these grasping-at-straws criticisms of Obama ring hollow.

    "Has anybody here even heard of the 'Laffer Curve'?"

    I have, and it has been widely discredited. Although, I will admit, the laffer curve has some theoretical merit, despite its failings in practical usage.

    No matter how you look at it, our tax rates are extremely low right now - we can see this by the fact that the United States has experienced much higher growth rates in previous decades, even when tax rates were much, much higher than they are right now. So, it seems that the laffer curve doesn't really come into play here.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 9:45 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    ETFsRule, you don't have to wait for your favorite politicians to increase our collective wealth by taxing us more, you can write them a check today, lol.

    I guess I am another cranky Texan.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 9:53 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    I will make it easier for ETFsRule. Here you go....

    https://www.pay.gov/paygov/forms/formInstance.html?agencyFor...

    I have offered this website to many leftists who want to be taxed more, but they never use it.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:19 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    >>A. He got F's every year for 4 years.

    B. His grades were consistent for 4 years.<<

    The more important info is the lack of improvement. Would Ds be better?

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:23 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    >>....and if Obama wins next week, and the economy still sucks for the next 4 years, you leftists will continue to blame Bush while not holding Obama accountable at all.<<

    And if Romney wins and the economy sucks for four more years, "rightists" will blame Obama...that's what politicians do.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:27 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "And if Romney wins and the economy sucks for four more years, "rightists" will blame Obama...that's what politicians do."

    I won't. I dislike both Bush and Obama, but it is pathetic for Obama to blame others for 4 years. He is the worst leader this country has ever seen.

    You are about to vote for a guy who is good at one thing..... blaming others.

    Pathetic.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:44 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    "

    NOTvuffett wrote:

    ETFsRule, you don't have to wait for your favorite politicians to increase our collective wealth by taxing us more, you can write them a check today, lol.

    I guess I am another cranky Texan.

    "

    Ok, so we have moved on from the issues of federal spending and federal debt. So, I can only assume that you have no disagreements with my explanations - because you have not presented any.

    Now please explain, why do you believe that Obama would raise our taxes?

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:46 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    You mean other than Obamacare being the largest tax increase in history?

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:51 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    ^^^

    You mean because it's not?

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:52 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    CrankyTexan, the thing is most of the people on the fiscal conservative right were pretty p!ssed-off at Bush, especially after the Democrats took control of the legislative body. I was like, damn dude did you lose your veto pen?

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:54 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    ETFsRule, Obamacare is not a tax increase?

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 10:56 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:
  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:12 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    Even if you consider it a "tax", it is only the 10th largest tax increase in US history. The right-wing pundits that you listen to are stretching the truth based on political, not budgetary, reasons.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/07/no-obamacare-n...

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:12 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    It is pretty simple ETFsRule. Obama tries to portray tax increases on only the wealth, but the profligate spending of the government will mean the middle-class are hit next.

    Did you write that check?

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:17 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    "It is pretty simple ETFsRule. Obama tries to portray tax increases on only the wealth, but the profligate spending of the government will mean the middle-class are hit next."

    But, I already clearly explained that he has only increased spending by a very modest 2% per year. That is not "profligate", and it does not require any wide-reaching tax increases. You need to consider the facts if I am going to take you seriously.

    Also: what about the fact that Republicans historically increase federal spending by much more than 2% per year? Doesn't that make them a much worse alternative?

    "Did you write that check?"

    I've been assuming that you are an adult capable of rational discussion, but if not, I won't bother responding any further.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:25 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "I've been assuming that you are an adult capable of rational discussion, but if not, I won't bother responding any further."

    Translation: ETFsRule didn't write the check.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:27 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    So you are saying that you don't want to pay more into the federal coffins of revenues? Ok, then I don't want to talk you either.

    Write the check you hypocrite.

    Peace out.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:29 PM, ETFsRule wrote:

    You mean "coffers". And, your position is nonsensical.

    Did you write the check? Hypocrite.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:30 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    ETFsRule wrote, "Now please explain, why do you believe that Obama would raise our taxes?"

    So, you went from "Obama is not raising taxes" to "Obamacare is not the largest tax increase in history."

    I guess Obama is raising taxes after all.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:35 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    No, I meant coffins, that is where you go when you are dead.

    ETF, did you write a big-@ss check to the treasury dept.? I thought not, lol.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:37 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    You would think ETF would thank me for giving him the link to send extra money to the Fed. I am just trying to make it easier for him to "pay his fair share".

    Bad manners, ETF. Bad manners.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:52 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    maybe you should send that link to all the billionaires that claim they should pay more taxes, you know the ones, and then report the results. buffett was saying he wasn't paying enough tax then disputed $1billion in taxes. sounds about right.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2012, at 11:54 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Yeah, you would think that moonbat millionaires would at least use the standard deduction on their 1040. I don't quite understand why they itemize their deductions when they so "badly" want to pay more taxes.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 12:18 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    watch this, if you are a man and know old movie references, and you think mental jujitsu is not some kind of fungus on the brain, lol:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbW64215HA8

    funny as hell

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 1:38 AM, ScottmFool wrote:

    Dear Troglodytes,

    Tragedy of the commons:

    http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 1:56 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    The vote reaper video was excellent. I was bored during the first 30 seconds, but then it got much better.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 10:05 AM, Turfscape wrote:

    >>You are about to vote for a guy who is good at one thing..... blaming others.<<

    Cranky, you assume too much. You have no idea who I support, politically. That's the problem with bias like yours: anyone not cheering everything you say becomes "the enemy".

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 10:37 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Unlike Obama, I don't call people of the opposite party the "enemy".

    And it's amusing that you have a problem with my bias, but not Morgan's bias. Hypocrite.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 10:50 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    astroturf, for whom will you vote?

    I predict that you will answer that it is none of my business so you can avoid admitting that you are voting for Obama.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 1:58 PM, fppjr wrote:

    Instead of doing a correlation involving presidents or political parties what about doing so with bills passed and signed by the Presidents. Try analyzing the results of Clinton's signing of NAFTA and the real effects of which countries provided free trade as opposed to barriers? Also, include the results on employment.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 2:35 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    .....just as I predicted.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 3:19 PM, playtothebeat wrote:

    what I learned from all these comments:

    CrankyTexan is voting for Romney. Everyone else is clearly an idiot to do otherwise.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 3:29 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    lol.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 4:25 PM, Calimesa wrote:

    Morgan, great article.

    It's amazing how blind the commenters...leading to Idiocracy.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 7:54 PM, mikecart1 wrote:

    Looks like all the Presidents were bad in some way and good in some way.

    Bottom line: It doesn't matter who's President if you know how to play the game.

    Like Jay-Z once said: "Put me anywhere on God's green earth, I'll triple my worth."

    :D

  • Report this Comment On November 01, 2012, at 6:30 AM, greenergrass wrote:

    CrankyTexan.

    Regarding: "But when Morgan got to the unemployment rate, he suddenly changed the metric to total change over 4 years instead of average annual unemployment rate.

    I wonder why Morgan did that."

    One reason is that the unemployment generally goes up under Republican administrations and half of the Democratic administrations' time is spent getting it to reasonable numbers. Plot up the monthly unemployment rate and you will be amazed.

  • Report this Comment On November 01, 2012, at 10:29 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "Democratic administrations' time is spent getting it to reasonable numbers"

    Obama has the worst 4-year unemployment record since the Great Depression. Nice try.

  • Report this Comment On November 01, 2012, at 11:06 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    Since 1948 eleven incidents of rising unemployment have occurred. Nine of these events were under Republican presidents and two under Democrats.

    High unemployment generated during the Eisenhower, Bush I and Bush II administrations were/are being resolved under Kennedy/Johnson, Clinton & ObamaX2.

  • Report this Comment On November 01, 2012, at 11:38 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    By the way Cranky, the same phenomenon occurred with poverty. The poverty rate of 22% during the Eisenhower administration was brought down to 12% during the Kennedy/Johnson administrations. Clinton inherited a 15% rate from Bush I, eventually getting it down to 11%. If we give Obama four more years, he will do the same.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 10:57 AM, jhn6jun wrote:

    If one views the actions of both the Democrats and Republicans over the past 50+ years, I see very little difference between the two. They do focus their spending in different areas, but they have BOTH overspent us into a deep, dark hole. This country is on the verge of bankruptcy (some economists say it is inevitable).

    I am a registered Republican but will be voting Libertarian. If any investor believes in employing an investment strategy for the long term, I don't see how they could vote otherwise. Once this country drops into bankruptcy, statistics will mean very little.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:24 AM, RNotR2 wrote:

    To quote Samuel Langhorne Clemens:

    There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:25 AM, jfputnam wrote:

    If you are looking for measures that gauge the economy there are a few that you have missing that would help complete the picture.

    The Average Salary, (in maybe 1936 $ or whatever the standard year to measure from is).

    The Median salary (currently the large disparity in wealth pulls the average up and can be missleading as a measure of the health of the economy.

    The average weath, median wealth would be nice numbers to see as well.

    Unemployment percent, sure they have changed how they measure it but that is an indicator of economic health.

    Also the percentages of people below the poverty line,

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:29 AM, jdr12345 wrote:

    It's times like this that I wish I had paid more attention to what little Economics I took in college. Some of it is over my head. Nonetheless, I appreciate the info. I think it does drive home the point that we put too much importance on just the presidency and don't look at the balance between the Executive, Legislative and Federal Reserve. Hmmmm sounds pretty good for a psychology major..don't ya think?

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:30 AM, PositiveMojo wrote:

    A good argument can be made, based on overall results, that Reagan and Truman were the best Presidents in the group.

    I find it interesting that these two seem to fall fairly consistently in the middle of most of the numbers.

    Does that mean that some policies cause bubbles that push the numbers to the extreme? If that is so, should a President pursue policies that engender a healthy economy vs. growth?

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:30 AM, azcharlie wrote:

    I've seen lots comments here claiming Democrat presidents have been better for the market and the economy. Maybe that's true. However, this president is a marxist, unlike any other Democrat we've seen before. I say this as a warning to all those who still think the Democrat Party is the party of "the working man". It is now the party of the "man who doesn't want to work". The figures here have little to do with the present situation. It is completely different now. If you believe in capitalism, vote Romney. If you like communism, vote for Obama. That's what really matters.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:30 AM, cwmonty wrote:

    It is what it is, and it won't change so long as one party can blame the other for all its failed policies as it seams they are really getting good at.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:31 AM, SWinkeljohn wrote:

    If any INFORMATION can be derived from the DATA presented, we are perhaps wasting a lot of time, effort, and money on organizations like The Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Bureau of Economic Research, The Wharton School, Harvard Economics & etc.

    Presumably we all believe in free market economy (or why are you at MF?). Looking at the world today I don't see how the reality of a world economy, emerging at least, can be avoided. If you are looking at making a political decision, I suggest that should be the point of recognition and one should vote for whoever will best promote that free market. It is a sinch the other kind don't work.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:32 AM, hershalsavage wrote:

    #TwoBeersJohn-"That market was due more to Bill Gates than Bill Clinton. C'mon Morgan..."

    But TwoBeers..according to your buddies..90s Tech companies should have been so afraid of all the costs and regulations from, they should have never invested in expansion and r&d and instead should've just closed up shop..

    Instead the 90s were highest Growth decade since the 50s..(yep under IKE, he was okay too)

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:32 AM, maineleigh wrote:

    This is ridiculous. It is about jobs and looming debt. I am seeing pessimism and the feeling that we are heading back into recession. People are not optimistic, (except for government workers....now why wouldn't they be). People are, once again, pulling back in. Our health insurance provider told us that if Obama gets back in, our health care will double in cost (it is built in). Our insurance already increased by 25% since the Health Care Reform Act was passed! And, we (small business owners) are expected to add workers with this sort of ridiculous squeeze? Small business accounts for the majority of employment. Employment and job security drives consumer spending (economy driven by this). I see spending pulling in and small business pulling back if some sensibility does not return to tax and spending policies. Seriously, under this President, they can not even pass a budget on time....all politically motivated....after elections Log jams in Congress...NO reaching across the aisle. Your "statistic" argument is quite a joke. Better start the shorts.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:33 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<I am seeing pessimism and the feeling that we are heading back into recession.>>

    Consumer confidence is at a a five-year high.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:34 AM, lordted wrote:

    What part of 16 trillion do you not uderstand, you can't spend your way out of debt. You can't spend 1 trillion more a year than you take in.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:35 AM, ssparks123 wrote:

    Really CrankyTexan? Obama has the worst 4-year unemployment record since the Great Depression? Are you reading the same data we are? Did you happen to notice that Bush I, Bush II, Ford, Nixon and Eisenhower had substantially WORSE performance in terms of unemployment than Obama? Get real!

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:40 AM, Reynoso520 wrote:

    Not one President in history was given $787,000,000,000 to improve the economy with. The data presented might have more meaning if it factored money spent and our horrendous debt situation!

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:41 AM, hifive55 wrote:

    Looks like just more easily-skewed, meaningless statistics to me.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:41 AM, bigvelvetelvis wrote:

    To judge a President's effectiveness, it seems to me that the 4 to 8 years following the President's term would be more effective. The real issue in our country is reflected in the masked and unmasked anger and hatred on this board.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:41 AM, mrTpitiesMe wrote:

    All of these lists are numerology, and I'm pretty sure the author knows it. There are many people responding here as though the author is making judgements. I think he is pointing out that pinning something that happens on a grand scale to little tiny persons is foolish (with a small f).

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:42 AM, hifive55 wrote:

    Big agreement with Reynoso520.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:42 AM, Turfscape wrote:

    >> People are not optimistic, (except for government workers....now why wouldn't they be)<<

    Government payrolls have been cut dramatically. Those whose income is derived in total from tax revenues have been impacted at a much greater rate than private payrolls.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:43 AM, contractorr wrote:

    BUNCH OF BS. I REGRET THAT I PAID FOR FOOL'S ADVISE. YOU GUYS ARE BUNCH OF LEFTIST AND IWASTED MY HARD EARN MONEY.

    I CAN NAME FEWW STOCKS EVERY MONTH AND ONE OR TWO WILL DO GOOD AND THEN TAKE CREDIT FOR IT. WHAT A SCAM?

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:50 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    << People are not optimistic, (except for government workers....now why wouldn't they be)>>

    Since start of 2009, government employment is down 560,000, and private employment is up 521,000.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:52 AM, money4eds wrote:

    The president sets the direction of the country. The ship moves very slow in that direction.

    The Fed moves the markets in real time.

    If you have a good paying job the economy is good.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:53 AM, essoteric wrote:

    You correctly make an adjustment to Corporate Profits to show a lower rate because of the deep trough after the recession. However, you fail to make a similar adjustment to Unemployment Rate and Real GDP Growth/qtr. Had you done that your analysis would deserve an A+.

    It's a shame that there are Fools not interested in objective analysis but prefer to have there ideology and emotions be their guides.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:54 AM, Keynesian wrote:

    This clearly shows what has already been proven time and again that Republicans are bad for the economy, bad for the Country, and very bad for average people.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 11:57 AM, Turfscape wrote:

    >>I've seen lots comments here claiming Democrat presidents have been better for the market and the economy.<<

    While commentators may make those claims, the data do not show that. They show, instead, that strong market performance may happen during times that a Democrat occupies the Executive Office, just as it may during times that a Republican occupies that office. Not a claim of causation.

    >>However, this president is a marxist<<

    No, this President is a Democrat. Hyperbole doesn't add anything but noise to the dialog.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:02 PM, pillarsoflight wrote:

    Wow. Great, provocative article. Can't argue with data or presentation, really. Perhaps the most meaningful data for recent times are the numbers under Clinton and (G.W.) Bush, as they each had 8 years. Cry your hearts out, Republicans.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:03 PM, Nutjob7 wrote:

    Mark Twain was correct; "There are lies, damn lies and statistics." BO looks pretty good in some areas...is there another chapter on the amount of debt incurred by the taxpayers by the term of office? How about the level of divisiveness in the country? The market has recovered well considering how dismal it was when the budget plans the incumbent voted for when he was senator. The do-nothing Congress is largely because there was no opportunity for meaningful dialogue with Pelosi or Reid.

    No thank you. I will take my chances on fellow with experience and an open record of his past. If BO leaves quietly and never comes back to America, perhaps he can avoid impeachment.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:05 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<is there another chapter on the amount of debt incurred by the taxpayers by the term of office?>>

    Yes. See comment that begins, "For the curious and by popular request ..."

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:06 PM, Nutjob7 wrote:

    The only reason Clinton's record was worthy is that of a Republican Congress who was willing to work with a president to put the Americans first.

    By the way, please remember the star Clinton has had his license to practice law revoked as has the incumbent and his wife. Not exactly a solid record of character and achievement.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:11 PM, C0ncernedCit wrote:

    How about tracking the increase in national debt as a percentage of average annual GDP over a president's term? Growing the economy at the cost of future generations should not buy you political credibility.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:12 PM, aclark1998 wrote:

    Seriously, I doubt this article is designed to change any minds, just display facts, and certainly get page views and provoke discussion.

    That it happens to show that Democratic presidents seem to fare better on the economy is what it is.

    The economy is what people think that it is, and if your personal economy is good, then it's a good economy.

    If the Dow loses 3%, I'm ok. I keep investing money, simply because I'm not rich and I'm buying cheap for when the Dow turns around. If I had a quarter million dollars in the stock market, then I certainly wouldn't care if the Dow lost a small percentage. The Dow will make it back... unless I believe that the markets are on a permanent downturn and capitalism is a failure, which I don't believe.

    I simply keep growing my personal economy and hope that the government keeps rising boats, so to speak.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:14 PM, PenguinTrap wrote:

    If you look at the list again, carefully, you'll see that the numbers support the basic thesis of the article: presidents get too much credit when things are good, and too much blame when bad. It would be interesting to replace the names of the presidents here with a 'D' or 'R'. I think what you'd mostly see is a great big mix up of D's and R's without any pattern emerging.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:18 PM, rhclingenpeel wrote:

    It is amazing to me to see so much denial in the responses to this report. It simply shows that no matter what data is presented, minds have been made up.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:23 PM, JeremyBoak wrote:

    I thought this was a fascinating list, and wonder what some professional economists think about the completeness and relative importance of the list. I decided to take a neutral stance and see if these values gave a reasonable view of the economy that each President presided over, without any conviction about his influence on the values.

    I looked at a sum of the four factors (after reversing the sign of the two negative indicators, inflation and unemployment) and at the sum of the rank of each president on these indicators (to overcome the powerful bias of a few very large numbers like Mr. Obama's corporate profit number). In both rankings, the top five Presidents (Harding, Coolidge, Clinton, FD Roosevelt, and Obama) and the bottom five Presidents (T Roosevelt, Nixon, GW Bush, Hoover, and Wilson) are the same. Numbers 6-9 (Kennedy, Johnson, Taft and Reagan) and 10-14 (Ford, Eisenhower, Truman, and Carter) are also the same.

    There is very little correlation between the rankings on any two of these parameters, which suggests at least that they are crudely independent measures.

    The results have no particular value except as discussion points about how one might honestly rank Presidents on their economic performance. Should any one of these measures have a stronger weight in the scoring? Is there an objective way to decide about those? Does the amount of time in office affect the rankings strongly or not?

    Can we tease anything interesting about the ability of a President to affect the economy? The various groupings are curious, and may strongly argue the case that the President doesn't influence the economy that strongly, or there may be food for thought here. It is clear that they provided a Rorschach test for potential commenters.

    Clearly, Harding and Coolidge benefited from the boom, and saddled Mr. Hoover with the bust, even though all three were Republicans. FDR benefits by his long tenure and the war, and war probably affects the ranking of Wilson and Truman. I found it odd that Reagan ranked so low, and that Taft ranked so high, but think these facts could be very helpful in looking at what really matters for the economy.

    I personally enjoyed this set of data, and, while it doesn't give a conclusive answer, it was fascinating to look at. Thank you, Morgan, for an interesting diversion.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:32 PM, Maerzie wrote:

    As we have seen: declaring unprovoked wars, financial industry regulating and deregulating, handling of foreign affairs with diplomacy and keeping our reputation high, personal scandals, honesty and honor in national and international affairs, etc., ALL affect our economy, and almost all are at least indirectly connected with the president. And, because government works so slowly, some of those effects aren't even felt for MORE than a four year term. We also need to assess opposing party controls in Congress, which intentionally blackball progress for the national economy, because of playing juvenile partisan games, instead of working FOR our country's prosperity, as we have recently seen the past 3 years. Yes, President Obama did have ONE year of Democrat control, with a dying Ted Kennedy not able to do his usual strong role, and three years of Republican control when almost eveything Obama tried was obstructed. The results for any President are a combination of all these and more.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:37 PM, kennedywcom wrote:

    Has anyone considered that things take time to develop? Case in point, Making Homes Affordable was started in the Clinton Admin. (The Bailout now is called Home Affordable Finance Assistance proving it's connection)This set the stage for questionable and ultimately fraudulant loan practices. Then when Bush got in, the economy was booming, so he's figuring he's doing a great job, then at the end, the house of cards started falling due to interest rate adjustments. None of that was really Bush's fault. Not saying Bush was great either, but what Obama is actually dealing with is what Clinton setup in the beginning, but got to put the blame on Bush for it all. It will be interesting to see what the market does on Wednesday depending on who wins. It seems that whenever Obama speaks about the economy or his plans for it, the market tanks. I for one will be setting up stops and moving into gold if he wins again because if he actually taxes the rich as he says he will, it's gonna crash hard.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:41 PM, hpeck wrote:

    I'd like to see the same tables with headers for Republican or Democratic controlled Congress and the corresponding Party of the President.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:45 PM, transyl44 wrote:

    It is important to point out that the economic policies of Romney are close to those of Herbert Hoover's, which pushed the U.S. into a full Depression (http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/31/obama-vs-h... ). Until we can handle the economy with a reduced spending/increased taxes program, as recommended by the majority of 40 leading economists in the Booth School of Business survey earlier this year (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-23/the-u-s-economic-po..., we are not going to reverse the economic damage that resulted from the 8 years of GW Bush's failed tax-cuts-for-the-rich policy. This survey indicated that the Obama's stimulus and bank bailout prevented a full-scale Depression. People need to read the facts and listen to the experts rather than one-party political baloney. With Romney, you would see unemployment rates skyrocket, support systems disappear, and the middle class further destroyed. Unfortunately, many of the people voting for him don't realize that they are hurting themselves and the future of their families.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:51 PM, hansentech wrote:

    This data is not complete without showing the deficits run up by the same Presidents in order to manipulate the other numbers. I do believe that Presidents do make a difference where deficits impact other economic measures.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 12:52 PM, newertoit wrote:

    Savant55's statement is of course not universally true. There is really investing going on. I certainly hope so or what am I doing paying for Foolish advice.

    Still, we all know now that there are people trading on short term trending with computers plugged in and tracking trends in real time who get in and out in minutes based on momentum.

    So can anyone tell me how this benefits the economy? I believe it does not and in fact creates an unlevel playing field that takes a little away from all of us.

    Now we can't put the genie back in the bottle technology wise but we can discourage this practice. Put a very high tax on "ultra short term" capital gain. I know we all hate taxes. But geez, these people are corrupting our markets and doing no good for the rest of us.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 1:24 PM, MeirRatsky wrote:

    I can sum up ALL of the previous comments with a single quotation from Mark Twain: "There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 1:28 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    C0ncernedCit you hit on just about the only metric that favors Republican presidential administrations. Since 1948, the federal debt per GDP has averaged 50% under the Republicans and 61% under the Democrats. Obama’s administration has averaged 94% so far which is certainly cause for concern. Let’s hope he can reduce this figure and keep the economy improving at the same time. History tells us odds are the economy will perform better under a Democratic president.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 1:59 PM, bamathrasher wrote:

    Figures don't lie but figurers do. This practice is routinely practiced by Obama and his administration.

    If only Ambassador Stevens could talk.

    Enough said!

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 2:04 PM, lifeafter82 wrote:

    president trumann vs president obama

    in the 1948 Us election most of the so called experts, pundits, journalist, etc. buried president trumann before the election.

    journalist went as far, that they wrote the election result the day before the election, that trumann was defeated.

    64 years later we are facing the same scenario, and almost the same reaaction from the above mentioned group off "know all" people, who make they living in the political arena.

    I would advise all those "ill informed" to get ready for a lot off "chowing and swalloiwng off papers and inks. I am not an experet, but i am using my common sense, who will vote for president obama;

    women, black, jewish, spanish, white people, seniors, imigrant, middle class, auto workers.

    i will monitor the hospitals emergency rooms, how many people will be treated with severe "stomach problem, do to swalloing large amount of "papers and inks"

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 2:13 PM, mhbecton wrote:

    Thank you for presenting the facts in an unbiased way. They were enlightening...

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 2:44 PM, C0ncernedCit wrote:

    greenergrass - thanks for the response. I would say its a stretch to say all of these show Democratic Presidents performing better. Republicans own the top three spots on #1 and 2 of the top 5 on the other metrics. Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy. We cannot hope that continuing at a rate of 94% of debt to GDP is sustainable even if there maybe some short term benefit in the meantime. We need to have a dramatic change in direction for our long term success.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 2:54 PM, jwilson6 wrote:

    Interesting that the Bushes were at the bottom of the list.

    President Obama did have ONE year of Democrat control, But most of that was trying to clean up the mess Bush left. Then three years of Republican control when almost eveything Obama tried was obstructed and their only goal was to stop him from getting anything done.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 2:55 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    ConcernedCit,

    The following discussion compares 35 economic measures between the presidential administrations from 1948 to 2008.

    Out of the 35 categories, 32 varied by a difference of 3% or more in performance between democratic and republican presidential administrations. Democratic administrations performed better in 26 out of the 32 categories. The democrats were consistently better in growing jobs, income, and GDP. They outperformed the republicans with slower growth rates for national debt, budgets, military expenditures, inflation and taxes on production income. The six categories that the republicans performed better was the growth in corporate profits after taxes, and slower growth rates in federal expenditures and taxes on corporate and personal income. The most significant factor favoring the republicans is a lower debt/GDP figure.

    Our best hope is with Obama. The improving economy is happening and it will accelerate.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 3:24 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    jwilson,

    Obama's first two years were with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate. What he never had was a filibuster proof Senate (60 votes). In retrospect maybe he should have invoked cloture more to end the incessant Republican filibusters.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 3:52 PM, rschulz511 wrote:

    Terrible analysis. You're numbers do not make sense. If Obama blames Bush for everything wrong. Shouldn't the lag affect of what Bush had in place given himn some credit. Not the way your numbers were formed. Credibility missing.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 3:53 PM, Fujijon wrote:

    Obama did not create the massive downturn, caused by the credit swaps, nodoc mortgages and numerous other wealth robbing programs initiated & propagated by previous programs and administrations . As these programs imploded, massive fiat spending resulted, causing the value of the dollar to plummet.

    Obama is responsible for robbing the bond holders rights to the assets of GM, nationalizing health care and causing the national debt to exceed the GNP by nearly 1 trillion dollars. The debt load interest cost is the time bomb. Any doctor that takes a myoptic view of partial data (symptoms) would be charged, prosecuted & convicted of malpractice of the highest degree.

    Can the US economy survive this debt load, as the goverment keeps printing?

    Where are the investing safe havens?

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 3:54 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<Terrible analysis.>>

    There is no analysis in this article. It's just numbers.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 3:58 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<As these programs imploded, massive fiat spending resulted, causing the value of the dollar to plummet.>>

    The US Dollar Index is higher today than it was in early 2008, before the credit crisis hit.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 4:03 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    Morgan,

    Congrats on achieving "article of the week". You suceeded in sparking plenty of debate and that's what it's all about.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 4:03 PM, wilson1967 wrote:

    I especially like the 0% change in unemployment presently. Oh, I forgot, the new normal is 8%. The starting point used in each analysis for the last 4 years is "rich". Someone is trying to hard to convince us that all is "ok", when we are far from being "ok".

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 4:38 PM, C0ncernedCit wrote:

    greenergrass - I think you're missing the point. As you said, 94% is cause for concern. So if Romney were elected, and made the hard but necessary decision to change course, you would credit the lesser economic activity to him? Seems like a terribly inaccurate assessment of who was responsible. Similarly, if Obama is elected and continues the same course (as he has provided no new agenda items) there maybe an associated short term economic benefit. Unfortunately, our potential debt is not infinite, and there is a negative consequence.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 4:50 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    What I am saying is, according to history, we will have a better economic conditions with a Democratic president. A 94% debt/GDP is a concern, but it is not the only one.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 4:55 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    We have had higher than 94% debt/GDP and came out just fine. The economy is improving and will likely to continue to improve under either candidate. Odds are it will be better under a Democrat.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 7:05 PM, Fujijon wrote:

    Credit crisis roots started before 08, perhaps culminating in 08, unfortunately the $16+ trillion national debt in combination with the federal unfunded obligations and massive increases in business operating cost will stiffle expansion especially in the mid to small cap concerns which has most of the private sector employment. Rules of the game have shifted so much in the past 10 years, that simply stating one group of bigger spending republicans will fare worse than the bigger spending democrate is bogus.

    The economic engines & political grip are so massive that policy changes takes years to have significant effect, hence the lag seen by some of the positive results by a few of the republican presidents.

    One positive note is that the EU is in worse shape then the US, with more capital flowing here as a safe haven.

    Taking a small slice of data and extrapolating a few correct numbers does not make the whole argument valid, but for investing shorter term timelines the article makes sense.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 7:53 PM, ElRemaro wrote:

    This discussion is further evidence that people reject evidence that conflicts with their preconceived notions.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 8:12 PM, a1kjl wrote:

    This data is very good and very informative. I had expected Obama's numbers to be worse as most media outlets fabricate such material in order to falsely portray Obama in a better light. None the less, this is confirmation that Obama is substantially a far worse President than Carter. I pray that no business leaders having read this will vote for that fool again. His time is up and it is our time to move on.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 9:22 PM, ReasonableManSta wrote:

    Stupid limitation on characters.

    As I tell people on my show on WEFT90.1 FM in Champaign Il. The only thing we need to look at is, that if you are a long tern invester, as Motley Fool suggests, is the DJIA. From it's inception to today it has gone from 40 to 13K plus. 100% of that percentage increase has came from DEMOCRATIC presidents.

    Wake up people. If you want the Dow to increase, vote Democratic, for president.

    Stan

    WEFT Champaign

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2012, at 9:35 PM, Jane207 wrote:

    Morgan, You write one hell of an article ~ kudos.

    Have to ask Seattle1115 a question: What, pray tell, are "real Americans"?

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 12:12 AM, SkepikI wrote:

    Quite a fascinating exercise in presenting "Data" that may or may not be facts and correlations that may or may not be correlated. The commentary was equally fascinating. The human imperative to find "Data" where it does not exist and correlate relationships that are not related is pervasive. I had an engineering prof in the 70's who illustrated this to his senior students by creating a random number generator "file" and asking them if it showed a certain defect in a process. All but one of the class concluded one way or another with elegant explanations and fits and clever analysis of the "Data" One, simply admitted he could not tell one way or the other. The prof then revealed his ruse and showed us how a statistical method "Student's T-test" showed it was simply random and not correlated at all. One of those who cleverly "found" the answer in the "Data" I never forgot that lesson.

    Years later in the 80's, my household was one of those selected by BLS for the CPI survey we answered many questions about prices, products, what we spent how things changed etc. My wife kept VERY good records and could address most things factually, especially prices, and when I asked the survey rep just how everyone he talked to managed to pull out such data and records, he admitted that they didn't, most "just guessed". I've never believed another CPI or other BLS generated number to be accurate. At best they get basic direction... maybe plus or minus 50%.

    I've seen a few comments though that I believe to be correct, mostly relating to the incredible inertia and delay in economic response to input. It would be an equally interesting exercise TMF Morgan to tabulate exactly the same estimates from the same sources with a ONE, TWO and THREE year delay....since any presidents admin and budget effects are delayed at least one year, and maybe two (I include three just for fun).

    Just One Man's Opinion, as good a yardstick for analysis of the witches brew of economic thought pegging government generated "statistics" to actual results.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 12:24 AM, tbenterud wrote:

    Funny how republicans vs democrats isn't mentioned. Am I the only one wondering about that?

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 12:50 AM, bill839 wrote:

    What an amazing range of comments! Discounting the neo-fascist nonsense re the socialist, communist, marxist Obama administration, most of the comments, right and left, are well considered and thought-provoking. As an investor, I must conclude that the market does better under Dems (at least recently; where's Cal when we need him?). My holdings have doubled under Obama, after being halved under Bush (back to even). It would be interesting to see the numbers adjusted for the 6mos. or 1yr it may take for a new president's policies to take effect.

    Good work, Mr. Housel

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 3:10 AM, greenergrass wrote:

    Bill 839,

    “ It would be interesting to see the numbers adjusted for the 6mos. or 1yr it may take for a new president's policies to take effect.”

    Below is a comparison of the performance under Democratic and Republican presidential administrations, shifting the data by 6 months and 1 year:

    S&P 1950 to present:

    10.5%-Dems, 7.0%-Reps

    8.8%-Dems, 6.5%-Reps w/ 6 mo. shift

    5.3%-Dems, 7.4%-Reps 1 yr. shift

    Unemployment 1948 to present:

    5.6%-Dems, 5.9%-Reps

    5.4%-Dems, 6.1%-Reps w/ 6 mo. shift

    5.1%-Dems, 6.2%-Reps w/ 1 yr. shift

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 4:25 AM, davisnw wrote:

    Personally, I find the analysis done by Wolfram regarding presidential party and returns much more instructive. See http://blog.wolfram.com/2008/10/16/stock-market-returns-by-p...

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 5:00 AM, greenergrass wrote:

    Thanks for the reference davis, interesting article.

    Unfortunately Wilfran only looked at the DOW. I think the S&P would show a different story. Also the stock market isn’t the only measure for the economy. If you look at all factors, the majority of favorable performance goes definitively to Democratic presidential administrations. There are definitely other factors that contribute to performance, and any single figure should not be taken as an argument. Roosevelt’s years look great because the Hoover years were so bad. That’s why I generally look at the data since 1948. I think that is a more fair comparison between the parties.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 5:01 AM, martyp1 wrote:

    If you look over the numbers, President Obama is pretty much in the middle of the road.

    Everyone blames failed policies for the depressed jobless rate at 7.9 and folks settleing for lower wage jobs, while corporate profits are at 77%. Maybe he is not so anti-business after all.

    Corporations are not hiring more because they don't need to. They can do more with less. Ask a soldier or DOD employee who works hi/hers ass off and gets paid less than the corporate employees they report to . Companies can hold on to the money they have and grow their businesses more efficiently.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 10:38 AM, larrrup wrote:

    as the old saying goes "figures lie and liars figure" . Just looking at the numbers you would think that Obama was a great president. Just look at what his administration did to the bond holders of GM to get an idea of what really is the case. That is like home prices they recently increased, does that mean that real estate has recovered? No it just got off the floor.

    The recent abandoment of the personell and ambassador in Lybia to an attack by Al-Quedia for what I believe was a political calculation or a deep seated kinship with muslims, weighs more on your choice for who should be president than a few economic numbers

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 11:05 AM, greenergrass wrote:

    You are absolutely right larrup, one should not base their decision solely on economic data. This article and most of the commentary sets the record straight on what administrations are better for the economy. It debunks the myth that Republican presidents are better for business.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 4:31 PM, Nan705 wrote:

    From present statistics, market health is not inconsistent with high unemployment rates domestically, since we're immersed in a world-wide economy through open trade. It stands to reason that corporations, and the market by extension, increase profits and value by decreasing labor costs. So the market will continue to thrive as long as workers "rights" are being subverted through "right to work" legislation or union busting, and outsourcing or decreasing wages through global competition, etc. All the statistics bare out the fact that we have, through citizen apathy and willful ignorance, allowed legislative empowerment of corporations to a truly plutocratic degree. Which portends well for a comfortable retirement of coupon clipping... that many of us aspire to in old age. But it's certainly not fair for our domestic labor market which is being unduly exploited under the present system. I would rather have diminished returns and a more humane and equitable distribution of wealth to those who are actually producing it.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 4:54 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    greenergrass:

    Thanks very much for the most interesting "correlation" of the whole commentary. I am more interested in the S&P at one year delay (and would be equally fascinated by S&P at 2 year delay) because it is reliably reported, consistently measured, not as subject to observation/estimation errors and is closer to true data than anything else discussed. Certainly unemployment % bears only a rough approximation to "data".

    Something you all might consider, particularly TMF Morgan is that Obama had little influence and no authority until Jan 20 of his first year and did not influence a budget until the next October. Of course there hasn't been a budget for 3 years... which is influence one way or another....

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 4:57 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    Then again on reflection, one has to realize that entities move in and out of the S&P 500 on an irregular basis, thus compromising it as "data". Still likely the best we got out of this whole excercise.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 5:00 PM, zeanne wrote:

    Great article! You won't see this on Faux News. These statistics make it hard to blame President Obama for his "failed policies". If we had continued on the path we were on we would have been digging out of a Great Depression instead of the Great Recession.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 5:17 PM, greenergrass wrote:

    Skepikl,

    Since the market is supposed to be forward thinking, I don't think shifting the data is relevant, but here it is anyway:

    S&P 1950 to present

    10.5%-Dems, 7.0%-Reps

    8.8%-Dems, 6.5%-Reps w/ 6 mo. shift

    5.3%-Dems, 7.4%-Reps 1 yr. shift

    8.3%-Dems, 8.2%-Reps 2 yr. shift

    I suggest that shifting the data is more applicable for measures like unemployment.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 1:01 AM, fooldyadidnti wrote:

    Still waiting, Morgan.

    10/27 4:37pm

    10/29 12:02am

    Already changed the homepage, now just waiting for your answer.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 2:08 AM, bill839 wrote:

    larrup'

    Back off on the right wing claptrap. No one knows what happened in Libya. Based upon what happened to Bin-Laden, we know Obama will get them. Let's stick to investing.

    What does the group think of NFLX?

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 12:06 PM, Topgunbar0 wrote:

    This is data, not information.

    Very distinct differences.

    This doesn't include the ramifications of surrounding circumstances and side effects of each party's policies. Provides a very limited picture.

    E.g. the market will perform well with QE1, 2, 3 but what about future ramifications of such efforts....who will get the blame for that? Hard to say...

    Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac will help boost the economy by guaranteeing risky loans in secondary market, poor will have homes, economy will grow, etc. What were the ramifications of that? Where did blame fall? Was it appropriate? What about the regulations the Bush Administration and Republcans wanted to add to GSEs which went ignored?

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 2:16 PM, HurricaneJohnson wrote:

    Thanks for the article and data. Great lively discussion going on, too. Having read Fool for several years, my opinion is that there is a liberal leaning here. I still read it, so obviously I get value from it. Having said that, and coming from the days when Milton Freidman was actually taught in business school, my perspective is that 1) many government policies create market dislocation 2) the metrics for stock price growth that are tied to CEO compensation result in short-term bad business decision making 3) I think that there is an unholy alliance between business and government these days that does not promote a healthy economy.

    48 million of my brothers and sisters are on food stamps. 23 million can't get full time work. Many have dropped off of the radar and are no longer looking for work and are getting disability (for which the rules have been relaxed). I notice that states with more business friendly republican governors are doing better than those with democrat governors. I can't figure out a tax policy where GE can make billions of profit and not pay taxes. 47% of Americans pay no federal taxes. There is a $1.2T yearly deficit and a $16T debt. I hate the concept of class warfare. So to me, the "Romney plan" of reducing tax rates while correspondingly reducing loopholes should be a good start towards a fundamentally healthy economy.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 2:27 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<47% of Americans pay no federal taxes.>>

    It's actually 18.1%. And of those, 10.3% are elderly (the majority of whom don't work), and 6.9% earn less than $20k a year.

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxtopics/images/Breakdown3-0...

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 2:42 PM, HurricaneJohnson wrote:

    Thanks for the link, Morgan. I typed my note in haste. I meant to say "47% of Americans pay no federal income taxes." Your chart proves that with a slight rounding error on my part. (46.7%).

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 3:27 PM, RockyTopBob wrote:

    Morgan,

    Once again you are posting articles that will obviously get a big political argument going. Sex, religion and politics don't belong on TMF.

    Stick to stock and investing analysis and leave the politics to the talking heads.

    Our country is divided enough already. TMF doesn't pay you to stir up more divisive discussions on politics. You can claim that this wasn't a political post but with your chosen title you would be pressed to say otherwise unless you also are a liar.

    Regards,

    Bob

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 7:13 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    greenergrass: Thanks, very informative. While I've never believed the markets are CORRECTLY forward looking, if there were some correlation I would expect by the second year investors would have a much better idea of what to expect and be reacting based on what they saw and therefore what they expect (presuming they thought presidential influence meant anything at all) in the next two. I'd apply Student's T-test to the numbers but I dont think I need to. Looks pretty much like a random number generator to me.....

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 10:38 PM, gfm2014 wrote:

    I'm not going to go into a deep analysis of why this article is complete hogwash. But I will say that to measure Barack Obama's administration and suggest that inflation is tame, minimal really, is completely fictitious. When I go grocery shopping, a $2 gallon of milk now costs me $4. A 25-cent ear of corn now costs 50 cents or more, if it is available (hasn't been diverted to ethanol production). Beef prices are through the roof. When I fill up my car, gas is over $4.00 when it used to be $1.86 four years ago. All the things I spend large amounts of money on every month are essentially double what they cost when this monster and his grotesquely corrupt allies in Congress took office. You tell me the CPI has gone up 2.2% a year. RIDICULOUS! Everyone can see what is happening! The government lies to us to our faces, and Motley Fool repeats the lie and amplifies it. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves for this naked political pandering. It is disgraceful.

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2012, at 12:12 AM, tomw1000 wrote:

    Your statistics are flawed in that they take start of a term to end of a term. There are lags in policy creation of at least six months, so a more accurate evaluation is based on six months after the start to six months after the end of a term. On those grounds, Obama's GDP growth, which is what matters would be about 1.6% as opposed to the 0% you cite.

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2012, at 12:34 AM, tomw1000 wrote:

    Your numbers are misleading. According to average quarterly growth figures from the BEA the growth rate from Q1 2009 to Q3 2012 the growth rate was 1.506 vs the 1.4% you report. The more appropriate number from Q III 2009 to Q III 2012 is 2.169%. This allows for the minimum policy lag that must occur when a president takes office. Hope you can do better with investment numbers.

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2012, at 6:06 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    GFM2012,

    I think you'll find that the CPI's numbers are perfectly consistent with the price gains you cite. The gasoline portion of the CPI, for example, is up 114% since early 2009:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/CUUR0000SETB01.txt

    Keep in mind, the CPI is made up of thousands of items and weighted based on an average budget, not just milk and gas.

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2012, at 9:09 AM, trish28117 wrote:

    Morgan -- Great article. Would you consider redoing figures by moving the beginning and ending intervals by 1.5 - 2 years after each President took office? Like some of the commenters, I also have a gut feeling that policies and politics take time to manifest, and I'd really be interested in seeing if there is any significant shift in the numbers. Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2012, at 10:59 AM, yooperking wrote:

    What good are high returns in the stock market if the U.S. is going bankrupt from overspending, like the PIIGS in Europe? Your article masks your bias for Obama and the Democrats who have brought nothing but financial ruin to the U.S.. RINO Republicans, who always side with the Democrats, are just as guilty. Tea Party Republicans are the only ones that can prevent financial chaos and disaster from happening in the U.S..

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2012, at 10:37 PM, fooldyadidnti wrote:

    A shame that Morgan is not willing to answer my repeated attempts to ask whether he thinks that these "stats" are actually meaningful.

    Not a shame - I made Drudge my homepage and I spend more time on Seeking Alpha now.

  • Report this Comment On November 06, 2012, at 2:11 AM, dmiles2 wrote:

    Hoover was a statist, and both Bushes were RINO's in many ways. It would be much more useful to compare econometric parameters to the free-market or statist leanings of both the President AND Congress.

    Clinton was not 'able to achieve near-zero deficits.' His spending was constrained by the Congress. I am sure that some Republican presidents were similarly constrained in implementing their goals by Congress.

    I am sick of people using "unemployment" as any kind of metric, especially since it is so amenable to manipulation and subject to workers' decisions to retire or go on disability. Employment, both as a percentage and as a raw number, is much more relevant.

    IIRC, Morgan pointed out that govt employment is down 560K and private up 530K. That is pretty dismal when we have more than 100k coming out of HS or college every year. The net increase in workforce should be over 500K just from new workers if it weren't for people giving up or going on disability.

    My numbers are probably off. I don't recall what they are. I think I am low.

  • Report this Comment On November 06, 2012, at 11:59 AM, LairdMike wrote:

    Thanks for the interesting article and the tables.

    It's truly unfortunate that some posters can't look beyond their biases and realize your point that macroeconomics and historical forces can hand a good president a bad economy (and vice versa).

    I will continue to buy your newsletter because I find value in your product. I will continue to invest in quality companies that make useful products or deliver needed services. If I profit, good for me! If I lose, I will not blame others. I will not type in CAPITALs, as that is crass and angry. I will not name call public figures and I will not call statistics BS if they confuse me or contradict my ideology. Numbers are just tools after all, and I try not to yell at my hammer.

  • Report this Comment On November 06, 2012, at 12:01 PM, smacunalum wrote:

    Where has all the money gone? You know, the trillions printed. The first figure may be a clue. Profit Growth during Obama: 77.9%. I don't pretend to know where the money is going. All I know is that I or anyone I know hasn't seen any of it - as far as I know.

  • Report this Comment On November 06, 2012, at 12:07 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<Where has all the money gone? You know, the trillions printed.>.

    It stayed at the Fed.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/EXCRESNS

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2012, at 12:04 PM, WetTail wrote:

    How about some love for Warren G. Harding ?

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2012, at 1:19 AM, foolswish wrote:

    What do the Motley Fools think about October 25th comment prediction of QE158 inflating gas to $7 a gallion.?? If so, where exactely should our money, and more that we can beg borrow or steal be? Changing the subject a bit I know.

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2013, at 9:17 PM, Thordog03 wrote:

    TMF Morgan, You have the debt growth a bit distorted. The reason Obama and not GW Bush has the higher debt growth is because Obama took the war debts and the Medicare part D (prescription drug benefit) expense that were "off budget" for GWB and not reflected in his budget deficits. Obama simply added the GWB off budget debt dollars and put them where they belonged, into the budget, which added the debt to the Obama numbers. Your deficit numbers are partisan and manipulative.

    I suspect you also avidly read News Max.

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