Which Party Has Posted The Strongest Economic Numbers In The Modern Era?
Have the markets performed better when a Democratic or Republican president was in control of the White House?
Which party has presided over higher unemployment rates when they are in control of the White House?
Which party has been able to add the most jobs when they are in control of the White House?
Over the past few months, I've written a number of articles that have tried to answer some of these questions. The data comes from publicly available sources. As someone once said, "Men lie, women lie, numbers don't."
This article is going to serve as an overview for the six articles that I have written in the past that have looked at: GDP growth, unemployment numbers, stock market performance, average deficit size, average spending increases and number of jobs added by presidential party.
To everybody who is saying, well why don't you break this data down by controlling Senate or House party - I hear you, and I will be following up this article with two more that will break down the data by controlling Senate and House party. For today, we'll focus on breaking down the data by presidential party, and we'll also focus on the post WWII era.
GDP Growth (1948-2009)
Of the 26 years that the Democrats have occupied the White House since 1948, average GDP growth in the country has been 4.01%. This compares to a 2.75% figure when the Republicans are occupying the White House.
From January of 1948 until August of 2010 (I wrote the article in early October), Democratic presidents have presided over an average national unemployment rate of 5.4%, while Republican presidents have presided over an average national unemployment rate of 5.9%.
Obviously, given the fact that the national unemployment rate is currently close to 10%, the Democratic numbers will increase over the coming months and years.
Stock Market Performance
We went back as far as 1960 for this data (except in the case of the NASDAQ, where we went back to 1971), and went all the way up to the end of 2009.
Here is the breakdown of the data by party:
Dow, 21 Years, +9.6% avg
NASDAQ, 13 Years, +23.64% avg
S&P 500, 21 Years, +11.66% avg
Dow, 29 Years, +4.97% avg
NASDAQ, 26 Years, +5.38% avg
S&P 500, 29 Years, +4.38% avg
As mentioned in the article, the numbers on the Democratic side were helped immensely by the fact that the markets went absolutely bananas during the Clinton era.
From 1960 to 2010 (51 years total), US government spending has grown by an average of 7.63% per year.
Here is the breakdown by party:
Republican President, 29 Years, Annual Spending Increase of 7.58%
Democratic President, 22 Years, Annual Spending Increase of 7.68%
Now, the inflation adjusted breakdown:
Republican President, 29 Years, Annual Spending Increase of 2.96%
Democratic President, 22 Years, Annual Spending Increase of 4.09%
From 1948 to September of 2010, 50,780,000 non-farm payroll jobs have been added when a Democrat is president, while 35,104,000 non-farm payroll jobs have been added when a Republican is president.
This works out to a monthly rate of:
Democrat - 157,701 jobs added per month
Republican - 81,259 jobs added per month
Advantage: Democrats (for now)
From 1946 to 2009, the United States has posted an average budget deficit of $160.99 billion (inflation adjusted).
During the 36 years that the Republicans have held the White House from 1946-2009, the United States has posted an average deficit of $202.28 billion (inflation adjusted).
During the 28 years that the Democrats have held the White House from 1946-2009, the United States has posted an average deficit of $107.9 billion.
Based on current deficit projections, by the end of 2012, the Democrats and Republicans should be in a dead heat in this category..
Next up - we'll break this data down by controlling House and Senate parties..
Filed under: General Knowledge