That a World Bank Economist would find some way to get Obama as close to Reagan as possible in terms of how well the economy has performed – as detailed in this Bloomberg article.
He starts off with ignoring the makeup of Congress [specifically the House of Representatives where all spending bills originate] and focuses just on the Presidency. This is odd – most liberals these days are clawing for any means possible to limit the role the Presidency plays in the growth of the economy. Certainly he has no right to argue that the President can control “debt and federal taxes as a share of GDP” – The example of Bush 43 clearly shows that a President’s hands can be tied with respect to these factors.
He then repeats the mistake of the WaPo writer that gave Obama a free pass on the 2009 spending by couching it in terms of how Reagan can’t be blamed for the miserable economy under Carter. “No reasonable economist would blame the 10.5 percent inflation rate and other weak economic conditions of 1981 on Reagan. … Similarly, the slow economic growth of 2001 had nothing to do with George W. Bush’s policies, and Obama cannot credibly be blamed for the economic fallout of 2009. ” This is fine – but it neglects the fact that Democrats in Congress controlled the spending in 2009 – and they didn’t pass anything until after the election – a far different story than faced by Reagan or Bush at the start of their Presidencies. Further – Reagan’s economy crashed well before the election, whereas the economic mess that Obama inherited all started in June of 2008 – when it became apparent that absent some surprise Obama was going to be the next President. Again – a completely different situation than faced by Reagan or Bush 43. This is not to say there was no housing bubble in 2008 – nor is this to neglect the financial mess that we were in in 2008. This is to say the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was the imminent election of a former socialist to the Presidency.
Truman gets a ‘gimme’ with this category: “the best average trade balance, a surplus of 1.6 percent of GDP. ” The question is, with so much of the world production base in tatters, how could Truman only have a surplus of 1.6%? Who was America importing from at the end of the war?
Bush 43 gets: “… the highest increase in population below the poverty line; …”. I am confused how so many people can be dropping off the unemployment rolls and out of the workforce under Obama and somehow the population below the poverty line isn’t that high. This probably has to do with the 1 year lag – so Bush 43 is getting blamed for the dramatic increase in unemployed that happened as employers shedded staff in preparation for socialism.
“With respect to GDP growth, three of the top four performers were Democrats and four of the bottom five were Republicans.” – this of course benefits Clinton – it was Reagan and Bush 41 that ended the Cold War that consumed so much defense spending; and as the economy pivoted from Cold War to Dot Com boom a Democrat benefited.
In closing – this analysis seems so close minded and blind to effects that it becomes meaningless.