The common viewpoint is that Republicans are good for business, which is good for the economy. Republican policies – and the more Adam Smith, invisible hand, limited regulation, lassaiz faire the better – are expected to create a robust, healthy, growing economy. Meanwhile, the common view of Democrat policies is that they too heavily favor regulation and higher taxes which are economy killers.
Well, for those who feel this way it may be time to review the last 80 years of economic history, Bob Deitrick and Lew Godlfarb have done it in a great, easy to read book; “Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box” (available at Amazon.com) Their heavily researched, and footnoted, text brings forth some serious inconsistency between the common viewpoint of America’s dominant parties, and the reality of how America has performed since the start of the Great Depression.
This book’s authors are to be commended for spending several years, and many thousands of student research assistant man-days, sorting out economic performance from the common viewpoint – and the broad theories upon which much policy has been based. Their compendium of economic facts is the most illuminating document on economic performance during different administrations, and policies, than anything previously published.
The authors looked at a range of economic metrics including inflation, unemployment, corporate profit growth, stock market performance, household income growth, economy (GDP) growth, months in recession and others. To their surprise (I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Goldfarb) they discovered that laissez faire policies had far less benefits than expected, and in fact produced almost universal negative economic outcomes for the nation!
From this book loaded with statistical fact tidbits and comparative charts, here are just a few that caused me to realize that my long-term love affair with Milton Friedman‘s writing and recommended policies in “Free to Choose” were grounded in a theory I long admired, but that simply have proven to be myths when applied!
- Personal disposable income has grown nearly 6 times more under Democratic presidents
- Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown 7 times more under Democratic presidents
- Corporate profits have grown over 16% more per year under Democratic presidents (they actually declined under Republicans by an average of 4.53%/year)
- Average annual compound return on the stock market has been 18 times greater under Democratic presidents (If you invested $100k for 40 years of Republican administrations you had $126k at the end, if you invested $100k for 40 years of Democrat administrations you had $3.9M at the end)
- Republican presidents added 2.5 times more to the national debt than Democratic presidents
- The two times the economy steered into the ditch (Great Depression and Great Recession) were during Republican, laissez faire administrations
The book is great at looking past today’s economic myths by using long forgotten facts to set the record straight. For example, in explaining President Reagan‘s great economic recovery of the 1980s it is often attributed to the stimulative impact of major tax cuts (ERTA.) But in reality the 1981 tax cuts backfired, leading to massive deficits and a weaker economy with a double dip recession as unemployment soared. So in 1982 Reagan signed (TEFRA) the largest peacetime tax increase in our nation’s history. In his tenure Reagan signed 9 tax bills – 7 of which raised taxes!
The authors do not come down on the side of any specific economic policies. Rather, they make a strong case that a prosperous economy occurs when a president is adaptable to the needs of the country at that time. Adjusting to the results, rather than staunchly sticking to economic theory. And that economic policy does not stand alone, but must be integrated into the needs of society.
In other words the Republican's almost religious adherence to the "no tax" agenda preached by corrupt financial evangelist Grover Nordquist is guaranteed to cause incredible economic distress in this country, and ONLY an intelligent approach to raising revenue while trimming government waste will ensure the continued recovery of our troubled financial system.
You know, the exact same approach embraced by our current President.
But then why am I telling you, if you are a regular here you undoubtedly already figured that out for yourself. Didn't you?
So perhaps you can use this article, or perhaps even purchase the book yourself, to help teach that smug GOP loving, trickle down dipshit in the family, what it takes to ensure increased financial stability in this country.