Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Democratic Presidents vs. Republican Presidents: Income and Jobs

We know, deep down in our souls, that Republicans support policies that favor the rich and Democrats support policies that include support for the poor. But how often are we presented with graphic data that support our most basic—and fondest— political beliefs. Timothy Noah provides the favor in his book The Great Divergence

Noah evaluates the potential causes for the dramatic increase in income inequality over the past several decades (The Great Divergence). One of his postulates is that changes in governance could be responsible. In his study of the issue he came upon the work that Larry Bartels published in 2008 in his book Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age.

Noah provides this blunt summary of Bartels’ findings.

"You don’t like income inequality? Then don’t vote Republican."

Between 1948 and 2005 there were five Democratic presidents and six Republican presidents. By looking at average annual pretax income growth, Bartels assembled the following data.

I can't ever recall experiencing such delight at the appearance of a single chart. It clearly demonstrates that under Republican administrations the wealthy are favored over all others. It also demonstrates that Democratic administrations tend to take care of everyone about equally. And it shows that even the wealthy do better under Democrats than under Republican leadership. Everyone does better when there is a Democrat in the White House!

But we are not finished yet. Today we are doubly blessed with data that warms our political hearts. Today, Bloomberg came out with an article by Bob Drummond with the lede: Private Jobs Increase More With Democrats in White House. This information is provided.

"The BGOV Barometer shows that since Democrat John F. Kennedy took office in January 1961, non-government payrolls in the U.S. swelled by almost 42 million jobs under Democrats, compared with 24 million for Republican presidents, according to Labor Department figures."

"Democrats hold the edge though they occupied the Oval Office for 23 years since Kennedy’s inauguration, compared with 28 for the Republicans. Through April, Democratic presidents accounted for an average of 150,000 additional private-sector paychecks per month over that period, more than double the 71,000 average for Republicans."

This graphic is provided.


The chart conveniently points out that in the eight years of George W. Bush not a single net job was created. Eight years!

Interestingly, while the small-government, small-economy Republicans had trouble creating private sector jobs, they were rather proficient in proliferating public-sector jobs.

"Republicans, campaigning on pledges to cut government spending and programs, had a relatively better record at creating public-sector jobs. Since January 1961, federal, state and local government employment grew by 7.1 million under Republican presidents and 6.3 million when Democrats were in the White House. Government agencies added an average of 21,000 jobs per month under Republicans, compared with 22,000 for Democrats."

If there is anyone out there actually contemplating voting Republican for president in anticipation of a return to the good old days, watch what you wish for.


  1. Also note that the stock market tends to do better with Democrats in office. Starting with Kennedy and ending with Bush Jr, the average annual gain in the S&P 500 was 11% for the Democrats and 2.7% for the Republicans.

    Planning to vote Republican? You must be looking forward. Looking backward is a bummer.

  2. I think www.formvote.com is the network to check out right now.


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