Comparing Democrats and Republicans On The Economy

Numerous comparisons between the economic outcomes of Democratic and Republican controlled governments have clearly showed that the economy tends to thrive under Democrats and stagnate under Republicans. This makes this analysis by Chuck Spinney partially redundant, but still worth pointing out considering the number of people in this country who regularly vote against their economic self-interest.

Spinney does add one important contribution to the numerous studies which compare the outcomes of Democratic and Republican governments. Many look at just who occupied the White House while this study also takes into account the percent as to which the party controlled entire government. The results are in this table (with the two paragraphs below the graph also from Spinney’s comments). Click on the graph if you need to enlarge it.

As Spinney pointed out, the Democrats easily win this comparison. Other than for Carter, Democrats provided stronger economies when they controlled the White House. The next best situation was generally to have Democrats controlling the Congress when there was a Republican president. It is too early to rank Obama, but regardless of where he winds up ranking he deserves praise for the manner in which he kept the country out of a depression after inheriting a disaster from George Bush.

This comes as no surprise, based upon both multiple similar comparisons in the past as well as the philosophical differences between the two parties. This is a simply a sign of victory for the party which supports capitalism. Despite all their rhetoric, the Republicans actually support oligarchy and their policies have been hostile to rational market policies. Policies based upon transfer of wealth to the wealthy and opposing regulations necessary for the market to operate properly ultimately are not the policies which are good for growing the economy.


  1. 1
    The Heathen Republican says:

    I have a few objections, none of which are entirely convincing.

    I think the fact that GNP has to be converted to GDP prior to 1991 should automatically disqualify this as a measure.
    The results are still presented by presidential term, even though the congress is weighted in each measure. Why not present the results in 2-year increments to coincide with congressional terms, which would still incorporate % of control from the white house?
    The 50% weight given to the presidency is arguable. Particularly in economic issues, where congress has the power of the purse, the most the presidency should be weighted is 33%.

    I’ll try to re-run the numbers myself at the 33/33/33 weighting, but I don’t think Newk provided his original source data for anyone to verify independently.

  2. 2
    The Heathen Republican says:

    As I suggested yesterday, Newk steered his analysis to a biased result using a 50% weight for the presidency. I repeated his analysis using 33% for the Senate, 33% for the House, and 34% for the president, and my results yield the opposite conclusion.
    I also demonstrate that, even though he included the weighting for congress in his analysis, by presenting his results as a ranking of presidential administrations, his conclusions are deeply flawed. If Newk really is a “senior analyst” at the Pentagon, he’s fully aware of his own biased presentation.
    Unlike Newk, I’ll make my data and spreadsheets available to anyone who’d like to check my math. You can read my competing analysis at The Heathen Republican:

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