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View Diary: Refute This, Republicans! (145 comments)

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  •  I'm a Republican that will be voting (7+ / 0-)

    for Dems this fall and so take this comment in that light.  If you want to be prepared for the lines of argument you should be able to answer some of these comments about the graph.

    1.  It's highly misleading.  In the last 50 years we have had recessions in 1973, 1980, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2008.  The recessions in 1980, 1981 and 2001 were clearly not the fault of Reagan and Bush as they had just taken office and were dealt a crappy economy from Carter and Clinton.  To lump these recessions as "Republican" recessions shows the bankruptcy of this line of argument.

    2.  Correlation is not causation.  (You can fill in the rest of the argument)

    3. It's a political truism that President's get more credit/blame for the economy than they should.  Congress, since it actually passes the tax policies, are more responsible for the running of the economy, although, admittedly, the President kicks off budget and tax debates.

    It would be interesting to do a graph with the same premise and show what the numbers are 6 to 12 months after the President takes office.  The reason why I say that is because it takes awhile for a President to get his agenda through Congress and then there is some additional lag time where that change in policy starts affecting the economy.  It would certainly be a much more accurate portrayal of the effects of a President on the economy than merely choosing their inauguration day as the starting point where you credit/blame a President for the economy.

    Obviously, Republicans would benefit from this type of analysis in 1973, 1981 and 2001 but it would be significantly offset by the deep recession that Obama inherited in 2009.

    Anyway, just food for thought.  

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Thu May 17, 2012 at 01:25:33 PM PDT

    •  If anything a recession early in a president's (10+ / 0-)

      tenure should be an advantage- because it's easier to improve from the pits of a recession, than from the height of a growth cycle.

      Also- it is absolutely valid to cite the job growth numbers from the Reagan, Clinton and W Bush presidencies. They each have had 8 years to tend their fields. You could move the starting point or ending point this way or that way by 6 months- but you can't claim some predecessor is responsible for the numbers after an 8 year long presidency.

      As to presidents getting all the blame/credit for the economy: You can't have it both ways. You cannot simultaneously say that 'Obama will wreck the economy', and also say that 'presidents have little to do with the economic cycles'. These two assertions are mutually contradictory.

    •  I'm at work so I don't have the reference here (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1, 207wickedgood, Matt Z

      But I've got a reference at home, that does just that - shows economic growth on a 12-month lag from inauguration (i.e., GWB would be measured on Jan 2002 - Jan 2010 basis).

      It took a list that was completely segregated - Democrats in all the top spots, Republicans in all the bottom ones - and...well, it still stayed almost completely segregated.  One (R) administration switched places with one (D) administration in the middle of the list.

      You're still looking at a list that has maybe a 1 in 50 chance of ending up with that degree of separation by pure chance (i.e., it is far more likely that the political affiliation of the president is a useful predictor of economic growth).

      Maybe someone more enterprising than myself can track that data down on the net.

      You couldn't load a pistol with dormitive virtue and shoot it into a breakfast-roll - CS Pierce

      by Mr Raymond Luxury Yacht on Thu May 17, 2012 at 02:57:19 PM PDT

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      •  That would indeed be something that I would (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        find useful to see if you ever do get a chance to dig that up.  If it shows numbers that are similar to the numbers in this diary I think that would be an even better argument to make among people that understand politics and the economy a little better than average.

        If you then combined them in one place so that it would eliminate the expected lines of argument about timing and then, conversely, that one year into the presidency is an artificial point on which to base a president's responsibility for the economy.  It would put the Republican debater between a rock and a hard place and it would also seem to be fair.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Fri May 18, 2012 at 05:13:56 AM PDT

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      •  Angry Bear Blog (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        they wrote a book about it i think

        -You want to change the system, run for office.

        by Deep Texan on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:18:32 AM PDT

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    •  tipped for honest Republican making honest debate. (5+ / 0-)

      Re. your specific point about the timing of recessions and so on:  I'd be interested in any reasonable offset for "inherited problems" and "new administration's policies need X amount of time to kick in."

      So if we picked a time-lag on the basis of a reasonable estimate, what would happen to those results?

      For example let's say we use an offset of 2 years: each president's impact on the economy begins 2 years after taking office, and ends 2 years after leaving office.  What does that do to the numbers?  

      I'd say 2 years is a reasonable number on the basis that a) the first year is devoted to getting policies passed and implemented, and b) the second year is the year during which the policies begin to take effect.  Therefore start counting in the third year, which is the year the effect is actually felt throughout the economy.  

      Does this seem reasonable to you?  And in that case does anyone have the raw data to use for input to that analysis?

      (Yes I'm a methodology junkie:-)

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Thu May 17, 2012 at 03:02:20 PM PDT

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      •  In theory it seems reasonable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        but I think it is highly dependent on each President.  If I recall correctly Reagan was able to get much of his economic agenda passed very early in his first term and so his impact might be moved up a bit.  Same thing with W.  How this would impact Clinton I'm not really sure.  I was in my early 20's when Clinton was elected and to tell you the truth I don't think he changed economic policy that much from Reagan/Bush.  But I could be wrong on that front.

        What I clearly remember though is that Limbaugh (who I was a big fan of at the time) and other conservative commentaters said that the economy would crater if Clinton got his way.  "We" were wrong then much as "we" are wrong in "our" analysis of Obama as an economy killing socialist now.

        I guess that's a long winded way of saying that I largely agree with your premise that a rough lag time would be a better way to analyze the economic data vis a vis a President's tenure.  But I would also think that there is a difference of, perhaps, up to a year for any given President based on when they were able to get legislation passed and the nature of the legislation (ie. some legislation has a more immediate stimulative effect than other legislation).

        Be well.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Fri May 18, 2012 at 05:25:12 AM PDT

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    •  Well, point number 3 is true enough (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat, Matt Z

      Also rec'ced for a willingness to debate honestly.

    •  I use this data not to prove that Dems are better (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1, codairem, Matt Z

      at managing economic issues but rather to refute the notion that the GOP are better for the economy.

      The argument that Republicans are better at growing the economy comes up often enough that I never have to lead with this data.  I just say that "Your premise is not supported by the facts. If anything, the data suggests the opposite to be true."

    •  Incorrect about the early '80s recession (6+ / 0-)

      that was caused by Reagan policies.  As Mario Cuomo said at the Dem. convention in '84: "The Republicans cut inflation the old fashioned way -- with a recession."

      The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

      by Upper West on Thu May 17, 2012 at 06:48:19 PM PDT

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      •  I'm by no means an expert in economics (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Upper West, Matt Z

        but my reading of the history was that the economic maladies of the late 70's were something that most Keynesians thought could not happen.  High inflation coupled with high unemployment (so called stagflation) was a pretty unique event and was not forecast by most (if any) Keynesian models.  I have also read that the solution to that unique problem was pretty well implemented by Volker on one side and by Reagan's tax cuts on the other.

        I know how this probably sounds to Democrats (ie I'm a Reagan worshipper).  But I'll also argue the flip side a little.  Reagan really began the era of deficit spending.  Of course the economy is going to be better off when you are living high off of running up your "credit cards".    But the bills for that excess will eventually come due. In addition, the computer revolution of the 80's had a lot to do with the boom of that period and likely would have happened to nearly the same extent regardless of what the top marginal tax rate was.

        So while I think it reasonable that Volker's work coupled with the tax cuts was roughly the right economic call at the time, I also think that Reagan gets too much credit for the boom that happened in the 80's.  BTW, I also think that the boom that happened in the 90's was not really a function of Clinton's policies but the logical next step of the 80's computer revolution.

        Admittedly, this is arm chair economics and I could be persuaded by well reasoned counter-arguments.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:03:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "First do no harm" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z

          My view is that the Clinton budget in 1993 helped foster the growth that the tech boom also played a factor in.  Yet every Republican voted against it and predicted disaster.  Clinton also stood firm on Republican attempts at medicare cuts (leading to the government shutdown), and yet a surplus was created (only to be squandered by Bush).

          So while outside factors influence the economy, in general Dem policies have at the very least not hindered growth and probably fostered it.

          The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

          by Upper West on Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:01:33 AM PDT

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          •  As a Republican, that is a fair enough critique (0+ / 0-)

            It is clear that Republicans predicted economic meltdown if Clinton should enact his economic policies.  To be sure, not all of his economic policies were enacted but enough were to give lie to the Republican concerns of the time.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:09:38 PM PDT

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    •  Remember, the federal fiscal budget starts in Oct. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      When a President or Congress comes into office, the budget talks for the next fiscal year are already well under way. Since they are spending over a trillion dollars, pigs line up for the trough early.

      IMHO, year three is the payoff year for a President and year two is credited for a Congress.

      BTW, with the looming government shutdown in Congress over the debt ceiling, I have to wonder why the Republican congress is stalling on paying for deficits that the Republican congress has already approved. It is no surprise that their own budget would raise the debt ceiling. Why do they not want to pay their own credit card bill?


      i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

      by bobinson on Thu May 17, 2012 at 08:10:03 PM PDT

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    •  Go away (0+ / 0-)

      "I'm a Republican who ..."
      I stopped reading there.

    •  FDR inherited the Great Depression (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      New Rule

      from Republicans as well.

      The NY Times had a similar chart a few years back that dated all the way back to the 1920s and it showed similar results - better employment numbers, better income growth and a better stock market under Democratic presidents.

      "I'm not a member of an organized political party - I'm a Democrat." Will Rogers

      by newjeffct on Fri May 18, 2012 at 07:02:43 AM PDT

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    •  you can also make the argument (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      New Rule

      that Carter & Volker had to deal with the fallout of the Nixon years (price freezes anyone?), the Arab Oil Embargo, high inflation, etc.  (Ford's election slogan was WIN - Whip Inflation Now)  And, instead of deficit spending like Reagan and Bush, they took the hard road and tried to be fiscally responsible.  While it may have doomed his re-election chances, it set the economy on the path to recovery in the 80s.

      "I'm not a member of an organized political party - I'm a Democrat." Will Rogers

      by newjeffct on Fri May 18, 2012 at 07:14:39 AM PDT

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