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Grasping for something good to say about George Bush, George Will is the latest to trot out the truism that Republican policies are good for the economy. Trouble is, history shows the truism ain't true. In fact, Democratic administrations bring more - and healthier - prosperity.

As Kevin Drum wrote in the Washington Monthly of May 9, 2005:

"Democratic presidents have consistently higher economic growth and consistently lower unemployment than Republican presidents. If you add in a time lag, you get the same result. If you eliminate the best and worst presidents, you get the same result. If you take a look at other economic indicators, you get the same result. There's just no way around it: Democratic administrations are better for the economy than Republican administrations." (Read the story at

It's not just Drum who finds this: so do multiple studies by journalists and academics. Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels found that unemployment was "30 percent lower under Democratic presidents, on average and GDP growth [was] 30 percent higher under Democratic presidents, on average." (Download the study from

Princeton's Bartels did find that Republican administrations do a better job making the rich richer: "Republican presidents have produced a great deal more income growth for rich families than for poor families."

One of the marketing accomplishments of the modern Republican Party has been to convince some ordinary Americans that this situation is somehow good for them. The Bush administration has pushed the campaign to an extreme, apparently trying to convince us that the point of capitalism is to loot and squander the public treasury, no matter the cost to America and the health of our democracy.

Originally posted to Spencer Critchley on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 04:06 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaye, jayden, Judge Moonbox

    Reco'd. Democrats really need to publicize these stats and hammer them home to correct the false characterization of Democrats being bad for the economy.

  •  FYI (0+ / 0-)

    when creating diaries, you don't need to use the tinyurls. You can use the diary editor for a link with short anchor text.

  •  Larry Bartels is (0+ / 0-)

    . . .a brilliant scholar.  He's done some phenomenal work on a variety of topics over the years.  But I hadn't seen that one.

    It's a fairly old manuscript.  Do you know if it's been published anywhere yet?

    My candidate walks on water and can beat up Chuck Norris. Yours sucks ****.

    by cardinal on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 04:39:25 PM PDT

  •  The Economy is the Nobility (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And Republicans are vastly better for it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 04:44:31 PM PDT

  •  Ozymandias (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judge Moonbox

    George Will is in the well-deserved position of trying to defend the indefensible, putting lipstick on pig after pig, and generally trying to suck it up while watching BushCo put the lie to everything he's ever professed about the virtues of conservatism. Watching  him on TV, you can see him rotting from the inside out while he tries to smile and pretend everything is fine - or that things would still be worse if Democrats were in charge.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 05:09:21 PM PDT

  •  good to see this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've been pounding this for years. Not only are Democrats better for business, but there are good sound economic reasons that they are better for business, and for the nation as a whole. The right wing subsidizes a whole lot of economics professors and consultants who do nothing but crank out feeble garbage trying to justify things which cannot be justified on grounds economic, moral, factual, or for that matter, biblical. It's time there was a Democratic, progressive version of the Heritage Foundation.

    I'm glad to see a few people paying attention.

  •  George Will is a political hack (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaye, jayden, Judge Moonbox

    He conveniently leaves out in his article that Bill Clinton and the Democrats passed one of the largest tax hikes in U.S. history in 1993 (without one single Republican vote).

    The result was the largest economic boom in world history (21 million jobs created) and surpluses not deficits.

    Also did an analysis revealing that since WW II, Democratic presidents have had better economic performance than Republicans.

    Bill Clinton is the winner. There is no Republican in the top three. Five of the top seven presidents are Democrats!

    Any resemblance between George Will's writings and journalism is purely coincidental.

    "The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war...we shall also do our part to build a world of peace..." -John. F. Kennedy

    by bluestatedude on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 05:18:16 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for that Forbes link! (0+ / 0-)

      Will refer to it next time I make this case!

      I think George Lakoff is right on how we have let Republicans frame taxes as inherently bad - as an affliction from which we need "tax relief". Of course it's possible to have bad taxes, like you can have bad anything, but there are also good taxes: investments that more than pay for themselves either in financial or social rewards, or both.

      Spencer Critchley

      by Spencer Critchley on Wed Jun 20, 2007 at 06:25:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's strange that to be... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judge Moonbox

    a salt-of-the earth conservative, you need to pledge your unending support for supply-side economics, which is not demonstrated to be good(or bad) for our economy. Privatize everything, deregulate everything, and mention Milton Friedman whenever possible. This is how

  •  true (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaye, Judge Moonbox

    Anyone on DKos needs to read some of bondad's diaries about this topic too.  Reaganomics is a joke.  One of the architects of Reaganomics was Laugher.  He spoke at my University a few months ago and boy was it rediculous!!  In fact one of his qoutes I have made my official DKos comment qoute because of its sheer stupidity.  He also claimed that Clinton caused the economic boom of the late 90s by accepting the "truth" of Reaganomics.  


    "It's not DEBT! It's a SURPLUS!!!"- what's his face Laugher, author of the Laugher Curve, advisor for reaganomics

    by siamesewonka on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 06:30:18 PM PDT

  •  As I read Will's column... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I had to wonder, why does he still make a living with these glorified Letters to the Editor? Most of the bloggers I've seen do a better job of avoiding the Post Hoc ergo Propter Hoc fallacy. Will wants us to think that all the economic growth of the past 25 years was because of Reagan's tax cuts. He doesn't acknowledge that George Aitch Bush and Bill Clinton raised taxes, probably so he won't have to explain why 40 of his vaunted 96 quarters of growth came at a time when taxes were up; and in the end, Clinton ran a surplus.

    When Reagan was first elected, Supply Side theory held that there was a point beyond which further tax increases would strangle the economy so much that government revenues would actually shrink. Leaving aside the possibility that taxes may have crossed that line during the 1970s, the experience of the 90s shows that Clinton was on the near side of the Laffer Curve; his tax increase didn't ruin the economy the way so many Republicans predicted it would.

    Another thing he doesn't deal with is that the Dubyanomic deficit is a staggeringly inefficient Keynesian stimulus. For much of the past 6 years, Bush could have run half the deficit he had if he'd just hire the unemployed--and that's before you take the multiplier effect into account. I dont have the figures now, but I suspect that Reagan was also cutting taxes beyond what would best stimulate the economy.

    I'm sure that if a Liberal columnist Will's age had written an article this faulty, their editor would talk resignation.

    To Gore: If you want to find the cure for cancer, go ahead! But don't ever think that this would change the things that get said about you. -Bob Somersby

    by Judge Moonbox on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 07:47:34 PM PDT

    •  Re: As I read Will's column... (0+ / 0-)

      Again and again it seems people get led into binary thinking: If taxes got too high in the 70's, then now we must conclude that all taxes are bad - because things can only be good or bad, any other possibilities are too confusing. But as you suggest, quite probably there is a range within which the right taxes are not just necessary but beneficial.

      Spencer Critchley

      by Spencer Critchley on Wed Jun 20, 2007 at 06:41:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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