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Best president for the economy

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Posted: 6 pm ET

The economy was front and center in the Republican presidential campaign and, now that Democratic President Barack Obama has been re-elected, how does he rank with other recent presidents on economic improvement?

Since World War II, Democrats have done better than Republicans when measured on 17 indicators of economic success, according to Richard J. Carroll, author of "The President as Economist: Scoring Economic Performance From Harry Truman to Barack Obama."

Presidential economic performance

Harry Truman 176.0
John Kennedy 100.0
Lyndon Johnson 51.5
Dwight Eisenhower 40.7
Gerald Ford 39.5
Bill Clinton 14.5
Richard Nixon 2.8
Ronald Reagan -23.2
Barack Obama -68.9
George H. Bush -73.1
Jimmy Carter -111.4
George W. Bush -148.4
Source: Bloomberg.

But after his first administration, Obama can't claim to be among the successful: He scores fourth from the bottom of Carroll's list. The only Democrat with a worse score is Jimmy Carter. Father-and-son Republicans George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush also fall further down on the list.

The presidents with the three highest scores are all Democrats: Harry Truman is No. 1, followed by John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. The first Republican to show up on the list is Dwight Eisenhower, at No. 4.
In an article in Bloomberg, Carroll explains that he scored the 12 post-war presidents based on indicators including GDP growth, unemployment rate, the number of people living below the poverty line, increase in the Dow Jones industrial average, savings and investment rates, exports and trade balances, federal budget growth, and debt and federal taxes as a share of GDP.

He penalized them if the federal budget grew faster than the economy during their terms. He also counted higher tax revenue as a share of GDP against them. The analysis doesn't take into account the first year in office because the president is likely dealing with policies from the previous administration, Carroll notes.

The chart provides the scores of all 12 presidents since World War II. How does your favorite rank?

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51 Comments
Rico Sharpp
November 10, 2012 at 9:10 am

This idea that one is a racist because you're not in favor of Obama's goals of getting as many people on the government payroll as possible, or dependent on governemnt handouts is just plain silly, and immoral. Face it, he had virtually no experience coming into the White House, and this has manifested itself with his inability to get a budget passed, his Solindra debacle, and his Benghazi catastrophe to name a few
You're comments leave the uninformed American with this idea that if you're not with/for Obama, then you must be a racist. How pathetic is that? Intelligent people see right through this and understand that those who make this accusation of racism are not helping unify the country, but creating more division. Learn the meaning of racism. By defining it the way you do, you skew its meaning so badly. Metaphorically, it's like equating it to two people bargaining, then accusing one of those people of stealing (only worse than that).

Racism does not mean you are simply against someone's actions. It's much deeper rooted than that. Don't forget, Obama was the one who stated the Cambride, MA police department acted stupidly for arresting black scholar Henry Gates without even knowing the facts of the case...or when he said Trayvonne Martin could be "my son". If you want to suggest racism, it's right here in front of you, but you choose not to acknowledge it. I guess the facts may get in the way of your propoganda.