GOP Administration == Recession?

Gregory Alan Bolcer gbolcer at
Thu Sep 25 08:40:46 PDT 2003

There's three other statistical confounds you need to take
into your account in your math.   First, there's
been more republican presidential terms.  Second,
the severity of depression/recession isn't measured.
Third, many economic indicators are trailing which
also leads to the political truism that "It's the
economy, stupid". 


"I wish it were that simple." -- Jeff Bonehead.

"jbone at" wrote:
> An interesting bit of back-of-the-envelope analysis, putting the lie
> yet again to the "Republicans == Good For The Economy" myth / lie.
> This, James, is supportive of the water-cooler argument I made a while
> back which you simply rejected as subjective distortion.  Or, putting
> the lie to another old saw (recently mentioned by Gojo):  " If you're
> not a Republican by the time you're 30, you have no brain."  I submit
> that if regardless of age you're still a Republican in 2004, you've got
> no math, no historical perspective, and no common sense.
> With a single exception, every recession since 1970 has happened on a
> GOP President's watch.  The timeline looks approximately like this:
>         4th Q 1969 - 4th Q 1970:  Recession  (4Q)
>         4th Q 1973 - 1st Q 1975:  Recession (5Q)
>         1st Q 1980 - 3rd Q 1980:  Recession (2Q)
>         3rd Q 1981 - 4th Q 1982: Recession (5Q)
>         3rd Q 1990 - 1st Q 1991: Recession (2Q)
>         1st Q 2001 - 3rd Q 2002?: Recession (6Q)
> Looked at another way, in the 132 quarters since 4Q69, we have had 24
> quarters (18% of all quarters) in which the economy was officially
> considered recessionary for most or all of the quarter.  Of those, 2
> quarters (8.3% of all recessionary quarters, 1.5% of all quarters) were
> on a Democratic President's watch.  Consider that (48 / 132 = .3636)
> 36%of all quarters over that period (since 4Q69) were spent on a Dem's
> watch, while 64% were on GOP watch.  So, naively:  given the last 1/3
> century of data as exemplary, you're about ((91.7 / 64) / (8.3 / 36) =
> 6.2) six times as likely to be be in a recession on any given day under
> a Republican as on any given day under a Democrat.
> Let's pick that apart a little more.  We're saying that around 92% of
> all recessionary days occurred during the 64% of all days in which a
> Republican was in office.  8% or so of all recessionary days occurred
> during the 36% or so of all days in which a Democrat was in office.
> Thus, factoring out the relative amount of time that Republicans have
> held the White House over the last 33 years vs. the Democrats, any
> randomly-chosen day under the GOP is 6x likelier to be during a
> recession than any randomly-chosen day under a Democrat.
> Conclusion:  if you love recessions, vote GOP --- you're far more
> likely to get one.  If instead you want economic growth, vote Democrat.
>   Grrr.  Hey, the numbers are what they are.
> Conclusion, more "fair and balanced" than is probably deserved:  a
> Republican in the White House is much more highly correlated to and
> predictive of economic recession than a Democratic administration.
> Exercise for the reader:  squint just a little at the timeline above to
> see that recovery is also prolonged / delayed under Republican
> administration and policies.
> Granted, this is all correlative rather than causative and is a gross
> simplification.  The above ignores the partisan makeup and ideological
> bias of the Congress during any particular President's tenure and about
> a bazillion other factors.  However it is important not to
> underestimate the impact of the President as a figurehead, the impact
> on consumer confidence and business climate, or the power of the
> presidential "bully pulpit."  Ultimately, the President proposes
> budgets, signs bills, and has a high degree of control over the size,
> makeup and actions of the federal bureaucracy --- he and his team have
> more power over these things than any other single person, and
> ultimately he (they) must take more credit (or blame) for the impact of
> those things on American society.
> A.B.B. in '04!
> $0.02,
> jb
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