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Economic Statistics for Partisan Fun and Games!
Posted by: Jon Henke on Saturday, March 11, 2006

Interesting observation on comparative Unemployment Rates from Jayson at Polipundit:
February 1998
3.9 - Whites
9.7 - Blacks
6.8 - Latinos

On the other hand:

February 2006
4.1 - Whites
9.3 - Blacks
5.5 - Latinos
George Bush doesn't care about white people.

Add to that this recent TCSDaily article by David Mastio on the Federal Reserve's survey of family income, and we find...
Change in average family income in inflation adjusted 2004 dollars by income

Bottom Quintile = + $100
2nd Quintile = + $400
3rd Quintile = + $500
4th Quintile = - $300
Next 10% = + $2,100
Top 10% = - $20,300
As fun as it is to make statistical comparisons, though, I don't really buy the notion that the President is "responsible" for economic performance, good or bad. Sure, since he gets to sign off on various spending bills, regulatory and trade policy. And markets are often susceptible to political rhetoric.

So, sure, a President has got an oar in the economic water. But he's rowing a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Point out the statistics in response to economic Chicken Littles, but let's not get carried away confusing correlation for causation.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

That’s a point that needs to be rerpeated three times a day. People have this tendency to fix upon the President to praise or blame for whatever state the economy happens to be in, but ultimately he has very, very little influence over the economy as a whole. And most of what potential influence he has is in a negative direction.
Written By: Matt McIntosh
Claiming that the president lacks influence is only half correct. He can hurt the economy via stupid decisions such as Nixon’s wage and price controls, or Keynesian "stimulate the economy" nonsense, or erection of trade barriers. But that’s not much he can do to help the economy except to keep taxes and spending under control, and to keep them from varying all over the place. (And remove existing trade barriers, of course.)

This principle that government can do harm, but can’t do much good has only recently become generally accepted. It comes out of the "public choice" school of economics that came of age in the 1980s and displaced Keynesianism as the generally accepted theory of how government relates to the economy. It’s the reason you no longer hear any officials except deluded leftists talking about the government "creating jobs".

Even Bill Clinton understood this principle. Except for HillaryCare, he did not try any major governmental actions that would damage the economy. In fact, he signed NAFTA, which helped by lowering trade barriers. That’s a big part of why government hummed along during his term. (The peace dividend and gridlock from a GOP-controlled Congress also helped, of course.)

Certainly, ignorant journalists give the impression that the economy is like a video game that sits in the White House, and they talked about Clinton as if he were particularly good at playing it by pressing the right buttons and turning the right knobs. That image lingers on, but it’s completely false-to-fact.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
In my Far East Asian History class, my professor once made the case that in America, the Economy for our president is the like the Chinese Mandate of Heaven for their emperor.
Written By: Adam
Take a brief time span, throw in a recession or the after-effects of one (unemployment typically peaks after the official end of a recession), and you can "prove" almost anything. The egalitarians ought to be rejoicing that the top 10% took such a big hit. Of course, the top 10% is where a lot of the money comes from for growth- and job-creating capital investments, so perhaps the egalitarians ought to think twice before they indulge their schadenfreude.
Written By: Tom Anger
The income change stats are extremely interesting. I wonder how much of the increase can be accounted for by the tax cut (or tax postponement as some would have it)?
Written By: Dave Schuler
Let me point out also, Billy. That a lot of people forget that under Clinton, and the republican congress, the biggest "tax cut for the rich" was enacted when the capital gains tax rate was cut, and the economy took off. I don’t think Clinton realy cared much beyond the politics of any decision he made. However, Robert Rubin his treasury secretary was smart enough to dump all the keynsian baggage that previous Democrat administrations had.
Written By: kyle N

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