I am sure that Mad Dog Murf is an upstanding citizen and a great credit to his home planet. But, by the standards of 21st-century America, where well over a quarter of the adult population has at least a bachelor’s degree, it is all too obvious that Mad Dog’s editorial column falls short when it comes to sticking to the facts.
In response to some of Mad Dog’s recent inventions, I thought I would offer a dose of truth about the economy. Simultaneously, I urge Mad Dog to stick to the factsif he decides to respond to this op-ed.
Here we go:
Weheard a lot of contradictory political noise last year about which party is better at running our economy. All of us know that the U.S. economy is the envy of the world and we deserve to be proud of it. After all, Americans are less than 5% of the planet’s human population, yet we own, control or produce around 20% of the world’s goods and services!But—all noise aside—we need to know which partyhas the best track record for running our enormous economy. After all, the decisions that come out of Washington, D.C., affect all of us, liberal and conservative alike. I did some research, which I will show below, and the scoreis one-sided, to say the least. Custer fared better against the Lakota than the GOP does against the DEM at running the economy.
I could have started with the Great Depression, but Mad Dog might cry foul. The Depression began under a GOP White House and Congress and it was fixed by a DEM White House and Congress. And it was a long time ago, before any of the federal watchdog agencies had been created to help prevent economic crashes. We would all agree that the World War II years and the immediate post-war period were an anomaly, so I decided to skip that, too. I started my research with the inauguration of President Eisenhower, which gives us a huge64-year cross-section of modern American economic history.
In order to set Mad Dog on the right track, here is a complete list of all US economic recessions over the past 64 years, their durations in months, and the president & party who occupied the White House at those times. In most cases, Congress was run by the same party as the White House. I have also included our three longestbooms (periods of economic growth) for your viewing pleasure. By the way, you can check the facts yourself on Wikipedia or other sources. There are lots of sources.
REMEMBER: Economists define a recession as three or more continuous months of negative economic growth. A boom is a period of continuous growth with fewer than three negative months in a row.
Take notes, Mad Dog:
1953 Recession (10 months): Eisenhower, GOP
1958 Recession (8 months): Eisenhower, GOP
1960-1961 Recession (10 months): Eisenhower, GOP Turned around by Kennedy, DEM
- 1961-1969 Boom (nearly 8 years, 2nd-longest):Kennedy/Johnson, DEM
1969-1970 Recession (11 months): Nixon, GOP
1973-1975 Recession (16 months):Nixon/Ford, GOP
1980 Recession (6 months, shortest post-war recession): Carter, DEM
1981-1982 Recession (16 months): Reagan GOP (Remember the miserable failure of “Reaganomics” and the “trickle-down” economy? The rich put their money offshore.)
1990-1991 Recession (8 months):G.H.W. Bush, GOP(He tried to continue “Reaganomics”)
- 1991-2001 Boom (10 years, the longest):Less than 2 years under G.H.W. Bush, GOP / 8 years under Clinton, DEM (Remember “It’s the economy, stupid” and Clinton’s budget surplus?)
2001 Recession (8 months): G.W. Bush, GOP(The Dubya administration inherited Clinton’s boom and thebudget surplus, and squandered all of it.)
2007-2009 Great Recession (18 months. Longest post-war recession): G.W. Bush GOPTurned around by Obama, DEM
- May 2009 – Present Boom(7.5 years& continuing, 3rd-longest):Obama, DEM
SOME POINTS TO CONSIDER IN ALL THIS:
(A) Beginning with Eisenhower in January 1953, every GOP/Conservative president has had at least one recession. The average is 1.8 recessions apiece (5 GOP administrations, 9 recessions).Only one DEM/Liberal president has had a recession in the past 64 years and that was the shortest on record, at 6 months. The 5 DEM presidents average 0.2 recessions apiece (5 DEM administrations, 1 recession). (NOTE: I count Nixon/Ford as a single administration because Ford only served out the remainder of Nixon’s 2nd term and economic policies remained unchanged.)
(B) Using this history, a GOP administration was NINE TIMES as likely to have a recession as a DEM. And the GOP recessions were all much longer. Carter attacked his recession and fixed it rapidly. Do you remember when the Dubya administration, Republicans in general and FOX News not only denied that we had entered a recession in OCT 2007, they actually ridiculed the idea for months? The Bush White House and Congress abolished scores of regulations that would have prevented Wall Street from driving off a cliff. Meanwhile, the GOP Congress set the all-time record for pork spending and Dubya never vetoed anyof it.The GOP denial of obvious facts, the pork fiesta,and the elimination of safety regulations for Wall Street continued almost until the 2008 election, when John McCain (another denier) finally claimed that he was “the only one who could fix the economy”. Oops. (You may also recall that one of Obama’s top priorities 8 years ago was to restore the power of those Wall Street oversight agencies, like the SEC—the same ones that Trump now wants to weaken yet again. Here we go…)
(C) The previous 5 GOP/Conservative presidents have a whopping total of 105 months of recession on their official records, which amounts to a dismal average of 21 months of recession per administration. The five DEM/Liberal presidents had a total of 6 months of recession, or an average of only 1.2 months each.
(D) No GOP president inherited a DEM recession. Two DEM presidents (Kennedy&Obama) inherited GOP recessions and quickly turned them into long-running booms. Obama’s is still going strong.
(E) All 5 DEM administrations (Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama) wereessentially continuous economic booms, except for Carter’s 6-month recession.
(F) THIS REALLY TELLS THE STORY:GOP/Conservative presidents occupied the White House for a total of 32 years (384 months), out of which 105 months were officially spent in recessions. That is more than 27% of their time in office—a miserable record. DEM/Liberal presidents occupied the White House for nearly as long, 28 years (336 months), but only 6 of those months were spent in a recession. (This is a microscopic 0.018% of their total time in office. An outstanding record.) If this were major-league baseball, the DEMs would be in the Hall of Fame and the GOP would have been traded back down to the minor leagues.
(G) If the current Obama economic boomcontinuesfor a few more months into 2017, it willmove up from the 3rd-longest to 2nd-longest post-war boom. Unemployment is currently 4.7%, which is nearly as low as it can go. Have we forgotten that unemployment was 10% when Obama replaced Dubya?
(H) If the Carter administration hadn’t had a 6-month recession, the GOP would have a solid monopoly on ALL recessions, dating back to the mid-20th century. You know, Mad Dog, I just have to wonder sometimes, with all the vast material and human resources in this country, how 5 successive GOP administrations could mismanage the economy so badly that it spent 27% of its time in recessions. The DEMs understand it; they have a near-perfect track record.
(I) If Mad Dog Murf had not repeatedly used alternate facts, spin, sarcasm, cynicism and unfoundedstatements in his previous columns and if he had not repeatedlytold his readers that President Obama had done little or nothing to help the U.S. economy, I would not need to sit here, writing this. Teller County deserves to know the truth, Mad Dog. We aren’t all from Planet Murfia.
(J) The inconvenient truth in this case is that not a single GOP administration comes close to the Democrats’ impressive record on the economy, dating all the way back to the Great Depression, more than 80 years ago. As several famous personalities, including Albert Einstein, have said in the past: It does not matter whether you believe a fact or not. Facts are still facts and your decision to believe or not to believe can never change the facts. It is up to you to accept them as facts or to continue to delude yourself. (That was a line of reasoning I often used in my Intelligence career. It didn’t always work, unfortunately. Some people prefer to believe what suits them, not what confronts them.)
(H) The few GOP/conservative experts who discuss the differences in GOP and DEM economic policies usually blametheir party’s failures on vague, unexplained “economic cycles”. Bad timing. This is precisely why I chose to use an enormous 64-year chunk of U.S. history. If there are cycles, they will become obvious in a 64-year study. But the truth is that it doesn’t matter if a president serves for 4 years or eight—the results are the same: Democrat up, Republican down. If there is a cycle, it must be a political cycle, or a competence cycle, or a unicycle. It isn’t an economic cycle.
P.S. By the way, Mad Dog, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American adult had a 3rd grade education in 1900. People might have believed yourcolumns 117 years ago—if they could read at all. But, according to the 2010 U.S. census, COLORADO RANKS No. 2 NATIONWIDEin the percentage of College grads in its population (36.3%), exceeded by Massachusetts (38.7%). That’s extremely good, when you consider that Massachusetts had a 200+ year head start! Our education is an achievement we all deserve to be very proud of, but it also means that a high percentage of Coloradans can see through your misinformation and lack of research.I know that other readers have written to you publicly, including a very articulate retired Methodist minister, asking you to please stick to the facts. If you want to persist in using outright inventions and pretzel logic in your columns, I recommend that you consider moving to West Virginia, which stands at 50th place nationwide in college grads (17.6%).
Paul Combs, 11-year Woodland Park resident
Retired Army Intel Officer& combat veteran
Member, American Mensa
(And a helluva Frisbee player)