What was the average US unemployment rate for Democrat and Republican presidents?

What was the average US unemployment rate for Democrat and Republican presidents?

Starting with the end of World War 1, what was the average unemployment rate for each United States President? Was the overall average different for Republican and Democratic presidents, and if so, by how much? The time frame can be fudged here because of available information.


IMHO this is pretty much a general reference question. Links for it abound. So I'll instead use the balance of my answer to warn you about the data. Basically, comparing unemployment numbers over that many years has lot of issues.

First off, official BLS data only goes back to 1948. Any data you get from before that will be a bit like comparing apples to oranges just due to the fact that will have been collected differently with different standards for who counts as "unemployed".

Secondly, even within that data, the definition of "unemployed" is periodically changed. The BLS now has six differenent measures of the unemployment rate (U1 - U6). Usually they report U3, but there is a lot of discussion about whether some of the higher measures are closer to how it used to be calculated.

Thirdly, this isn't really the same country it was in the '50's. Women (half the population) are now in the workforce. We are older (less non-working kids per adult, more retirees), we have many more people on things like disability, our prison population has ballooned, etc. This is why we have the 6 different measures now.

Finally, you can cherry-pick your data just by picking when you count. For instance, a lot of Democrats like to compare from WWII through the Bush Administration. That's because the presidencies immeditely before and after that period happen to have been Democrats presiding during unusually bad recessions. (They might argue both recessions started during Republician administrations, but that's beside my point). For the same reason, Republicans would like to pick a period that includes both the Great Depression and the current recession. However, they would probably not want you to go back as far as WWI, as there were no less than 2 recessions during Republican presidencies between the World Wars. Go back to 1900, and they have several more. (Of course they could likewise argue that the post-WWI recessions started under Democrat Woodrow Wilson's watch.)

Some folks will even try to snow you by quoting U3 for other presidents, then switching to the higher U6 (usually with words like "real unemployment") for a particular president they don't like. As they say, statistics don't lie, but liars use statistics.


Change in Unemployment Rate by Party of President- Since 1945

Discussion: Each party has held the presidency for the same number of years since 1945. During those years, the unemployment rate has risen 11.8% under Republican presidents and has fallen 7.2% under Democratic presidents. Unemployment has fallen during the overwhelming majority of Democratic years since 1949. Unemployment rose steadily under Republicans up until 1982, then fell during the remaining Reagan years, and then rose again under both Bush Presidents.

The stark gap between the performance of the parties on unemployment may be surprising to many people. But, it really should not. Unemployment has dropped dramatically under both Presidents Clinton and Obama and rose drastically under President Bush Jr.

The years at the start when unemployment rose under a Democrat was the years that we were coming out of WW2. A common response from the right to data regarding unemployment is that the Democrats are simply putting huge numbers of people on the government payroll, running up a lot of debt. That, however, is incorrect. In fact, private sector job creation numbers actually tend to look better for Democrat than the overall job creation numbers. And, in any event, the numbers of federal employees are too few to have an impact this major in either direction. Democratic presidents have also tended to do much better than Republican presidents in terms of the debt.

For more information on why this happens, you might want to read the blog post here on which party is better for the economy, or if you really want to dig deeply into the issue, you might be interested in Mike Kimel and Michael Kanell's book Presimetrics.


Democratic Presidents Outperform Republicans by Every Economic Measure

Description: Each bar graph compares the historical performance of our economy under Democratic presidents with the performance under Republican presidents. The blue bar represents the average performance under Democrats and the red bar represents the average performance under Republicans.

The GDP numbers represent the average annual GDP growth. The jobs graph shows the average monthly job creation. Median income indicates the average annual change in the average income of the middle 20% of Americans. Unemployment reflects the average annual change in the U3 unemployment rate (positive numbers are bad, negative numbers are good). The debt to GDP ratio shows the average annual percentage of change in the ratio of national debt to GDP (positive numbers are bad). Stocks reflects the average annual change in the value of the S&P index.

In each case, the data reflects presidents as far back as the data is available from that source. Most of the graphs show the average going back to either 1930 or 1950. The income data only goes back to 1968, and the debt data goes back to 1961. The exact years and figures are available from the "Excel" link below.

Last updated: September 14, 2016

Discussion: The economy has consistently performed dramatically better under Democratic presidents ever since we have been tracking economic performance.

Median income has essentially not increased at all under Republican presidents while increasing by an average of 1% per year, after adjusting for inflation, under Democratic presidents. A more detailed breakdown of how income levels have changed under the parties, including the change for other income brackets, is available here.

Jobs have been created far more rapidly under Democratic presidents as well, with Democrats averaging 2.5 times more jobs being created each month. This figure could be somewhat misleading, given that two of the three most recent presidents have been Democrats, and the population is larger today than in the past. However, as you can see from a comparison of the presidents' jobs records it is not that simple- a number of Democratic presidents farther back in history beat more recent Republican presidents. For example, both President Carter and President Johnson beat all Republican presidents. In fact, only 2 of the top 8 presidents are Republican while all 4 of the worst 4 are Republican. So, the pattern appears to be fairly consistent.

The gross domestic product has also grown approximately 2.5 times as fast under Democrats. 5 of the top 6 presidents for GDP growth are Democrats with the best Democratic president having 2.5 times as much GDP growth per year as the best Republican president.

The dramatic gulf between the performance of the parties is not limited to the presidency. Democrats also dramatically outperform both at the state level and in the legislature.

The reasons the economy performs so much better under Democrats are a subject of much debate. Common explanations include a greater emphasis on expanding access to the benefits of economic growth to a broader slice of society, higher investments in societal foundations like education and scientific research and smarter regulation. But, whatever the explanation is, or the explanations are, the record is unequivocal.


What was the average US unemployment rate for Democrat and Republican presidents? - History

Have the markets performed better when a Democratic or Republican president was in control of the White House?

Which party has presided over higher unemployment rates when they are in control of the White House?

Which party has been able to add the most jobs when they are in control of the White House?

Over the past few months, I've written a number of articles that have tried to answer some of these questions. The data comes from publicly available sources. As someone once said, "Men lie, women lie, numbers don't."

This article is going to serve as an overview for the six articles that I have written in the past that have looked at: GDP growth, unemployment numbers, stock market performance, average deficit size, average spending increases and number of jobs added by presidential party.

To everybody who is saying, well why don't you break this data down by controlling Senate or House party - I hear you, and I will be following up this article with two more that will break down the data by controlling Senate and House party. For today, we'll focus on breaking down the data by presidential party, and we'll also focus on the post WWII era.

Of the 26 years that the Democrats have occupied the White House since 1948, average GDP growth in the country has been 4.01%. This compares to a 2.75% figure when the Republicans are occupying the White House.

From January of 1948 until August of 2010 (I wrote the article in early October), Democratic presidents have presided over an average national unemployment rate of 5.4%, while Republican presidents have presided over an average national unemployment rate of 5.9%.

Obviously, given the fact that the national unemployment rate is currently close to 10%, the Democratic numbers will increase over the coming months and years.

We went back as far as 1960 for this data (except in the case of the NASDAQ, where we went back to 1971), and went all the way up to the end of 2009.

Here is the breakdown of the data by party:

Dow, 21 Years, +9.6% avg
NASDAQ, 13 Years, +23.64% avg
S&P 500, 21 Years, +11.66% avg

Dow, 29 Years, +4.97% avg
NASDAQ, 26 Years, +5.38% avg
S&P 500, 29 Years, +4.38% avg

As mentioned in the article, the numbers on the Democratic side were helped immensely by the fact that the markets went absolutely bananas during the Clinton era.

From 1960 to 2010 (51 years total), US government spending has grown by an average of 7.63% per year.

Here is the breakdown by party:

Republican President, 29 Years, Annual Spending Increase of 7.58%

Democratic President, 22 Years, Annual Spending Increase of 7.68%

Now, the inflation adjusted breakdown:

Republican President, 29 Years, Annual Spending Increase of 2.96%

Democratic President, 22 Years, Annual Spending Increase of 4.09%

From 1948 to September of 2010, 50,780,000 non-farm payroll jobs have been added when a Democrat is president, while 35,104,000 non-farm payroll jobs have been added when a Republican is president.

This works out to a monthly rate of:

Democrat - 157,701 jobs added per month
Republican - 81,259 jobs added per month

Advantage: Democrats (for now)

From 1946 to 2009, the United States has posted an average budget deficit of $160.99 billion (inflation adjusted).

During the 36 years that the Republicans have held the White House from 1946-2009, the United States has posted an average deficit of $202.28 billion (inflation adjusted).

During the 28 years that the Democrats have held the White House from 1946-2009, the United States has posted an average deficit of $107.9 billion.

Based on current deficit projections, by the end of 2012, the Democrats and Republicans should be in a dead heat in this category..

Next up - we'll break this data down by controlling House and Senate parties..


The Party That's Actually Best for the Economy

Many analyses look at which party is best for the economy. A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that Democratic presidents since World War II have performed much better than Republicans. On average, Democratic presidents grew the economy 4.4% each year versus 2.5% for Republicans.  

A study by Princeton University economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson found that the economy performs better when the president is a Democrat. They report that "by many measures, the performance gap is startlingly large." Between Truman and Obama, growth was 1.8% higher under Democrats than Republicans.  

A Hudson Institute study found that the six years with the best growth were evenly split between Republican and Democrat presidents.  

Most of these evaluations measure growth during the president's term in office. But no president has control over the growth added during his first year. The budget for that fiscal year was already set by the previous president, so you should compare the gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of the president's last budget to the end of his predecessor's last budget.

For Obama, that would be the fiscal year from October 1, 2009, to September 30, 2018. That's FY 2010 through FY 2017. During that time, GDP increased from $15.6 trillion to $17.7 trillion or by 14%.   That's 1.7% a year.

The chart below ranks the presidents since 1929 on the average annual increase in GDP.

The next table calculates the average annual growth for Democrats versus Republicans. Because of the Depression, Democrats grew the economy by 5.2% annually, while Republicans only grew it by 1.4%.

Annual Average

Since the Depression was an outlier to this dataset, it makes sense to remove both FDR's and Hoover's results. Not counting the Depression, Democrats gained 3.6% on average while Republicans gained 2.8%.

A president would have better growth if he had no recession.

Another way to look at this debate is to consider what the presidents had to deal with during their terms. That's one reason why the Democrats did slightly better. Presidents Johnson, Carter, and Clinton didn't have recessions. The only Republican president who can say that is Trump until 2020. Once the year is through, it's likely the 2020 recession will dramatically change the outcome. All other presidents had to contend with some of the worst recessions in U.S. history.

Wars and post-war periods also disrupt the economy. They can sometimes spur growth if they occur during an economic contraction, but they also distract a president from the economy and can sap needed resources. Presidents Carter and Clinton were Democrats that avoided war, and Republican Presidents Ford, Reagan, and Trump can make the same claim.

The table below indicates economic turmoil during the presidents' terms.


Here's how the deficit performed under Republican and Democratic presidents, from Reagan to Trump

This article was updated Aug. 2 to include a graph with the annual federal deficit in constant dollars.

A viral post portrays Democrats, not Republicans, as the party of fiscal responsibility, with numbers about the deficit under recent presidents to make the case.

Alex Cole, a political news editor at the website Newsitics, published the tweet July 23. Within a few hours, several Facebook users posted screenshots of the tweet, which claims that Republican presidents have been more responsible for contributing to the deficit over the past four decades.

Those posts racked up several hundred likes and shares. We also found a screenshot on Reddit, where it has been upvoted more than 53,000 times.

"Morons: ‘Democrats cause deficits,’" the original tweet reads.

Reagan took the deficit from 70 billion to 175 billion.
Bush 41 took it to 300 billion.
Clinton got it to zero.
Bush 43 took it from 0 to 1.2 trillion.
Obama halved it to 600 billion.
Trump’s got it back to a trillion.

Morons: “Democrats cause deficits.”

— Alex Cole (@acnewsitics) July 23, 2019

Screenshots of the tweet on Facebook were flagged as part of the company’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

At PolitiFact, we’ve reported extensively on how Republicans and Democrats often try to pin the federal deficit on each other — muddying the facts in the process. So we wanted to see if this Facebook post is true.

We reached out to Newsitics, the media outlet that Cole founded and works for, to see what evidence he used to compose the tweet and didn’t hear back. Our review shows the numbers basically check out, but they don’t tell the full story.

Some people confuse the federal deficit with the debt — but they’re two separate concepts.

The Department of the Treasury explains it like this: The deficit is the difference between the money that the government makes and the money it spends. If the government spends more than it collects in revenues, then it’s running a deficit.

The federal debt is the running total of the accumulated deficits.

Now let’s take a closer look at each president’s impact on the federal deficit.

To check the numbers in Cole’s tweet, we went to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which has an interactive database for these kinds of figures. Here’s what we found for each claim:

"(President Ronald) Reagan took the deficit from 70 billion to 175 billion." This is more or less accurate. The federal deficit went from about $78.9 billion at the beginning of Reagan’s presidency to $152.6 billion at the end of it. At points between 1983 and 1986, the deficit was actually more than $175 billion.


Comparing the Economic Record of the Last Two Democratic and Republican Presidents

As the country gets ready to pick a new President in 2016, we felt it would be interesting to look at the recent economic performance of the Democratic and Republican parties when they controlled the White House. While there were many ways to cut this data, we chose the last two Presidents of each party and looked at five categories: GDP growth, net job creation, unemployment rate, budget deficits and performance of the Dow Jones.

The contrast between the performance of the economy under recent Democratic and Republican Presidents is stark. Democratic Presidents dramatically outperformed their GOP counterpart in all five categories. Some examples:

Job Creation &ndash Both President Obama and Clinton witnessed an average rate of job growth over 1 million each year. Neither President Bush was able to come close to that number, coming in at 630,000 and 135,000 per year respectively. The two Democratic Presidents oversaw an annual job growth 2.1 million per year. The two Republicans had a combined annual rate of 300,000, or one seventh the total of the two Democrats. The latest data released shows that the economy created 2.9 million jobs in 2014, which is at a comparable job growth rate to an average year in 1990&rsquos.

Unemployment Rate &ndash The two Democratic Presidents saw on average more than a 3 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate during their Presidencies. The two Republicans saw on average more than a 2 percentage point increase. Each Republican President left office with the country in recession.

Deficits &ndash Both Presidents Obama and Clinton witnessed significant declines in the annual budget deficit on their watch. Both President H.W. and W. Bush saw increases of the annual budget deficit on their watch. The second President Bush came to office with a $100 billion annual surplus. He left office with a $1.4 trillion annual deficit, one of the most dramatic turnarounds of America&rsquos finances in any period in US history.

Stock Market - Under the two Democratic presidents, the stock market soared. The Dow Jones has more than doubled in the Obama era and now is at record highs. Under Bill Clinton it grew four fold. Under the first President Bush the market had a small increase. The Dow was lower when the second President Bush left office than when he arrived.

As we look to 2016 it is important to note that the last two Republican Presidents led the nation into recession and larger annual budget deficits. Both Democratic Presidents had to lead the nation out of recession and saw strong job growth, declining deficits and soaring stock markets on their watch. There is indeed a stark contrast between the performances of the two parties on the economy over the past generation. This contrast will be particularly significant in 2016 if the Presidential contest is between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

Update, April 8: With the 2016 Presidential Race kicking off, we have updated some of the data to reflect current trends in unemployment, job growth, and the stock market. Data about GDP and budget deficits have been kept the same since the initial paper, but will be updated in the future. We hope to keep this data up-to-date as it provides a good foundation of areas to compare the two parties moving forward.


Trump boasts the economy reached historic heights during his first term. Here are 9 charts showing how it stacks up to the Obama and Bush presidencies.

The American economy is in shambles, the result of a pandemic which ended a decade-long stretch of growth and caused a historic wave of job losses earlier this year.

With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, voters are deciding which candidate they want to put it back together.

So far, the economy has regained just over half of the 22 million jobs lost from February to April. Both the Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump have made opposing cases to rebuild from the wreckage.

Biden argues the catastrophic public health response from the Trump administration deepened the economic downturn, setting the stage for a highly uneven recovery between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else. He's unveiled plans to smother the virus and get people safely back to work.

Meanwhile, Trump boasts the economy had reached historic heights before the pandemic, even though it was growing just slightly above the same rate as his immediate predecessors. The president contends he can restore that progress, promising lower taxes and deregulation without specifying further.

Still, experts say presidents wield only limited power on the economy's trajectory.

"It's true the president is probably the single most powerful person with the most influence over it," Aaron Sojourner, a former White House economist who served both the Obama and Trump administrations, told Business Insider. "But nobody has very much control over it."

Here are nine charts that illustrate the state of the economy going back two decades and how Trump stacks up compared to his two predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.


Which Party Is Best For Employment? Data Points To Republicans

Over the past 47 years, the unemployment rate, for all races, has ranged between a high of 14.7% in March of this year to a low of 3.5% one month earlier. At 7.9%, the current rate has propelled it into the political discussion as both parties claim to be best at creating jobs. Without a legal statute to compel politicians to be truthful, one might ask, has one party done better at creating jobs than the other?

The truth is in the numbers. In this writing, we will discuss the average unemployment rate, by race, when one party controls the White House, the Senate, and the House, as well as when one controls both sides of Congress and, when a party controls it all.

Using monthly unemployment data over the past 47 years, the average unemployment rate, for all races, has been lower under republicans than it has under democrats. Historically, republicans have been the party of lower taxation and less regulation, both of which provide support economic growth and job creation.

Methodology

This study analyzed monthly unemployment data from March 1973 through September 2020, a total of 571 months. Additionally, it examined the average unemployment rate for whites, blacks/African Americans, and Hispanic/Latino workers, when one political party held:

2) the majority in the Senate

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3) the majority in the House

4) the majority in the Senate AND the House

5) the presidency plus the majority in the Senate AND the House

NOTE: The results will be presented in this order.

Political Control by the Numbers

Before we get to the numbers, here is the breakdown of the percentage of time either party had control of the White House, the Senate, and the House during this period. Republicans have occupied the White House 58% percent of time while democrats have controlled Congress more than republicans.

Political Party Control of President, Senate, House from 1973 to 2020

1) Average Unemployment: President

The following chart reveals the average rate of unemployment when a republican was president versus a democrat. For example, when a republican occupied the White House, the average rate of unemployment was 5.5% for whites, 11.9% for black/African Americans, and 8.6% for Hispanic/Latinos. The numbers are similar under a democrat president.

Average Unemployment by Political Control of Presidency 1973 to 2020

Conclusion: Data is inconclusive. No clear winner.

2) Average Unemployment: Control of Senate

When republicans held a majority in the Senate, average unemployment was lower than when democrats had control.

Average Unemployment by Political party Control of Senate 1973 to 2020

Conclusion: Average rate of unemployment was lower when republicans controlled the Senate.

3) Average Unemployment: Control of House of Representatives

Turning our attention to the House of Representatives, unemployment was lower when republicans held the majority. The margin of difference is greater than it was in the Senate (above).

Average Unemployment by Political Party Control of House of Representatives 1973 to 2020

Conclusion: Average unemployment was lower during a republican-controlled House.

4) Average Unemployment: Control of Congress

What about when one party controlled both houses of Congress? Once again, when republicans held a majority in the Senate and the House, unemployment was lower than when democrats held both houses.

Average Unemployment by Political Party Control of Congress 1973 to 2020

Conclusion: Average unemployment was lower when republicans controlled both sides of Congress.

5) Average Unemployment by Race: Control of Presidency & Congress

The greatest difference is found when republicans held the White House AND both sides of Congress. The following chart has the detail.

Average Unemployment by Political Party Control of Congress & Presidency

Conclusion: Average unemployment was lower when republicans controlled the White House AND Congress.

The previous exhibits show the difference in the average rate of unemployment based on race/ethnicity and the political party in control. The next chart shows the degree of difference. For example, the difference in the average unemployment rate based on the party that held the presidency was inconclusive, ranging from -1% to 3% (left of chart). However, as we follow the chart to the right, we find that the difference in average unemployment is greater when republicans have control. For instance, when republicans had a majority in the House (middle of chart), the difference in the average unemployment rate was between 1.3% and 3.1% for these ethnicities. As republican control expanded, the difference is greater. For example, when republicans held the White House and both sides of Congress (far right of chart), the difference ranged from a low of 2.2% to a high of 4.6%. As all charts show, regardless of the party in control, the rate was consistently higher for non-whites.

Summary: Difference in Average Unemployment for all Charts

This study reveals, except for the office of president, the average rate of unemployment was lower under republican leadership versus democrats. As we looked at republican control of the Senate, then the House, then all of Congress, and finally all of Washington, the difference in the average rate of unemployment increased. According to the data, on the economy and jobs, republicans have the better track record.


Does the Economy Do Better with Republicans, or Democrats, In Charge?

One of the things I do for a living is improve processes, and I do this using the scientific method. First, I make a change to a process, and then I use statistics to see whether or not the change makes a statistically significant difference. I keep the changes that make a positive difference, and I do not keep the changes that do not make a positive difference.

To look for statistically significant differences, I usually use control charts and process capability charts. Just for fun, I decided to use the same technique to see if our economy does better under Republican, or Democrat, leadership. I would like to share my findings.

Here is our first control chart, showing the unemployment rate by President.

The control chart actually has two sections. The top chart is our list of data points – in our case, the average unemployment rate by year. The bottom chart shows the amount of change from year to year. The green line shows the average, or mean unemployment rate, for the entire chart, and then we have upper and lower control levels in red, three standard deviations from the average. In statistical parlance, that means that virtually every data point should fall between the control limits, if the data is random, and we assume that the data is random if it falls between the control limits. Data points in red show something that cannot be attributed to random variation.

We use primarily the top chart. On the bottom chart, we are looking for statistically significant variation in how much the data points change from point to point.

We can see that under Truman and Eisenhower, and under Johnson and Nixon, the unemployment rate was below the lower control limit, showing a statistically significant low unemployment rate. We can also see that under Johnson and then Nixon, there were nine data points in a row below the average. That too shows a statistically significant difference in the unemployment rate. We would call these things positive, as they show statistically significant low rates of unemployment.

We can also see that under Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Obama we had statistically significant high rates of unemployment. We also see a statistically significant change in the unemployment rate occurring when Eisenhower took office, in the middle of Nixon’s presidency, and when Obama took office.

Overall, we might say that individual Presidents did a better or worse job than others in statistically significant ways, but the party in power does not seem to make a difference. Just to be sure, the next control chart (to the left) looks at the same data, but shows the party in power rather than the specific President.

While we do see statistically significant events, they occur, both in terms of good and bad unemployment rates, somewhat evenly between parties.

The next two charts (below) show the level of variation and the capability bell curves for each President. This shows us what the economy was capable of delivering, in terms of unemployment rates, under each President. If the bell curves are narrow, that means there was a narrow range of variability during that President’s tenure. If it is very wide, that means the unemployment rate varied a great deal under that President. We can also see what the average unemployment rate was for each President. Under these two charts, I show the overall picture for Republican and Democrat presidents.

We see a great deal of difference between the different Presidents, but it again appears to be unrelated to the party the President belongs in.

The next graph (left) shows the same data, lumping all Democrat and Republican presidents together. You’ll notice that it makes absolutely no difference whether the President is a Democrat or a Republican. Both the levels of unemployment, and the amount of variability in the levels of unemployment, are almost exactly the same, with not statistically significant difference at all.

I added another control chart (below), showing the unemployment rate for each Federal Reserve Chairman. Interestingly, we do see statistically significant changes based on who runs the Federal Reserve.

McCabe was outstanding. Martin was average. Burns stunk. Miller caused a bad recession that Volker fixed. Greenspan was average, and Bernanke was the worst fed chairman in recent history.

I did a little more analysis on who was in charge of Congress at different times, vs. the party holding the Presidency, and I found that this made almost as big a difference as did the Federal Reserve Chairman. In a nutshell, the economy does poorly whenever either party is in charge of both Congress and the Presidency, and the economy does well whenever we have gridlock. This should not be surprising to a libertarian, as it means that both political parties generally do a poor job running the economy, but that the economy generally does well when government does nothing.

What is the takeaway from all of this? Simple. Our government is terribly, terribly ineffective, and the vast majority of the things it does make things worse rather than better. Also, the Federal Reserve has more to do with how the economy runs than does our government – essentially making the Federal Reserve Chairperson as important or more important than all of government combined, at least in terms of the economy. It also means that our economy does much better when we have stable rules than when we have changes in the rules.

Government generally adds regulations rather than removing them, so these charts cannot tell us whether or not free markets work better than controlled ones, but we can infer (from the fact that adding regulations consistently harms the economy) that regulations, in general, are bad for the economy. From this we can further infer that free markets work better than highly regulated ones. We can also look to the rates of growth in the US economy (and in living and working conditions for US workers) in different time periods of our nation’s history. During the period of 1789-1913, when we had an almost unbridled free market economy, we also had the fastest rate of growth of any country at any time in world history. From 1913 onward, the rate of growth has slowed, rebounding only briefly after World War Two, as the rest of the world rebuilt from the war. This was of course unsustainable, ending as Japan and Europe began to compete again.

The takeaways are 1) that politics is a rat race to the bottom, with both political parties doing great harm to our country, 2) that the Federal Reserve has far too much power over the economy, and 3) that we need to remove as many regulations, and as much government control over the economy, as humanly possible.