Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bush vs. Obama: Let's Compare the Unemployment Numbers

I’m always amazed at how people ascribe policies to presidents based on exactly when they took office. But that doesn’t make sense. It occurred to me that new Presidents can’t actually affect policy—at least, policy that impacts the macroeconomic status of the country—for many months into their presidency. And definitely not on “day one.” So, I headed over to the BLS web site to see for myself what this might mean for, say, unemployment numbers under Bush and Obama. What I found was eye-opening:
Unemployment under Bush more than doubled--in spite of his tax cuts...
If one assumes that the policies of the previous President remain in effect for (at least) six months, a very interesting picture of unemployment emerges: It's clear that under Bush, unemployment increased from 4.6% to 9.5% (not the 7.3% level at the end of 2008). That's 2.2% more unemployment based on the assumption that "Bush policies" contributed to unemployment well into Obama's tenure. Since the Bush tax cuts have been in place for 10 years--and were extended again in December by President Obama, it's clear that they've done nothing; zero; zip; nada fucking thing to create jobs. In fact, during this period, unemployment more than doubled. And although it's still unacceptably high under Obama, it's actually decreased .4% since his policies took effect (based on my basic assumption).


  1. Nice chart, decent assumptions, I'd say. It may be that a given president's economic policies endure far longer than six months after the end of his administration depending on other factors.

  2. Nice job.

    I wish we could force the MSM to report on the fallacies of right wing memes. sigh...

  3. Anonymous: Thanks and agreed. It all depends, really. But so tired of letting the right control the argument; time we used primary source information and took matters into our own hands, me thinks...

    nicole: Definitely; it's a travesty that constantly repeated points by the right are taken as "reasonable polemic" by the MSM. After all these years, it seems the left sill doesn't understand how to drive the narrative. Here's to hoping that online activism and attention to the data will eventually undercut the left's "gut feeling" jingoism.

  4. Do you know how to spell recession?