Democrats rate as economic stewards

Oct 26, 2008 @ 12:01 am

By Andrew Coen

With Election Day approaching, one professor has found a creative way to highlight the economic successes of past Democratic presidents.

Arthur Blaustein, a public-policy and economic-development professor at the University of California at Berkeley, has created a quiz with financial-related questions on modern U.S presidents. The quiz asks about who the top presidents have been at managing the economy since World War II, according to eight economic standards. In each instance, a Democrat came out on top.

"For so many years, I've been seeing polls where people think that Republicans and businesspeople can do better with the economy," said Mr. Blaustein, a former chairman of President Carter's National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity. "I thought I'd do the research to see if it was true."

The Democratic president who ranked best in the most economic categories was Harry S. Truman. He presided over the largest gross domestic product growth, lowest inflation rate and lowest misery index during his presidency, from 1945 to 1953, according to Mr. Blaustein's research.

President Johnson (1963-69) was the best economic manager in terms of overseeing the greatest rise after-tax personal disposable income and largest hourly-wage jump.

John F. Kennedy (1961-63) was president during the period of the highest industrial production growth, while Mr. Carter (1977-81) was president during the period with the highest job growth.

The largest federal budget deficit reduction came during President Clinton's presidency (1993-2001).

Mr. Blaustein, a self-described moderate who leans Democratic, said that the research for the quiz shows that the GOP trickle-down economic policies don't work for the middle and working classes. "With Democrats, as the old expression goes, they tend to spread it around more," he said.

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