Saturday, September 19, 2015

Presidents and the Economy

John Fullerton posted some info from the recent issue of North Coast Journal on his Facebook page. A then and now look at Humboldt County showing certain demographic changes that have taken place over the years. 

The only other comment than mine was that the average income in the country has been reduced $1500.00 in I forget how many years. He went on to write that the presidential candidate that addresses that and comes up with a solution "hopefully wins". I had to reply that only applies if you think the President has all that much to do with the economy. I know it's akin to blasphemy, but I've always questioned that.

I mentioned that years ago to the guy at Dean Witter that handled my retirement account. He replied that they can have a beneficial effect if they do "...the right things". He never specified what those were. I would think just about everyone has a different opinion about what the right things are.

When you think about it, though, the President doesn't run the country or economy by himself. There's all kinds of things and people involved, many of which the President doesn't really have any direct effect on. Some policies that affect the economy have been in place for years, if not decades. Bush, for example, being blamed for the 2008 recession. Many of the policies that led to that downfall go all the way back to the Carter administration, or so I've been told.

Bush got the blame for that. I suppose that's only fair. Since they take credit for good times, the buck stops with them in bad times, as well. They take praise or blame regardless of whether they had much to do with it- accepting praise when they can. Deflecting blame when they can.

I've felt this way since way back. Earliest I remember was back when Reagan was running for his second term. I was a moderate to conservative Republican back then. I remember him asking, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?". I liked Reagan, but I had to answer his question to myself, "Yes, I am better off now than I was back then, but it's not because of anything you did.". And it wasn't.

7 Comments:

At 10:01 AM, Blogger William Tillman said...

That's why you can't pick on a president for some of the issues happing in our country. Congress and the Senate are as much to blame as he is.

 
At 10:12 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

And all the behind the scenes people you never hear about.

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger Allan Dollison said...

Well I was the person who made the comment that Fred referred to, and his response was a fair point. I will use this forum to respond. The data was of course for Humboldt, but similar data exists for the rest of the country. I think conventional wisdom that the person who has the greatest effect on the economy is the Fed Chairperson. Current incumbent is the first ever woman, Janet Yellen. Carter appointed Paul Volcker and Reagan re-appointed him. He is considered one of the best, and played a huge role in getting us out of the terrible mess we were in. Carter appointed him and I give him credit for that. Since the President gets to make that appointment they can pick the right or the wrong person. I think Volcker was better than Greenspan. Then there is public infrastructure and investment. Eisenhower was responsible for the Interstate Hwy system. That has had a great impact on our economy and brings goods to market faster. He deserves credit for that. Every expert connects education to better opportunities. I think Humboldt has a depressed job market so even though education increased it didn't help. You could probably argue that the income drop would be worse but for the increase in education. Gov. Pat Brown greatly expanded funding and support for what is the finest state educational system so that helps. Obama wants to make Community College completely free. That would have an impact. I think Humboldt is in the doldrums because lumber and commercial fisherman employment is way down. Presidents do not magically wave their wands and effect the economy, but they have the power to have an impact. The income growth among the 1% and the .1% is off the charts. It can be argued that is happening at the expense of the middle class. Trump claims that because he is a successful businessman thus he could create jobs is an obvious bluster. Some have wryly noted that Romney promised an unemployment rate of 6% by the end of his first term. It is now low 5%. Since there have been NO real big economic programs or initiatives by the President in his second term that low unemployment rate is probably the best argument that the president has little to do with it. However there are policies that can be put in place to make things better. We have tried low taxes on the rich and quite frankly it doesn't work. Just like Clinton and Obama's higher taxes on the rich did not cause destruction but rather had a generally positive impact. Taxing policy is (with the work of the congress) some of the most important presidential policy initiatives that can be put forward.

 
At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The stock market has done better with Democrats in office than with Republican presidents.

http://thumbnails-visually.netdna-ssl.com/why-do-all-the-recent-8-year-term-presidents-have-stock-market-crashes-one-year-before-their-exit_535140acee5ce_w1500.png

Nation debt based on GDP rose under Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. It has fallen under Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Obama.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/US_Federal_Debt_as_Percent_of_GDP_by_President.jpg

http://static3.businessinsider.com/image/4fdb39d669bedd523700000e/total-us-debt-as-a-percent-of-gdp.png

PBO has dropped federal debt somewhat but has made a much larger impact on the federal deficit.

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-EX456_narrro_G_20141008143250.jpg

To the extent that the US president has an impact on business and the federal deficit/debt then it would seem safe to argue that we are much better off when we put Democrats in office.

Does that success spill over into Humboldt? It's hard to see why it wouldn't. Eventually our boat rises. And if we want assistance from the federal government to help boost our economy, well, don't expect it from a party that puts most of its energy into to helping the already successful.

 
At 7:32 PM, Blogger Richard said...

I have graphed my earnings since I started work in 73'. My best wage earning years were always with a Democrat as President. All my downward pay years were when Republicans were President.

 
At 6:27 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

"My best wage earning years were always with a Democrat as President"

Mere chance, as far as I'm concerned. No way it would correlate so directly since Presidents have little to do with Humboldt County jobs and employment. Never mind that economic policies are often carried over from past years and administrations.

 
At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With over 9 million people out of work, leaving approx 47% employed enough to pay the necessities. Banks owning most of the private property & businesses, government owning the rest, neither one paying taxes, banking on a president to make things better for the people instead of for the banks & government, is pretty naive. Only YOU can prevent forest fires. But first you must recognize what a fire is.

 

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