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Monday, March 2, 2009

The Looming Threat of Another Carter-esk Misery Index


During the 1976 Presidential campaign, Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter frequently referenced something called the "Misery Index" to suggest the Republican incumbent ought not be re-elected due to the index's high level, which was about 13.57% at that time. Carter won the 1976 election, and the Misery Index reached an all-time high of 21.98% under his administration.

Just what is a "misery index?"

The misery index is an economic indicator, which is determined by adding the nation's unemployment rate to the inflation rate.

Here's a quick graphic depicting the misery rate per year since 1948(click to enlarge):


For all the liberal media's attempts to compare Obama to Lincoln, JFK and FDR, every passing day seems to suggest the president he most resembles is Jimmy Carter. With respect to the misery index, the economy and just about everything else - that bodes poorly for the United States of America.

When Reagan took over Carter's misery index of 19.33, he reduced it by 9.72 points - the second largest decrease in recorded history. As Rush Limbaugh pointed out in his CPAC speech:
"When Obama talks about past economies, he somehow always leaves out the recession of the '80s as worst than this one. Why does he leave it out? Because you know why he leaves it out, America? He leaves it out because we got out of that recession with tax cuts."
We've all heard Obama say this economy is the worst since the Great Depression. It isn't, not yet at least. Carter's recession was worse - though Obama's economic policies are doing wonders to make his Great Depression analogy a self-fulfilling profecy.

Just how bad is this economy Barack Obama "inherited?" Well, if you use Jimmy Carter's standard of measurement, Obama received a relatively low misery index of just 7.63 - the 3rd best (lowest) misery index ever handed over from one president to another since 1948.

Those who suggest that Bush rode and ruined the economic success of Bill Clinton, should perhaps note that the misery index given to Bush (7.93) was higher than the one he handed to Obama. Then again, these are the same people who fail to recognize the fact that we experienced the lowest average unemployment of any president under Bush, as well as the highest total GDP. These are also the same people who refuse to look at the fact that the economy didn't make a turn for the worse until after the democrats took over congress.

The real concern every American should have right now, is if the similarities between Obama and Carter stop at their big-spending/tax-hiking budget and flaccid foreign policy, or if Obama will mirror Carter's effect on the misery index as well.
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