Peter Morici Blog | ​Americans Would Prosper Better with a Republican President | Talkmarkets
Professor Emeritus, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Professor Peter Morici is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in ... more

​Americans Would Prosper Better with a Republican President

Date: Monday, July 25, 2016 7:37 AM EDT

Hillary Clinton claims the economy does better with a Democrat in the White House--that’s simply false.

Unless a president presides over an absolute disaster—as did George W. Bush or Herbert Hoover—comparing one with another is tricky business. Too much depends on the domestic circumstances each inherits and conditions in the wider global economy.

The best recent apples to apples comparison is between the tough situations Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama faced when they assumed high office and how the fortunes of America's families subsequently progressed—with Reagan relying on conservative prescriptions and Obama on activist government to fix things.

Obama took office during a punishing financial crisis and recession. Unemployment peaked at 10 percent but under his tutelage, the economy has reclaimed more than 14 million jobs and employment is up 11 percent.

The Gipper faced tough times too—a bruising recession, double digit interest rates and unemployment reaching 10.8 percent. Subsequently, the economy added more than 19 million jobs and employment increased 22 percent.

Reagan accomplished so much because he lowered taxes, curbed the growth of non-defense spending and relied on private decision making to guide recovery. He cleared a path for businesses, large and small, to invest as they deemed fit and raise wages as they needed to compete for good workers.

Obama increased taxes and micromanages businesses through an avalanche of new regulations. To pacify a middle class under siege and Americans underemployed or not working at all, he offers more government giveaways, such as writing down college loans andmortgage debt, and incessant preaching that many ordinary folks are victims of racism, sexism and the evil machinations of the well-off.

Through the first 26 quarters of Mr. Obama's recovery, GDP growth has averaged 2.1 percent, whereas during the comparable period for Reagan, GDP advanced at a 4.6 percent annual pace. And whereas Reagan's social safety net assisted the unemployed, Mr. Obama's pays the unemployed to be idle.

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Gary Anderson 3 years ago Contributor's comment

Surely the globalization of the world, something not done by #Obama, contributes to declining wages in America. It isn't Obama that did this, it is the globalist cabal that doesn't care much about the well being of Americans anymore.

I am not a big fan of Obama or any politician right now, but the decline of wages was not his doing. #Trump is not exactly a Republican, so no one really knows if he will hurt #GDP or keep the slow growth engineered by the Fed.