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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GDP Growth 1900 to 1960

The GDP growth history of the first half of the 20th century was less than stellar. The yellow line, representing a 21 year moving average, falls below the long average before 1910, and stays there until the mid 40's. (For other line explanations, see the previous post.)

Republican Teddy Roosevelt (1901-1909) and Democrat Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) did, on average, about equally well (or equally poorly.) Republicans Taft and Harding hit close to the long term average. Republican Herbert Hoover had the misfortune of presiding over the crash of '29 and the tumble into the great depression.

The truly outstanding performance was achieved by FDR (1933-1945.) I've indicated his depression and war year averages separately, but they are near identical. Note, however the single bad year of 1938, resulting from FDR's misbegotten attempt to balance the budget in 1937. Truman's administration (1945-1953) endured a brutal post-war recession, but his term average was still above the long term average.

Eisenhower didn't do badly - for a Republican. But note - GDP growth during his administration was still below average.

Bottom line: For the entire 20th century, Republicans have generally underperformed Democrats in GDP growth, and they have NEVER exceeded the long term average over the course of a Presidential term.

Update: Note the magnitude of the values, both positive and negative. they are much greater than in the years following. (See previous post.)

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