Democratic presidents are better for the economy

In “The President as Economist: Scoring Economic Performance From Harry Truman to Barack Obama,” I compare the 12 presidents since World War II using 17 economic indicators, including growth in gross domestic product, rate of unemployment, inflation, population below the poverty line, increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, savings and investment rates, exports and trade balances, federal budget growth, and debt and federal taxes as a share of GDP…

As you can see, Presidents Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson rank first through third. Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush make up the bottom three. President Ronald Reagan is No. 8, just one slot above President Obama…

At the bottom of the standings, the George W. Bush administration had many strong negatives and few positives. Bush 43 had the lowest GDP growth rate at 1.4 percent; the worst average trade balance; the highest increase in population below the poverty line; and the biggest increase in the national debt.

Counting as positives on Bush 43’s record were his low average inflation rate of 1.8 percent (third place), second-best export level at 10.8 percent of GDP, and the highest drop in tax revenue as a share of GDP, 4.4 percentage points (from 19.5 to 15.1 percent).