Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Income Growth / Equality by Presidential Party

And now for a post that is sure to anger 50% of the U.S. population...

NY Times: Is History Siding With Obama’s Economic Plan?

When Democrats were in the White House, lower-income families experienced slightly faster income growth than higher-income families — which means that incomes were equalizing...

The table also shows that families at the 95th percentile fared almost as well under Republican presidents as under Democrats (1.90 percent growth per year, versus 2.12 percent), giving them little stake, economically, in election outcomes. But the stakes were enormous for the less well-to-do. Families at the 20th percentile fared much worse under Republicans than under Democrats (0.43 percent versus 2.64 percent). Eight years of growth at an annual rate of 0.43 percent increases a family’s income by just 3.5 percent, while eight years of growth at 2.64 percent raises it by 23.2 percent.
Hat Tip: Naked Capitalism


  1. And before any commenters even start coming up with reasons why this isn't really because Republicans can't run a country, head on over to Angry Bear, and read up - every possible explanation or excuse has been examined, and no, there's no other reason than their incompetance at running economies to explain this.

  2. Just remember that "Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results"

  3. This data set is mostly irrelevant. What would be far more relevant are statistics pertaining to how easily people shift income class.

    I'm not sure we should even be aiming to financially reward the bottom 20%: they are most likely doing something wrong, and less money ought to be a catalyst for changing their economic habits.

  4. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that Angry Bear has refuted every possible explanation of Bartels's results.

    Jim Manzi's analysis at The American Scene points out that the results are very sensitive to which years of each administration you credit to the sitting president. Bartels credits each president with economic results starting with the second year of his administration, which isn't crazy, but the results are significantly different if you start crediting each president with either the first or the third year of his administration. In other words, the results don't seem very statistically robust. Combine that with a small sample size and it's hard to be sure what conclusions to draw.

  5. could we make a similar set of graphs, but also outlining who had control of the house / senate?

  6. Fair point, Chuck. The Clinton administration is often given credit for great surpluses, but the budget proposed was vastly different than the budget passed after Newt went to work. The difference was a great surplus to spending even more.