Obama vs. Bush on Economic Growth

By Chris Good

In his latest column at National Journal, Ronald Brownstein points out that, if the economy proceeds as it has over the past four months, the U.S. will gain more jobs in 2010 than it did in George W. Bush's entire presidency. Comparing Obama and Bush is interesting, but obviously not easy, he writes:

Now the principal footnote: To compare job growth in 2010 with Bush's record ignores the nearly 4 million jobs lost in Obama's first year, during the freefall that began in Bush's final months. That's like ignoring a meteor strike. Over time, voters are likely to judge Obama by his degree of success in eliminating that deficit and reducing unemployment. Still, if the economy this year produces more than 1 million jobs -- or, conceivably, more than 2 million -- that will give Democrats more ammunition to argue that their agenda has started to turn the tide.

The real point of looking again at Bush's record is to underscore how few jobs the economy was creating even before the 2008 collapse. Bush's tally of 1 million jobs was much less than the economy had generated during any other two-term stretch since World War II: Dwight Eisenhower produced nearly 4 million, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (together) almost 16 million, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (together) 11 million, Ronald Reagan 16 million, and Bill Clinton more than 22 million.

For conclusions about this, and a more detailed comparison, see Brownstein's column.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/05/obama-vs-bush-on-economic-growth/56778/