For years, Americans have listed the economy as their "most important problem," and it seems like countless elections have swung on candidates' sugar-coated promises to accelerate growth, create jobs, and generally make us all as rich as we've dreamed. But just how much power does the president really have over the economy, in the first place?
In a new update to a fantastically interesting paper, Princeton professors Alan Blinder and Mark Watson offer an answer that says, essentially, they have much less power than you think.
The juiciest discovery from the paper is that in the last 70 years, the US economy has been better, across many metrics, when a Democrat has been the president. Here's a quick look at GDP growth by president going back to the second Truman administration ...
Dem v. Rep POTUS: Who's 'Better' for GDP?
... and here's a look at all the categories where Democratic presidents have racked up an advantage over Republicans in the last few decades. There is no economic category where Republican presidents collectively fared better than Democrats.
The Democratic Advantage
Why is the US economy so unapologetically partisan? Do the laws of supply and demand have a liberal bias? Are Democrats better at governing for growth? Do these graphs prove something fundamental about the superiority of Keynesianism?