It’s old news… but businessmen are historically the worst presidents on economic performance.. twice leading to huge crashes…
Can a businessman help the economy? For presidents, the answer has been no. – The Washington Post:
Can a businessman help the economy? For presidents, the answer has been no.
Mitt Romney likes to argue that his business experience has prepared him for the challenges of the presidency, particularly in stoking economic recovery. In his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Romney declared that President Obama “took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business.”
But historically, has the economy been healthier in times when the president has had a business background?
As any good executive would, let’s look at the numbers.
Since Herbert Hoover’s 1928 election, the American people have voted out of office after a single term only three elected presidents: Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush — all of whom were successful businessmen before they were president. And the only successful business-trained president who was reelected, George W. Bush, oversaw an economic collapse at the end of his second term.
As measured in constant 2005 dollars starting on Jan. 1 of the year after they took office — the economy’s performance in the first year of a presidency is better assigned to the preceding administration — the four presidents with successful business careers had the four worst records in terms of gross domestic product performance. (…)
Here are the numbers – for bumps and debates since 1988.
What stands out the most is GHWB’s second debate in 1992 – and Bush 43 in his first debate in 2004. Even if both candidates evened out over the course of three debates.
Biggest loss overall though is Al Gore in 2000…
And with this as background, it’s hard pressed to see the debates this month alone being capable of shifting the lead against Obama – especially not in the Swing States..
Debate Bumps, 1988-2008: The Chart:
Courtesy of Thomas Holbrook. More discussion is in his post. These numbers show why, based on recent history, it would be unusual for the debates alone to close the gap between Obama and Romney.
(Via The Monkey Cage)
From Pwire – on how long Bush’s fault of wrecking America will stand:
“All of a sudden, this man gets up and says: ‘So how long are you people going to blame the previous administration?’ And I said: ‘Forever.’”
– Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, quoted by Politico, at a campaign rally for President Obama.
One of our favorite books of all time is “Guns, Germs and Steel” by scientist Jared Diamond.
The Big Picture.
Last week the author commented on Romney’s views on Middle East societies, and his analysis about their main driving factors for economic development.
MITT ROMNEY’S latest controversial remark, about the role of culture in explaining why some countries are rich and powerful while others are poor and weak, has attracted much comment. I was especially interested in his remark because he misrepresented my views and, in contrasting them with another scholar’s arguments, oversimplified the issue.
It is not true that my book “Guns, Germs and Steel,” as Mr. Romney described it in a speech in Jerusalem, “basically says the physical characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success of the people that live there. There is iron ore on the land and so forth.”
That is so different from what my book actually says that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it.
He makes a long and good argument (often with the backdrop of 13.000 years of human history) – but also makes it more applicable towards the end, providing a cautionary note:
Conversely, geographic advantages don’t guarantee permanent success, as the growing difficulties in Europe and America show. We Americans fail to provide superior education and economic incentives to much of our population. India, China and other countries that have not been world leaders are investing heavily in education, technology and infrastructure. They’re offering economic opportunities to more and more of their citizens. That’s part of the reason jobs are moving overseas. Our geography won’t keep us rich and powerful if we can’t get a good education, can’t afford health care and can’t count on our hard work’s being rewarded by good jobs and rising incomes.
And the last part goes straight into the problems with narrow business mindsets applied to running societies:
Mitt Romney may become our next president. Will he continue to espouse one-factor explanations for multicausal problems, and fail to understand history and the modern world? If so, he will preside over a declining nation squandering its advantages of location and history.
Read the full column here.
This is a great spot in Syracuse, the old capital of Sicily. The city was founded 2.700 yrs ago by Greek Corinthians – and this is the biggest theatre they ever built.
The Greek Theatre in Syracuse, Italy.
“There are two types of education… One should teach us how to make a living, And the other how to live.”
– John Adams
US safe, then doubled. 1800-1803.
Towards the end of the McCullough book now – it seems that the distinctive and momentous achievement of John Adams really was making peace with France while President.
Disregarding constant warfare and ships sunk by the French, as well as world stage humiliation of American Envoys in Paris by Talleyrand and the Directorate – Adams kept cool – resisted warmongers and hawks at home – and requested peace while building a strong navy.
In the end Paris stepped down and offered peace, in 1800.
A few years later Emperor Napoleon dismissed the whole squabble as a “family feud”, and offered the massive territory of Lousiana to President Thomas Jefferson – thereby famously doubling US with a pen stroke.
Adams had declared war on France in 1798-99, US might not even have existed today.
It would probably have been crushed, opening for an establishment of a French Empire in the north-east, and very likely a lasting chaos and warfare between Britain, France and Spain on the whole continent.
If there ever was a point were the fragile young US could’ve become history, it was during those years.
And to some dismay for Adams – the news of the French Peace Treaty was delayed some months due to postal delivery – possibly costing him the general election in 1800.