With the 2012 presidential election approaching, a new book, authored by University of Cincinnati College of Law Professor Lew Goldfarb and Bob Deitrick, takes a hard look at the economic stewardship of the most recent 13 presidents—from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush—and their respective parties. Professor Goldfarb's new book, "Bulls, Bears, and the Ballot Box: How the Performance of Our Presidents has Impacted Your Wallet" was released on Monday, July 2nd. Their book tour brings Goldfarb and his co-author to Cincinnati next week, with book signings at two locations:
• July 10th, 7:00 p.m. at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Hyde Park and
• July 11th, 7:00 p.m. at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Crestview Hills, Ky.
During this 80-year period (1929-2009), the Democratic Party and Republican Party occupied the White House for precisely 40 years each – “a perfect time to do a comparison,” said Goldfarb. “Bulls, Bears, and the Ballot Box” shares surprising facts about the U.S. economy and its connection to the president and political parties. What the authors discovered not only surprised them, but also may surprise the book’s readers. Namely, the U.S. economy has fared significantly better under Democratic presidents and policies than under Republican presidents and policies.
“I think people will find our book very intriguing,” said Professor Goldfarb. “Conventional wisdom has been that the Republican Party is the “party of business”, producing superior results for the general economy and the stock market, and presiding over fewer months of recession when it occupies the White House. Our research led us to a much different conclusion,” asserted Goldfarb. “As people begin to think about their vote and their economic future it is important that they learn from the country’s economic history, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, as this may give valuable insights into the future.”
David Wilhelm, former DNC Chair and Bill Clinton Campaign advisor, has endorsed the book, saying: "Don't just buy a single copy of this book. Buy dozens, send them to everyone you know and do it now!"
Goldfarb and Deitrick created a customized system to evaluate presidential economic performance. This system has two components: The Presidential Rankings of Economic Stewardship (PRES Rankings), a qualitative analysis that grades each U.S. president in terms of his specific economic performance while in office and how he performed as a steward on behalf of the consumer, business owner, and general health of the economy. The second component is the Presidential Rules for Economic Success (PRES Rules), a qualitative analysis which they applied to each president, believing that his economic successes or failures can be explained by whether he adhered to, or deviated from, the PRES Rules.
The PRES Rankings measure performance based on a number of economic measures, including annual stock market returns, average unemployment rates, debt accumulation, growth in gross domestic product, average disposable income, corporate profits, and income inequality, and more. “It was clear that the presidents John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton and Franklin D. Roosevelt—all Democrats—were “shining stars” wrote the authors, “while Nixon/Ford, George W. Bush, and Herbert Hoover—all Republicans—trailed the field.” In fact, President Hoover was considered the worst steward of the economy residing over the Great Depression and ranking last on most measures. And George W. Bush was the first president since Hoover to have produced negative stock market returns during his tenure.
“People may ask why this matters,” said Goldfarb. “It matters to their wallet.” The authors provide an example that if you had $100K in a 401(k) account in 1993, at the beginning of President Clinton’s eight years in office and had withdrawn it in 2001 when he left, you would have amassed $341,894. If the same amount was invested in 2001 when President George W. Bush took office and withdrawn eight years later, you would have $64,990…a difference of $277,000.
Donkeys vs. Elephants
The PRES Rankings by party strongly support the book’s assertion that Republican economic superiority is a myth. For example, the country was in a recession only 8.22 percent of the time under Democrats, compared to 29.59 percent under Republicans; the stock market returned 9.6 percent annually under Democrats, compared to only .58 percent annually under Republicans; and the income gap (99 percent vs. 1 percent) narrowed by 16.4 percent under Democrats and widened by 19.6 percent under Republicans.
Under Democratic presidents, corporate profits have been higher, industrial production has been greater, and the trade balance has been more favorable. The authors drive home the dramatic difference in the respective party’s economic performance by comparing what $100,000 invested in the stock market at the beginning of that party’s 40 years in the White House would have been worth at the end of that period - $3.9 million under Democratic presidents and $126,000 under GOP presidents – a huge disparity.
Lessons for Readers and Voters
“With ‘Bulls, Bears, and the Ballot Box: How the Performance of Our Presidents has Impacted Your Wallet,’ we have provided a fairly comprehensive historical analysis of the past 80 years,” said Goldfarb. “We want people to make the best and most informed decision this fall, because the choice you make at the ballot box can have a significant impact on your personal bottom line. We want people to vote their economic pocketbook.”
Professor Goldfarb is the director of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at the UC College of Law. He began his professional career as an accountant/CPA. Robert Deitrick is the co-owner of Polaris Financial Partners and has 28 years of financial-planning experience.
“Bulls, Bears, and the Ballot Box: How the Performance of Our Presidents has Impacted Your Wallet” was just released. For more information regarding this book or to purchase it online, please visit www.bullsbearsandtheballotbox.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or most retail bookstores. Professor Goldfarb is available for interviews regarding his book, the economic performance of Democrat and Republican presidents and political parties over the last 80 years, and what this portends for the 2012 elections.