We tend to imagine every blip in the stock market and every unemployment report as a direct reflection of a president's policies -- particularly during election years. In reality, Congress and the Federal Reserve probably have just as much, if not more, sway over the economy than any president. And one president's policies can spill over into the next administration, making it difficult to sort out who is liable for what. We have a hard enough time accurately measuring what the economy is doing, let along assigning responsibility for its moves.
Still, everyone should know a little economic history. And the cleanest way to get a feel for how the economy has done under past presidents is to just lay the numbers bare.
Here are five economic variables going back to 1900, covering every president from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama.
- Stock market performance
What did that president do to affect it? Probably not much at all although some did. Most were in office at just the right time or if they are on the bottom of this list, they happened to be president at a very bad time.
The thing I think we need most right now is leadership. I just don't see any leadership today. It seems we have done everything possible to limit economic growth and now no one trusts anyone else.
I really think we need leadership. What do you think?