Al Gore is in full

Al Gore is in full campaign mode. Apparently having concluded from the recent elections that the path to success is to attack President Bush as violently as possible, Gore is giving interviews like this one in Time, in which he characterizes the President’s policies as “catastrophic.” In particular, he claims that President Bush has the worst economic record of any President since Herbert Hoover. (This has a familiar ring; Bill Clinton said the same thing, falsely, about the first President Bush in 1992.)
Just for fun, I decided to compare the current economy with conditions two years into the first term of the last several Democratic presidents. I checked the statistics for unemployment, inflation and change in gross domestic product. Here are the results:
______________Unemployment___Inflation Rate____Change/GDP
Truman, 1947:_______3.9%____________14.6%________–0.4%
Kennedy, 1962:______5.5%____________1.1%__________5.7%
Johnson, 1965:______4.5%____________1.6%__________6.3%
Carter, 1978:________6.1%____________7.6%__________5.5%
Clinton, 1994:________6.1%____________2.6%__________4.0%
Democrat Average:___5.2%_____________5.5%__________4.2%
Compare these numbers to the current economic data:
Bush, 2002:_________5.7%___________0.2%________3.1% (3rd Qtr.)
This means that the average Democrat Misery Index (unemployment plus inflation) two years into each of the last five Democratic administrations is 10.7; the current Misery Index, two years into the Bush administration is 5.9.
Of course, none of these comparisons include the truly bad postwar years, like 1980, the last year of the Carter administration, when unemployment was 7.1% and inflation 13.5%, for a horrifying Misery Index of 20.6. Gross domestic product declined that year, too.
It is easy to argue with any particular set of economic data as conditions are constantly changing and, to some degree, the manner in which these data are compiled also changes over time. Nevertheless, these numbers not only demonstrate the absurdity of Gore


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