Archive for June, 2011

Republicans are Bad for the Economy

June 25th, 2011

Democrats Outperform Republicans by Wide Margin

The Dow Jones industrial average increased by 29.5% in the one-year period following Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009—the third best showing, going back 110 years, for the U.S. stock market in the 12 months following the inauguration of a new President. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first year, which began on March 4, 1933, tops the list with the Dow increasing by 96.5% over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter trails his peers with a loss of 19.6%. On average, Presidents in the Democrat party saw an average one-year gain of 24%, while Republicans averaged 1%.

Barack Obama (DEM)

Inauguration Date: Jan. 20, 2009
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +29.5%

At 468%, Genworth Financial was the best-performing S&P 500 stock during Obama’s first year in office.

William J. Clinton (DEM)

Inauguration Date: Jan. 20, 1993
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +19.3%

The industrial sector was the best-performing sector in the 12 months following Clinton’s inauguration.

Woodrow Wilson (DEM)

Inauguration Date: Mar. 4, 1913
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +0.5%

After World War I began during Wilson’s second year, the U.S. stock market closed for 4 1/2 months.

John F. Kennedy (DEM)

Inauguration Date: Jan. 20, 1961
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +10.8%

The U.S. economy grew 6% in 1961, more than any other President’s first year since at least 1948.

Lyndon B. Johnson (DEM)

Inauguration Date: Nov. 22, 1963
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +21.6%

The Dow increased 27% over the length of Johnson’s five-plus years in office, or about 5% a year.

Richard M. Nixon (REP)

Inauguration Date: Jan. 20, 1969
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: -17.0%

The Dow also lost 17% during the first year of Nixon’s second term.

Ronald Reagan (REP)

Inauguration Date: Jan. 20, 1981
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: -12.7%

The prime rate topped 21%—the highest level on record—during Reagan’s inaugural year.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (REP)

Inauguration Date: Jan. 20, 1953
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +0.5%

The Dow hit a bottom in September 1953 and then went on to double over the next 2 1/2 years.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (DEM)

Inauguration Date: Mar. 4, 1933
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +96.5%

The Dow Jones industrial average rose by an average 9% a year during FDR’s 12-year tenure.

George Bush (REP)

Inauguration Date: Jan. 20, 1989
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +19.6%

The 1980s ended during Bush’s first year, with the Dow rising 228% over the decade, or 13% a year.

George W. Bush (REP)

Inauguration Date: Jan. 20, 2001
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: -7.7%

During his eight years in office, the Dow fell 22%, to 8,281. The S&P 500 lost 37%, closing at 850.

Gerald R. Ford (REP)

Inauguration Date: Aug. 9, 1974
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +4.2%

The Dow fell 45% between Jan. 11, 1973, and Dec. 6, 1974, one of the worst bear markets in history.

Harry S. Truman (DEM)

Inauguration Date: Apr. 12, 1945
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: +30.9%

Almost 18 years after reaching 200 for the first time, the Dow again climbed to 200 in January 1946.

Herbert Hoover (REP)

Inauguration Date: Mar. 4, 1929
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: -15.6%

The Dow dropped 48% from Sept. 3 to Nov. 13 in 1929.

Jimmy Carter (DEM)

Inauguration Date: Jan. 20, 1977
Percentage Change in Dow Jones Industrial Average During First Year in Office: -19.6%

Inflation increased by more than 6% during Carter’s fi rst year.

Why Businesses Should Support Socialized Healthcare

June 23rd, 2011

Why does business align itself with conservatives in supporting the status quo of our failed healthcare system? If I am a conservative businessman, why would I choose a system that discourages personal responsibility? Why would I choose to bear the burden of my employees’ healthcare? Why would I support an anti-market system that forces many to stay in a dead-end job solely for their insurance benefits? If I support the free market, don’t I want market forces—such as performance, ability, and individual choice—to prevail? Do I really want to compete again foreign companies who have universal healthcare and therefore much lower overhead costs? (see this case study) There are historical reasons behind these questions, but I don’t understand why the fear of taxes drives business to get behind such a poorly structured system.

As candidates gear up for the 2012 presidential election, most Republicans are running on a platform that includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (AKA, “ObamaCare”). This law gets rid of some of the more harmful elements of the system such as denial of care based on a preexisting condition, the use of annual limits, insurance company monopolies that lead to abusive premium increases, and numerous inefficiencies in the system. Yet, Republicans want to get rid of it, and potentially replace it with the Paul Ryan voucher system. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. A public option would be a better way to control costs and efficiencies. But Democrats could not get it done. Republicans have successfully demonized the new law, and will make a futile attempt to repeal it (which is interesting because Republicans support almost every element in the bill when asked—in fact, many of the ideas in the bill were first proposed by Republicans. This is not about the American people!). Beside the cynical answers of trying to use the issue to spook voters, what is driving Republicans to take this position?

I want to ask my Republican friends, “Exactly which aspects of the law do you want to eliminate? Is it the market-based exchange that you are against? Do you hate the idea of guaranteeing children with chronic illness the opportunity to purchase life-saving insurance? Are you against the mandate that people take personal responsibility by participate in the system to bring down costs for all (which is how insurance is supposed to work)?” But I can hear the response now: “Well, these are all good things, but how are you going to pay for it?” This is their response to any social program. The answer, of course, is to raise taxes. We have one of the lowest taxes rates in the industrial world. Taxes are an investment into the infrastructure of freedom that allows businesses to succeed and thrive. Most businessmen would agree that a better educated workforce is preferable to one that is not. And many would agree that the public education system—in spite of its flaws—is a low-cost, efficient, and effective way to provide it. Business does not want to be shackled with the responsibility to provide all training and education for its workers. So it welcomes a public education system that turns out a qualified workforce that allows them to succeed. Their tax dollars contribute to this system—this “socialized” education system. Well, the same logic holds true for a healthy workforce. A universal, government-insured healthcare system is what will help America thrive and compete globally in the twenty-first century.

See also:

Facts about the Affordability Care Act

Current system slows entrepreneurship

Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform

American Education: World Geography

June 19th, 2011

Americans need to understand the world much better than we do. We frequently talk about “leading the world.” And U.S. foreign policy is based on the idea that we make the rules. If we are to show leadership in the world, we need an electorate that understands today’s international challenges. We need to understand what problems exist, and how we can best assist others to solve these problems. Understanding such issues should empower our citizens to elect representatives who will promote effective policy that goes beyond the failing status quo.

Here are some interesting—and entertaining—videos clips and charts about what is going on in the world. I hope you enjoy these resources.

“The public has little interest in news about other countries and generally holds uninformed, malleable opinions on most international issues.” (Source)

Check out this great clip from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: American Views

This is how most Americans view the world:

Noteworthy Trends:

Growing Inequality

  • The richest 50 individuals in the world have a combined income greater than that of the poorest 416 million.
  • There are 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day
  • Even in the U.S., the richest society in history, the income gap is growing faster than in any other developed nation, with severe poverty levels at their highest since 1972 (source)

Consequences of Global Inequality

  • Leads to increased migration to wealthy nations, as workers seek employment
  • May lead to leftist revolutions
  • Increased poverty—an average of 50,000 people die from poverty each day
  • Leads to social disintegration, violence and terrorism




More resources:

Amnesty International

United Nations

Foreign Affairs

Foreign Policy

Al Jazeera