Capitalism and Skepticism

Throughout the period for which modern statistics on the American economy are readily available, Democratic presidents have outperformed Republican presidents by almost every measure. When it comes to capitalism, Democrats are more skeptical than Republicans, and, while skepticism might not be as inspiring as freedom, we could have used a bit more of in the past few years.

BALTIMORE – As each new day brings word of another Wall Street bailout even more colossal than the last, one question presents itself with ever-increasing force: why does America’s economy perform so badly under Republican presidents?

The facts are hard to dispute; indeed, the historical record is now so stark that diehard Republicans are probably starting to wonder if there is a curse. Over the period for which modern statistics are readily available, Democrats have outperformed Republicans by almost every traditional measure of economic performance (per capita GDP growth, unemployment, inflation, budget deficits).

Democrats have even managed to beat the Republicans on their own turf. Thanks to the profligacy of the current Bush administration (and the prudence of the Clinton administration), average Federal spending as a proportion of GDP under Republican presidents now exceeds that under Democrats during the measured period.

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