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The President as Economist: Scoring Economic Performance from Harry Truman to Barack Obama

The President as Economist: Scoring Economic Performance from Harry Truman to Barack Obama

by Richard J. Carroll


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This book provides evaluations of American presidents over the course of 66 years of U.S. economic history, using quantitative data to provide credible, defensible answers to controversial questions like "Whose economic policies were more effective, Ronald Reagan's or Bill Clinton's?"

The President as Economist: Scoring Economic Performance from Harry Truman to Barack Obama provides eye-opening insights about matters of critical importance for the future of the United States. Author Richard J. Carroll tackles a topic that he has researched and been focused on for more than 20 years, providing impartial assessments and rankings of each presidential administration according to numerous key performance indicators—quantitative data, not subjective opinions. The final chapter combines all of the data to present a numeric score (Presidential Performance Index-PPI) for each administration that allows an overall ranking of the 11 presidents.

The analysis covers 66 years of U.S. economic history, ranging from 1946 through 2011. The earlier administrations of Harry S. Truman through Jimmy Carter set the context against which more recent presidencies are judged. This title will be an invaluable resource for everyone from general readers to students at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels, as well as journalists, lobbyists, and anyone directly or indirectly involved in the political process.

  • An appendix provides the official data upon which the rankings are based

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440801815
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/06/2012
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Richard J. Carroll, MA, MBA, is an economist, evaluation specialist, and financial analyst who has published several books and articles about the U.S. economy that cover a range of issues focusing on lessons for current policy. His published works include Praeger's An Economic Record of Presidential Performance: From Truman to Bush and NewsGuides™ Top 10 Issues 2011—An Economic Guide to the Top Issues Facing the United States.

Table of Contents

Figures and Tables vii

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

Abbreviations xxix

Timeline of Events xxxi

Part I General Economy: The President's Influence on the Private Sector

1 GDP and Productivity: Presidential Influence on Economic Production 3

2 Inflation and Interest Rates: Incentives and Disincentives for Economic Production 43

3 Savings and Investment: Groundwork for Growth 55

4 Growth of the Stock Market: The Value of Private Companies 65

5 Employment and the Poverty Line: The "Other" Bottom Lines of Economic Policy 77

6 U.S. Exports and International Trade Balance: America's Global Competitiveness 91

Part II Fiscal Economy: The President's Influence on the Public Sector

7 Federal Budget Growth and Share of the Economy: Maintaining a Public/Private Balance 105

8 Federal Budget Deficits and the National Debt: A President's Fiscal Responsibility 119

9 Federal Taxation: Raising Revenue Effectively for the Public 133

Part III Combining Public and Private Indicators: Overall Presidential Performance Rankings

10 Economic Performance Rankings from Harry Truman to Barack Obama 153

Annex 1 Methodology 183

Annex 2 The Great Depression and World War II: Background to the Modern Economy 187

Annex 3 Statistics 193

Selected Bibliography 211

Index 215

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