Who’s the Better Manager of the Economy, Republicans or Democrats?

The Record Speaks for Itself

While Republicans talk a good game about the need to be fiscally responsible and their desire to balance the budget, reality shows that Democratic presidents clearly have produced better results.

The past four years, for example, have seen the budget collapse from a $236 billion surplus to a $413 billion deficit. Large deficits mean higher taxes in the future, painful cuts in federal services – like Social Security, the national park system, and funding for education – or both. With large deficits, needed government investments will be under pressure and will be underfunded. In the long run, large deficits mean less private investment, and it means that we are passing a massive debt burden down to our kids and grandkids.

A new analysis by long-time fiscal analyst Richard Kogan shows clearly how different presidents have fared on their budget scorecards. By separating historical data by presidents, he finds that under Democrats, the country has had better budget and economic outcomes.

For example, over the last 42 years, Democrats have been more fiscally responsible than Republicans:

  • The biggest deficits occurred under Republican administrations; and
  • The budget has been balanced five times, and always under Democratic presidents.

Under President Bush’s watch, the budget has seen a historically unprecedented deterioration:

  • There have been four straight years of a fiscal deterioration – the first times this has happened since WWII; and
  • This is the first time in U.S. history that deficits have continued to grow this far into an economic recovery.

When it comes to generating a strong economy, Democrats have out-performed Republicans as well:

  • After-tax income grew faster under the responsible, progressive tax policies of Bill Clinton than under the supply-side, trickle-down policies of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush;
  • Job growth was also nearly four times stronger under Democratic presidents than under Republican presidents;
  • Output growth is 1.6 times stronger under Democrats; and
  • Wage and salary growth is over three times as strong under Democrats.

The evidence shows that the fiscal responsibility of Democrats pays dividends in the form of a stronger economy and that the Republicans’ talk of fiscal responsibility are little more than empty promises.

For a full analysis, see R. Kogan, President Bush, the Federal Budget, and Deficits.

To view a graph of job growth click here