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The Stock Market And Recent Presidents

One of the common talking points from the mainstream media and the GOP is that Republican presidents are good for business and the stock market. Conversely, they believe that Democratic presidents are bad for business and the stock market because they raise taxes on the rich as well as protect consumers and labor from big business.

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane. As we all know, the stock market collapsed during the Bush Administration and the economy was in danger of falling into a depression when Barack Obama took office. On March 3, 2009, President Obama presciently said: “What you’re now seeing is profit-and-earnings ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you’ve got a long-term perspective on it.”

The Republicans ridiculed Obama’s advice and unfairly blamed him for the poor state of the economy. On March 6, 2009, former George W. Bush economic adviser responded to President Obama in an op-ed where he contended that: “Obama’s radicalism is killing the Dow… It’s hard not to see the continued sell-off on Wall Street and the growing fear on Main Street.”

Boskin’s prediction turned out to be way off the mark and was labeled the “worst op-ed in history” by the Washington Post in 2014. After Obama and Boskin called their shot on the stock market in early 2009, the stock market rose like a rocket:

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Here’s a partial excerpt of the breakdown for the 15 latest presidents, ranked by market performance as measured by the total return on the S&P 500.

Cumulative return Annual return

  1. Bill Clinton 163.25% 17.49%

2. Barack Obama 233.71% 16.25%

14. George W. Bush-26.75%-3.82%

Full rankings as of 10/30/17 at this link:

Let’s recap the Obama record. On March 3, 2009, the Dow closed around 6,700. The Dow hit the even lower point of 6,549 on March 9, 2009. The Dow Jones closed at 24,782.29 on December 22, 2017 — the day Trump signed into law the tax cuts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,824 on January 2, 2018 — the day the tax cuts were implemented.

What this means then is that the Dow rose from around 6,700 to 24,800 when Obama’s policies were in place. In other words, the Dow more than tripled. Before 2018, we were living under Obama’s policies.

Now that brings us to Trump. Beginning in 2018, Trump’s policies of exploding deficits, tax cuts for the wealthy and an international trade war were implemented. Since Obama’s policies ended and Trump’s began, the Dow has essentially gone side ways this year. The Dow tumbled about 600 points on November 12, 2018 due to fears of slower global growth. The Dow is currently at 25,387.

The Trump Administration and the GOP majority Congress borrowed $2 trillion and all we have is a sideways stock market. At the same time, middle class wages have stagnated and we had one quarter of 4% GDP growth. The consensus forecast is for 2% GDP growth. Trump and the GOP don’t have much to show for their new policies.

Harry Truman was right: “If you want to live like a Republican, you have to vote for a Democrat.”

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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