I made an assertion to a friend that Obama has left Trump in better shape than Bush left to Obama, and my friend that I’ve known since college, and whom I had asked to be my best man in 1989, decided to unfollow me on Twitter. I do not think it is controversial at all to say that Obama is leaving Trump in better shape than Bush left Obama. I think it is simple numbers.
Economics is half math and half philosophy. The philosophy part is where an economist tries to predict or explain. The math part is purely measurements. The economic progress or lack thereof under Obama should be able to be quantified–items like the stock market performance, employment, GDP, etc. I am an engineer and don’t know hardly a damn thing about economics, but I know a few things.
For measuring the success of the stock market, people generally use the S&P 500 or the DJIA. I did a simple google search for and found a page tracking the S&P 500. The source of this data is from: http://www.cheatsheet.com/stocks/presidential-stock-market-scorecards-reagan-to-obama.html/?a=viewall
I will try to summarize from Reagan to Obama, the S&P 500 index performance under each (I’m eyeballing the graphs, the numbers are pretty close):
President Start End Growth
Reagan 370 550 49%
Bush I 550 710 29%
Clinton 710 1800 154%
Bush II 1800 980 -46%
Obama 980 2259 131% (graph ends in 2013, using actual value from 9 Dec 2016)
So, under Bush II, the S&P decreased by 46%, and under Obama the S&P increased by 131%. Which is better a decrease of 46% or an increase of 131%? I would say the latter. I know my 401k is up about 170% or close to it. (I am not a savvy investor, I have made contributions to my 401k that has caused some of the growth.)