Economic Progress Under Obama #1

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:

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.)

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