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2 Presidents... 2 Plans... 2 Results: A Bush/Obama Comparisan

In my view, you don't judge the performance of president based on the hand their dealt, but rather by how they choose to play it. In the last 35 years, every president (with the exception of Bill Clinton) has been faced with an economic down-turn or recession in their first term in office, that even though they themselves played no part in creating, were the ones held responsible for taking the nessisary actions to fix. It is the results of those actions that determine whether a president is an effective leader who deserves a second term, or whether he ends up being a one term president that history soon forgets.

I bring this up because lately, I've seen several posts on this forum as well as posts elsewhere on the net, displaying various economic numbers from Obama's presidency and comparing some of those numbers to those of George Bush's presidency. In my opinion, the numbers as well as the comparisans paint a rather deceiving picture of the effectiveness of both presidents. So after giving it some thought, I decided to make a comparisan of my own that I think paints a much more accurate picture of what both presidents achieved in the face of economic troubles.


First, we start with the facts:

Both Bush and Obama inherited recessions upon taking office for their first terms as president, neither of which were the result of the policies of their predecessors. Both men took what was seen at the time, as controversial action to get the economy back on the right track. The major criticism toward both Bush's and Obama's plans, were that the they would increase the nations debt by creating large budget deficits, which their critics claimed would far out weigh the benefits, if any, their plans would achieve.

Bush inherited a mild recession that was compounded by the attacks on September 11th. At that time the Congress was controlled by Republicans and the Senate by Democrats. Bush took action in May 2003 and signed into law the "Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003". Both the Senate and Congress were then controlled by Republicans and the bill was passed by both houses on nearly a straight party line vote.

Obama inherited a recession that began at the end of 2007. At that time both the Congress and Senate were controlled by Democrats. Obama took action in February 2009 and signed into law the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009". Both the Senate and Congress were still controlled by Democrats and the bill was passed by both houses on nearly a straight party line vote.

The Numbers:

Here are the results after 34 months of the implementation of both plans:
Bush__ - 6/03 thru 3/06
Obama - 3/09 thru 12/11​

Unemployment Rate:

Bush__ 6.3% to 4.7%. - 1.6% Lower
Obama 8.7% to 8.5%. - 0.2% Lower
Difference - Bush 1.4% greater reduction

Total US Jobs Created:
Bush__ +5.857 million
Obama -0.937 million
Difference - Bush +6.794 million jobs

Budget Deficit Total of Following 2 Years:
Bush__ 2004 + 2005 = 0.732 trillion dollars
Obama 2010 + 2011 = 2.593 trillion dollars
Difference - Bush 1.861 trillion dollars less

Average Quarterly GDP Growth Rate Following 2 Years
Bush__ 2004, 2005 average - 3.28%
Obama 2010, 2011 average - 2.49%
Difference - Bush 0.79% higher

Now I realize that the economic situation Obama inherited was far more severe than the one Bush had to deal with, but even so, it's still my opinion that Bush's actions gave us a lot more "bang for the buck" than Obama's actions did. In fact, I don't see how anyone could possibly come to any other conclusion... But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, someone will...



Dec 23, 2011
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Hat tip to you on this post, especially taking into account your very first sentence--cannot be any more fair than that--cheers!
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