The nation’s Gross Domestic Product has grown less during President Barack Obama’s term than during the first terms of two Bush presidencies, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan.
Of course, it started off in a trough during Obama’s first and second years, following the worst recession since the Great Depression, which started before Obama’s election.
So notes Steve Rattner, the Wall Street financier who oversaw the Obama administration’s bailout of the auto industry.
Rattner likes charts, and he rolled some out on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning.
They offer mixed messages about the impact of these numbers on elections.
With the negative nose-dive in the GDP during Obama’s second year included, Rattner reports, GDP has grown by 3.1 percent overall since the start of the president’s term. Compare that with 13.9 percent GDP growth during the first term of former President Bill Clinton, who won re-election in 1996.
Yet even double-digit GDP growth during a president’s first term is no assurance of victory: It rose by 13.5 percent during Carter’s term, and he lost at re-election. It rose by 8.9 percent during President George H.W. Bush’s term, and he lost too.
The nation’s GDP grew by 9.2 percent during son George W. Bush’s first term, and he won re-election in 2004. It grew by 12.6 percent during Ronald Reagan’s first term, and he won re-election in 1984.
There’s a similar story in job growth:
Overall job growth (loss) during Obama’s term, after reaching a nadir of losses during his second year, still remains negative: minus 0.1 percent.
Yet George W. Bush saw the same picture in 2004: The nation recorded a 0.3 percent job loss during his first term, and he was re-elected.
The first President Bush presided over 1.8 percent job growth during his term, and he was not re-elected.
And of all the presidents noted here, Carter witnessed the greatest job growth during his term: 12.1 percent, and he was not re-elected.
For the others re-elected: Employment grew by 9.9 percent during Clinton’s first term and 5 percent during Reagan’s first term.