By James Carville - 05/27/14 06:49 PM EDT
“Keep the government’s hands off my Medicaid!” was one of the iconic messages that the Teabaggers brought with them in 2010.
It was that same party that still couldn’t resist talking about rape, witch-hunting and self-deportation. And it’s that same party that’s continuously trying to motivate voters through fear of the debt and deficit. It sure takes a lot of guts to be the one racking up all the bills but then to gripe at those who try and pay for them. Well, I for one am sick of it, and am here to set the record straight.
The ridiculous story we are bound to hear in the coming weeks and months heading into the midterm elections is how the Republican Party is the party of job growth, GDP growth and business investment. Now, I want to put my professor hat on and offer a bit of a history lesson to clear a few things up: the U.S. economy does better, by almost any metric, when a Democrat occupies the White House, and it’s been that way since FDR, if not earlier.
Let’s start with budget deficits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Democratic budget deficits as a percentage of gross domestic product have been less than half the size of Republican budget deficits since 1962. The total Democratic budget deficit is actually almost $4,000 billion smaller than that of the total Republican budget deficits!
So now that we’re clear that Democrats don’t have deficit issues, what about GDP growth? If you can believe it, that data is even more damning — real gross domestic product under Democratic presidents has been 52 percent higher than under Republicans.
Specifically, Democrats are at 4 percent growth, compared to the 2.63 percent of Republican administrations. For a little broader perspective, the United States under a left-leaning political presidency has provided more average GDP growth than either party, left or right, in Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Free-market lovers will really love the next few statistics: business investment growth under Democratic administrations is more than twice that of Republican presidents. The average growth per year under Democratic leadership is 6.3 percent; Republicans come in hot with 2.76 percent growth.
Similarly, job growth has been notably lower under Republican watch in recent decades. According to www.presidentialdata.org, Democratic presidents have created 17.5 million more jobs than Republican presidents since World War II. Even Ronald Reagan, whom Republicans love to tout so often, created almost 600,000 fewer jobs than Bill Clinton did just a few years later.
Lastly, the stock market has grown more than 200 percent faster under Democratic presidents: the average yearly growth in stock market returns under Democratic presidencies lands at +1.92 percent, a whole +1.28 percent higher than the average yearly Republican growth of +0.64 percent.
So next time there’s a boring news cycle and the Republican Party tries to parade itself as the “pro-business party,” make sure you check your facts and figures. In the meantime, Democrats will continue to work on the issue that is critical to voters: economic fairness.
Carville is a political contributor for Fox News. He also serves as a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he lives with his wife, Republican strategist Mary Matalin. Their book Love and War is in stores now. His column will appear twice a month in The Hill.