(Guys and gals, this is long.)
The genesis of this thread was a post I made in response to @d_anconia going into the topic of historical GOP incompetence in economic matters. It was kind of a throw-away comment, but it did spark the question: More than 150 years since the USA became a 2-party nation, what evidence exists to show if one party is better on economic matters than the other? And instead of being an asshoe and making you read through ~2,400 words, I’ll just tell you from the beginning.
The mythology of Republicans being the party which is better in economic matters is, and always has been, hogwash. It wasn’t true in 1873, it wasn’t true in 1929, it definitely wasn’t true in 2008, and it’s not true now. There are a number of ways one can look at this – here are three I’ve thought of, I’m sure there are others.
1. Republican administrations cause wild swings in the Dow
This isn’t really “proof”, but it’s suggestive to the larger argument made.
Largest drops in the DJIA, by %
|Rank||Date||Closing Dow||$ dropped (nominal)||% Dropped||Administration||Party||Event|
… Cumulative by Party
Largest gains in the DJIA, by %
|Rank||Date||Closing Dow||$ gained (nominal)||% Gained||Administration||Party||Event|
… Cumulative by Party
OK, so the above is interesting but it’s not very telling. Of the 40 swings represented, a full 21 came in the Great Depression (16 Hoover, 5 FDR), 6 during COVID, and 5 for the Great Recession, with the remaining being one-time shocks (Long Term Capital Management), unknown (haven’t really looked into the causes of 1987, sorry), or miscellaneous.
At the best… for the argument of “which party is better for the economy", that is… the above shows that markets become more volatile during Republican administrations than Democratic administrations, and these volatility events are, in fact, correlated with economic disasters which occurred under Republican Administrations… but it doesn’t really prove that the Republicans suck at economics. I mean, it could all just be bad timing, right? It wasn’t Hoover’s fault he was sworn into office 6 months before the Depression started, right?