NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Higher GDP Growth When GOP Controlled Congress

March 3, 2000

Comparative data developed by the Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation suggest that growth in gross domestic product may be influenced more by which party controls Congress than by the political affiliation of the man in the White House.

Looking at the two most recent decades, researchers compared time periods from third quarter to third quarter in an effort to avoid an election-year anticipatory effect.

  • The lowest growth period, at 2.61 percent on average, was 1986 to 1992 -- after the Democrats, already in control of the House, took over the Senate and largely stymied President Reagan's reform agenda while blocking President Bush's more responsible initiatives.
  • The next higher growth period was 1992 to 1994, at 3.14 percent, after President Clinton took office and enjoyed a Democrat-controlled Congress -- which may reflect the natural tendency for the economy to grow faster coming out of a recession.
  • The second highest rate of growth, at 3.39 percent, occurred in the first six years of the Reagan presidency.
  • But the economy grew fastest after the election of the Republican congress in 1994 -- at a rate of 3.8 percent.

Source: James C. Miller III and Stephen V. Potenza (both of Citizens for a Sound Economy), Washington Times, March 3, 2000.


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