NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 3, 2008

The evidence shows that much of the Democratic Party's criticism of President Bush's economic record is wide of the mark, says Keith Marsden, a fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies.

How does the performance of the U.S. economy really compare with other advanced economies over the eight years of George Bush's presidency?  Data published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, the International Comparison Program (ICP) (a cooperative venture coordinated by the World Bank) and the U.S. Census Bureau allow a nonpartisan, factual assessment, says Marsden. 

Economic growth:

  • U.S. output has expanded faster than in most advanced economies since 2000.
  • The IMF reports that real U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 2.2 percent over the period 2001-2008 (including its forecast for the current year).
  • President Bush will leave his successor an economy 19 percent larger than the one he inherited from President Clinton.
  • This U.S. expansion compares with 14 percent by France, 13 percent by Japan and just 8 percent by Italy and Germany over the same period.
  • The latest ICP findings, published by the World Bank in its World Development Indicators 2008, also show that GDP per capita in the United States reached $41,813 (in purchasing power parity dollars) in 2005; this was a third higher than the United Kingdom's, 37 percent above Germany's and 38 percent more than Japan's.

Household consumption:

  • The ICP study found that the average per-capita consumption of the U.S. population (citizens and illegal immigrants combined) was second only to Luxembourg's, out of 146 countries covered in 2005.
  • The U.S. average was $32,045; this was well above the levels in the UK ($25,155), Canada ($23,526), France ($23,027) and Germany ($21,742). China stood at $1,751.

Source: Keith Marsden, "Bush Has a Good Economic Record," Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2008.

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