NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 30, 2004

Despite the stock market bubble bursting in 2000-2001, and the September 11th attacks, economist Lawrence Lindsey says the economy is performing about as well in President Bush's election year as it was under President Clinton in 1996:

  • During the past year, the U.S. economy grew by 4.8 percent as compared to 4 percent for a similar period in 1996.
  • Since taking office, inflation-adjusted take home pay rose 5.9 percent ($1,521) under Bush and 6.5 percent ($1,332) under Clinton.
  • Inflation has been kept low -- between 2001-2003, prices have risen by an aggregate 8.0 percent, while they rose by a total of 9.9 percent from 1993-1996.
  • 30-year fixed mortgage rates have fallen from 7.30 percent in 2001 to 6.20 percent in 2004; in 1996 the rate was 8.44 percent, up from 8.12 percent in 1993.

Lindsey notes the unemployment rate is about the same leading up to both elections, with the current rate of 5.5 percent a shade lower than the 5.4 percent rate in 1996. Similarly, through July there have been 175,000 new jobs created per month in 2004, while there were 205,000 in 1996.

Overall, payroll surveys show there has been about 1.1 million jobs lost under Bush as compared to some 9.9 million gained under Clinton. Household surveys, however, which capture agricultural workers and the self-employed, show some 4.5 million jobs new jobs have been created since January 2001, says Lindsey.

Source: Lawrence B. Lindsey, "Bush the Better Economic Steward," USA Today, August 19, 2004.

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