Why McCain and the GOP Are So Afraid of Discussing the Economy


For too long, Democrats have been derided as economically clueless tax-and-spenders. No wonder Americans so often vote against their own common interests.

We should know better. And now we do.

Alan S. Blinder, in the New York Times, drew recently from Unequal Democracy, a new book by Princeton political science professor Larry M. Bartels. His takeaway could be a game-changer:

Over the last six decades, whether rich or poor, everyone has done better with Democrats in the White House.

And that is just the nondivisive, universal note that Barack Obama needs to hit and keep hitting, in response to the Republican National Convention, and in debates and in the press. So let's tell our McCain-leaning friends and family about this -- and also encourage the Obama campaign to make sure this message gets heard. It's easy: Just fill out this form. Among the most striking points:

  • From 1948 to 2007, the average annual growth of real gross national product was 1.64 percent per capita under Republican presidents versus 2.78 percent under Democrats. Put another way, real per capita GNP grew 69.5 percent faster under the Democrats.

  • Blinder notes that this 1.14-point difference over eight years would yield 9.33 percent more income per person -- and that's a lot more than most of us could expect from a tax cut.

  • The best-off families (the 95th percentile) fared almost as well under Republican as under Democratic presidents (1.90 percent growth per year, versus 2.12 percent).

  • Families at the 20th percentile (the poorest) did significantly better under Democrats than under Republicans. (2.64 percent versus 0.43 percent). Consider this: Eight years of a 0.43 percent annual rate of growth increases a family's income by 3.5 percent, but eight years at 2.64 percent raises it by 23.2 percent!

  • Income inequality in the United States has been rising for about three decades, especially in recent years. Over the entire 60-year period, writes Blinder, "income inequality trended substantially upward under Republican presidents but slightly downward under Democrats, thus accounting for the widening income gaps overall."

Now is the time to bury forever the false portrayal of the Democrats' economic record and replace it with these hopeful facts.

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