Shucks, there goes the Republican economy argument

Just read this tonight in the NY Times:

The stark contrast between the whiz-bang Clinton years and the dreary Bush years is familiar because it is so recent. But while it is extreme, it is not atypical. Data for the whole period from 1948 to 2007, during which Republicans occupied the White House for 34 years and Democrats for 26, show average annual growth of real gross national product of 1.64 percent per capita under Republican presidents versus 2.78 percent under Democrats.

That 1.14-point difference, if maintained for eight years, would yield 9.33 percent more income per person, which is a lot more than almost anyone can expect from a tax cut.

The data comes from a Princeton University professor’s book called Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age, which has just moved up to the top of my reading list.

Even more bothersome, the book reports, is that while the haves fared slightly better under Democrats, the have nots have fared much worse under Republicans (.43 percent of annual growth under the GOP v. 2.64 percent under Democrats).

It’s this type of information that really compels the Republican Party to abandon economic talk at its national convention and focus instead of issues of division (key words: elitist, small town, San Francisco). By focusing on these issues, and appointing a religious radical as his running mate, John McCain has evidently given up the campaign based on policy, and turned to the old Karl Rove strategy of confusing the voters so that they’ll vote against their own interests.

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