Daily Clips: May 29th, 2015

The rhetoric of economic mobility in the United States
Washington Post – Michael Gerson.

“For both parties,” Michael Gerson states, “the emerging theme of economic mobility is often a reluctant, second choice.”

He further opines, in broad terms, that the number one focus for Democrats is tackling income inequality, while Republicans’ number one priority is growth.

It’s true that Dems don’t focus enough rhetorically on growth, but history unequivocally shows that Democratic presidents have overseen greater economic growth than their Republican counterparts. So yes, I’ll accept Gerson’s argument if he means that Republicans talk more often and more emphatically about economic growth than Democrats. But if he is actually trying to insinuate that Republicans oversee better economic growth, he clearly ignores the data. As Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

So, let’s look at some brief data on economic growth and Democratic presidents, provided by Bob Deitrick and Lew Godlfarb’s book, “Bulls, Bears & the Ballot Box“:

  • Personal disposable income has grown nearly 6 times more under Democratic presidents
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown 7 times more under Democratic presidents
  • Corporate profits have grown over 16% more per year under Democratic presidents (they actually declined under Republicans by an average of 4.53%/year)
  • Average annual compound return on the stock market has been 18 times greater under Democratic presidents (If you invested $100k for 40 years of Republican administrations you’d have $126k at the end, if you invested $100k for 40 years of Democrat administrations you’d have $3.9M at the end)

Those sure are some embarrassing numbers for a party whose number one “focus” is supposed to be economic growth.

Tacoma $15 minimum wage group needs signatures: 15 Now Tacoma, a group looking to boost Tacoma’s minimum wage to (you guessed it) $15 an hour, still needs nearly 500 signatures to get an initiative on the November ballot. They have until June 17th to collect the remaining signatures.

Seattle board backs smoking ban in parks: As always, the city of Seattle is addressing the tough issues. Yesterday, the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners on Thursday endorsed Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to ban smoking completely in city parks. The good news is that, “[t]he parks department also said it would establish an enforcement-monitoring committee, including a representative from the Seattle Human Rights Commission and an advocate for the homeless, to oversee the ban’s impact on vulnerable people.”

Americans are economically insecure: In his most recent article, Paul Krugman writes

“that 3 in 10 nonelderly Americans said they had no retirement savings or pension, and that the same fraction reported going without some kind of medical care in the past year because they couldn’t afford it. Almost a quarter reported that they or a family member had experienced financial hardship in the past year.”

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Nick Cassella
Nick Cassella graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2014. After graduating, he worked on the Initiative 594 campaign before joining Civic Ventures, where he now manages Civic Skunk Works' social media presence.