Saturday, September 04, 2021

The Six-Month President: From Ford to Biden

White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently celebrated the Biden Administration’s first six months in office by extravagantly declaring that “……the president has acted to get America back on track by addressing the crises facing this nation.” Continuing, she modestly declared that he had “rebuilt the economy.” But how does Biden’s first six months actually compare to that of his 7 predecessors?

In the table below I rank each of the U.S. presidents beginning in 1975 to today according to growth in the overall economy, jobs and in inflation adjusted wages for the first 6 months of their presidency. Also to gauge whether each president got “America bank on track,” I compare each’s growth rate to the last 6 months of their predecessor.

GDP growth estimates listed in Table 1 indicate that President Carter experienced the top first 6 months with President Biden occupying a very close second. However, GDP growth under Biden suffered the largest negative turnaround with GDP declining by 5.6% between the last 6 months of Trump and the first 6 months of Biden.

Job growth estimates listed in Table 1 indicate that Biden experienced the top 6 month beginning with Carter capturing a close second. Additionally, Biden’s job growth was second only to Carter in terms of increases over the previous 6 months of the Trump by 0.59%.

Average inflation adjusted wage growth estimates listed in Table 1 show that Biden suffered the worst experience in the first six months among the 7 presidents with Trump experiencing the top average inflation adjusted wage expansion in the first 6 months of occupying the White House.

Despite the fact the president lacks even modest control over national economic measures in the first six months, pundits and the median continue to gauge and compare the president’s effectiveness by economic metrics over which it is argued that he and his predecessors have had little control. On these measures, President Biden has clearly not “rebuilt the economy.”

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