Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?

Tyler Durden's picture

The phrase "Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?" and "It’s the Economy, Stupid" have become standards of American election discourse in recent decades. And seemingly for good reason. Although it is rare to unseat an incumbent, poor economic performance seems to play a role. We are less than four months away from the US Presidential election. Financial and economic developments have caused surprise political outcomes around the world from time to time.  UBS took a look back at the first terms of the nine presidents that preceded President Obama to determine if the performance of economic variables had any predictive power in determining the odds of re-election for a second term. The news is not good, from GDP growth to real disposable income, and from unemployment to the Misery Index, it seems the bailer-out-in-chief may just have an uphill battle.


The data suggest that economic growth plays a role in a candidate’s ability to win a second term. Real GDP grew slower under George HW Bush than all the other nine presidents, followed by his son, followed by Ford (when comparing compound annual growth rates). Real disposable personal income was even more definitive, growing at the slowest pace under the three presidents who were unseated (George HW Bush, followed by Ford, followed by Carter). With one more quarter left to be reported before the election, under Obama’s first term as president, real GDP is running slower than any of his predecessors, expecting only George HW Bush, and real disposable personal income is the slowest of any of his predecessors since 1953, running at 1.5% and 0.7%, respectively.

Unemployment also rose over Ford’s and George HW Bush’s presidencies by more than any of the others, and ticked up some under Carter’s.


Inflation has been relatively tame under Obama, but the misery index has risen. However, the misery index rose in 6 of the last 9 presidencies.


Critically though - given our recent chart on Obama Odds vs the S&P - Financial markets are less definitive in predicting the presidential outcome. Of the three candidates that were unseated after their first term, only Ford saw a decline in the S&P over his tenure.


Source: UBS

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caimen garou's picture


Uncle Keith's picture

The U.S. typical Crisis Mentality voter is not interested - nor, can they comprehend - that it is 31 years of FAILED Supply Side Economic Public Policy that resulted in Wealth Consolidation and a Stagnant Economy.


The question is not whether or not Old Barry beats Mitten's - it is how badly the GOP gets the crap beaten out of them in the Mid-Terms in '14. 

NidStyles's picture

Where in the hell are you idiots coming from?


What is this Tyler? This is like a weird influx of mutant morons that keep showing up.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

he's a mutant b/c he thinks prez0 will get re-elected and look out republicans in 2014?

or b/c he disses prez"iranContra"rayGun?

that a tremendous heritage of blackOps criminality operating under spook cover, but i'll certainly admit that those briefcases full of china white and the handcuffs were a bit awkward...

flyAirAmerica, BiCheZ!  L0L!!!

NidStyles's picture

Nah, he's an idiot because he actually believes the shit he's saying. Something about voting and parties making a difference in the outcome. 

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

We have a stagnant economy because the government HAS SPENT TOO DAMN MUCH MONEY IN THE LAST 31 YEARS.  PERIOD!!

Overfed's picture

I"m thinkin' more like the last 48 years.

Seer's picture

Look, a great opportunity to communicate with an actual Democrat!  I'd like to take advantage of this opportunity, so, if you don't mind, here's a question for you:

Do you (Democrats) support the policy of continual growth?

pd45's picture

Yes, I'm wiser than I was 4 years ago. I'm also more suspicious, paranoid, and depressed. I want to go back to the warm and cozy Matrix.

johnQpublic's picture

then you need the blue pill

but its viagra

JimBowie1958's picture

Blue pill is always easier on the nerves...

Oh, wait, THAT blue pill, sorry.

Red Heeler's picture

And if you are better off, you didn't do that.

Rushisright's picture

Why don't you people get off your asses and vote? You lazy scum can sit here and jack off to a computer that is going to get you know where. It doesn't just start with 1600 Penssylvania it starts with throwing out the 535 in Congress. That's who has sold us out and that is who needs hanged from every tree branch we can find! Until you jackwads quit complaining and realizing the power you do have...your right your powerless. Keep watching your American Idols...keep sleeping...they got you by the balls morons!


NidStyles's picture

I think you got lost on your way to Sodahead, or whatever trendy micro-cosm of an internet distraction you meant to browse. 


BTW, voting does work. You can not hope to fix a system by using the very same broken system. 

Seer's picture


"You never change anything by fighting the existing. To change something, build a new model and make the existing obsolete."

- Buckminster Fuller

caimen garou's picture

what makes you think my lazy ass does'nt vote?

pd45's picture

I do vote. But my vote gets neutralized by a single welfare recipient.  When a third of a voters are either ignorant or are of dependent class (via direct payment or employment), we've crossed the event horizon into the black hole.

Harbanger's picture

To help secure that vote and further our destruction, Obama recently eliminated all work requirements to receive welfare.  Completely undermining Clinton welfare reform.

Seer's picture

If you vote then you're part of the problem (of proliferating the System).

Do you really think that regular people actually elect top officials?

Yeah, keep pulling that lever you monkey...

Abiotic Oil's picture

Voting... LMAO...  Well at least someone is trying to end the corruption so voting would actually matter again.

Recent Twitter feed from Lawyers for Ron Paul.. backing the GOP and the Dem cockroaches into a corner, shining a light on 'em and busting out the jump boots for some squishing.

"USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press

Palin takes 450 delegates from Romney. Santorum takes 350. Dr Paul can take 300 Romney votes. Newt can take 250 to push Romney below 1144

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
@CorinaKernan The defining issue will be Romney's support for Internment Camps. Delegates will not change their vote over election fraud

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
When Romney fails on the 1st ballot there will be a mass exodus of Romney delegates.- Enter Dr Paul

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
This is our strategy. This is our path to victory. Today it is more plausible than ever. The miracle continues

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
Be prepared to send messages to Santorum, Palin, Jeb Bush & Gingrich to get in the race to strip votes from Romney & drive Romney below 1144

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
Be poised for victory and then make a quick transition to convince Romney delegates to vote their conscience, to vote the Constitution

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
With the filing of our Amended Complaint the Judge will have figured out we did it on purpose and that our strategy worked

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
@CorinaKernan - It means the score will be Romney has zero bound delegates if the Judge rules in our favor and future generations live free

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
It is now check with the Judge agreeing our vision of the Voting Rights Act does apply to the RNC Convention. Our plan is working.

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
We called our strategy 3 dimensional chess meaning the case would proceed with 3 complaints each designed to position RNC into checkmate.

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
This was our strategy all the while knowing we would be filing an Amended Complaint upon successful completion. We prepared it 2 months ago

8h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
We successfully positioned the RNC to admit it has no regard for US Law and that it claims it can even violate it's own Rules on the record.

9h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
The Judge has all the evidence of election fraud. He will not forget it when he pens his Ruling

9h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
The Judge is a former Marine. I believe he will not forsake our Constitution

9h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
The fate of our nation now rests in the hands of a Judge. He has the canvas of his chosing to paint the historical decision of liberty

10h USA_Patriot_Press ‏@USA_Free_Press
@blondenfun1 It never got thrown out. That is a myth. We are winning"

John_Coltrane's picture

Wait, I like this congress.  They do nothing.  No new legislation, a complete stalemate-just as the founding fathers wanted..  I want a powerless, small, ineffectual government whose sole role is national defense.  I can take care of myself.  I would like a repeal of Obamacare and a Paul Ryan/Rand Paul budget which defunds the TSA and the Dept. of Education however, so I've got to go with Romney.

Meanwhile, everyone needs to contract their senators and push Ron Paul's audit the FED bill through the senate.  That's the single most important thing you can do politically.

Van Halen's picture

Paul had a great idea a while back which I wish he had really run with - it was to make the government cut 1% - just 1% from every government budget and program and agency. If Romney wanted to score points, he could throw that out there and watch the current government spin themselves into pretzels trying to shoot down that idea.

Harbanger's picture

 "If Romney wanted to score points, he could throw that out there and watch the current government spin themselves into pretzels trying to shoot down that idea."

The msm does all the spinning Obama needs.  They would dig up archives of starving women and children and shoot down the idea immediately. 

Overfed's picture

That would be great if we could only get rid of all of the cabinet level dictatorships and pass a  Constitutional amendment rescinding all past and outlawing all future Executive Orders.

TraderTimm's picture

The biggest lie in america is that a non-funded vote matters. By "non-funded" I mean not backed by massive lobbying organizations and corporate contributions.

Money controls our political system, not votes. It doesn't matter who is in the presidential hotseat, what matters is which cause has been given the most money to influence the legislature and the eventual desired outcome.

Even if you took everyone out of their incumbent seat - it wouldn't matter - the real policy guidance comes from those who have the most to spend.

Please, prove me wrong - but that is where we are right now. The fact people even think the election matters is a testament to how intellectually lazy everyone is.

Frankly, the system needs a reboot and reformulation.



Harbanger's picture

Rushisright is a new liberal troll, or most likely an old one with a new account.  This is his 1st comment on ZH.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Rushisright said:

Why don't you people get off your asses and vote?

Hahahahaha! Fuck voting. I have more important things to do, like clipping my toenails or cleaning the cat box.

You lazy scum can sit here and jack off to a computer that is going to get you know where.

No, sorry, I don't know where. Where exactly is the computer 'going to get'?

Until you jackwads quit complaining and realizing the power you do have...your right your powerless.

My right? My powerless? I don't get it.

Incidentally, you sound like you're probably more into April Wine than Rush.

SmittyinLA's picture

You only get to vote to allow the Socialists to count the votes once.

NidStyles's picture

I'm better off, yes. It has nothing to do with the "Chump in Chief" though. It has a lot to do with not being on the side of a shithole mountain in Afghanistan getting fucking shot at every night though. 

Disenchanted's picture



It's good that you were there protecting our freedom to be ass-raped by banksters, the MIC, and other scoundrels hiding behind the last refuge.

NidStyles's picture

Who are you kidding? I wasn't there for your sake. I was there because they were paying me massive amounts of paper fiat that I was converting into Physical. I wasn't in the Military then chief. 


My concern and compassion for you as an Individual ends at my doorstep. Once you leave my house, you are on your own. Learn to stand for yourself, and keep your guilt laden emotives to yourself. Reality doesn't care how you feel, and it will chew you up and shit you out like a shiny polished turd. My efforts at being polite end where your right to judge me try to exist. 

Disenchanted's picture



Nobody is/was there(Afghanistan or Iraq) for the sake of the common man, whether they're military or not.


I hope the wealth chasing was worth getting shot at.

NidStyles's picture

Wasn't wealth chasing, but yes, it was worth it. 

JimBowie1958's picture

All the same, thank you for serving regardless why you did it.

Disenchanted's picture



Sorry NidStyles, but I previously failed to see this part of your reply:


My concern and compassion for you as an Individual ends at my doorstep. Once you leave my house, you are on your own. Learn to stand for yourself, and keep your guilt laden emotives to yourself. Reality doesn't care how you feel, and it will chew you up and shit you out like a shiny polished turd. My efforts at being polite end where your right to judge me try to exist.


I think you've seriously misread where I'm coming from...


So if you weren't in the military and you weren't chasing wealth, can you share what noble motive led you to be on the side of an Afghan mountain getting shot at?

Meesohaawnee's picture

how did ya feel about putting your life on the line for criminals? serious. damn i feel bad for WWII vets. everyday i think about what they must be thinking.

Harbanger's picture

I just used my Ouija board to ask a WWII Vet what he's thinking now, and he sent me this video:


Seer's picture

WWII vets have lots of parades, monuments, books and other effects praising their efforts for the empire.  They also have been able to have various funds available, funds that today's soldiers will never see (being that the country is totally broke).

Also, sometimes one does not fully understand the greater world when one is younger.  Hindsight being what it is...  I have no sympathies, however, for those who never bother to expand their awareness and continue to assist in the perpetuation of the Big Lie.

loveyajimbo's picture

FORWARD, Comrades!!!  Just a few more steps to total collapse, we can do it, I know we can!!!  Hooray for Bung-hole Barry!!

Seer's picture

I suppose you were wanting to keep this corrupt Ponzi going?

Brokenarrow's picture

In a year, the world will look exactly the same. Rich will be richer, poor will be desperate.

I learned that the corrupt will always be in control. They are now and always will be.

I would weep with joy of nyc was under ten feet of water. Every wall st criminal would be shot on sight.

Cut their hands off and smother their children. ANd, I dont give a fuck who comes to me door.

Disenchanted's picture




The better question for Americans is, are we better off than we were 99 years ago?

Walt D.'s picture

Jimmy Carter answered  "Yes - now  I'm no longer the worst President ever".

Richard Nixon answered  "Yes - now  I'm no longer the most dishonest President ever".

JR's picture

Much of the over-proclaimed GDP growth is inflation, and you can’t improve your standard of living on inflation unless you are a banker.

Writes Johnny Silver Bear in Preservation:

“The U.S. Dollar has lost more than 60% of it purchasing power since 2002. The value of silver has not increased. The value of the dollar has tanked. Most people do not understand the insidious nature of inflation. It is not a natural occurrence. It is a contrived means of theft…

“A dime, minted in 1964 was comprised of 90% silver. Today, a pre 1965 dime will purchase a gallon of gasoline. Today, gasoline is cheaper than it was in 1964. The reason we can't buy gasoline for 10¢ with Federal Reserve notes is because we have been robbed by the Federal Reserve (owned by American and European Banking families) and a complicit government. Pretty much everything is cheaper now than it was in 1964. Advances in technology, manufacturing and distribution would have/should have provided a greatly enhanced standard of living for all Americans. That is if we hadn't been ripped off by the powers that be. This is the main reason that the middle class is shrinking. Until we abolish the Federal Reserve and prosecute the criminals, the future of the United States will remain in great peril.”

JimBowie1958's picture

A pre-1965 dime is worth about $2.

Where the heck do you buy your gas?

I think am coming over to fill up a couple of tanks!

JR's picture

Good catch. I think Johnny wrote his article June 2011 when a real dime was worth $2.86, about the same as the average cost of a gallon of unleaded.

Michael Brown in an April 2012 article introduces a video quoting Peter Schiff that you could buy a gallon of gas today for a dime --  yes, a dime – if that was a real dime, one minted prior to 1965.

But even with the fluctuations, Johnny’s point is well made. Anyway, thanks for the heads up. And sorry I can't accommodate your order. Unleaded is more than $4.00 here on the California coast!

Walt D.'s picture

Romney is not going to flush the ObamaTurd - he's just going to polish it.