Monday, November 1, 2010

Please make it stop

A friend of mine posts a query to my Facebook Wall:

I was listening to an Economist this AM on the radio [who is] part of a group of Economists who believe FDR's policies prolonged the Depression, rather than helped it. This goes against everything I learned in my vast High School and Community College experience. What's the real deal, Green?
Just to make sure, I calculated four year GDP growth by presidential term, going back to Hoover.  I count as a term as the period from inauguration to inauguration, so 1929-1933, 1933-1937, etc.

The three terms in which GDP grew fastest: FDR III, FDR I and FDR II.  Even if one removes III because of the special circumstance of World War II, he still gets the best two four year periods.  Do people really want to argue the counterfactual?  [BTW, #4 is Truman II, and # 5 is JFK-LBJ].