CA “Misery Index” tops Jimmy Carter era

The “Misery Index” economic indicator that Jimmy Carter used to defeat Gerald Ford for the Presidency was at an all-time high of 13.57% in the summer of 1976.  But it’s 14.68% now in California, and rising.  While Carter successfully campaigned that “no man responsible for giving a country a misery index that high had a right to even ask to be President,” thereby targeting a weak Republican president instead of the policies of the entrenched 40-year long Democrat controlled Congress of the era, perhaps Democrats here in California will also get away with their terrible performance on the economy by blaming someone else.

That’s because the main stream media doesn’t seem very interested in holding Democrats to task for California’s (or America’s) economic woes, even given the Democrats almost perpetual control of our State Legislature, a Democratic Governor, a Democratic President, and a Congress only one-half, and narrowly at that, controlled by Republicans.  And public opinion is still pretty good for Governor Jerry Brown, at 48% positive.  Yet the MSM seems full of stories about George W. Bush-era failings as the root of all economic evils in America, and can’t seem to write much anything about the utter failure of Obama-era spending programs, or California’s dysfunctional big spending Legislative Democrats.  While Obama hands out the shovelware, and our State Legislature debates variations of shear constitutional lunacy, our financial markets are blowing up at the seams.  Piers Morgan devotes hours on CNN to talk about a defeated Delaware 2010 GOP U.S. Senate candidate’s position on gay marriage.  It all reminds one of that story about Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned down.  Is anybody in a responsible position anywhere paying attention to our economy???

The “Misery Index” is a combination of the inflation rate and the unemployment rate.  It was invented by an economist named Arthur Okun.  The truth is, during Gerald Ford’s presidency the misery index actually went down.  And the average misery index for all Jimmy Carter’s ineffectual four years as President really ended higher, at 16.26%, than it was the year he was elected.

Last week California’s unemployment rate was pegged at 12%, well over the national average. The Los Angeles Times explained away the higher rate in California as a continuing result of the higher exposure here to problems in real estate markets.  The articles said nothing about the poor performance of all the Democrats job growth programs here.

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor statistics, the inflation rate in California was 2.68% in March 2011 and is acknowledged to be rising, to as high as 3% by year-end.  So a 14.68% misery index probably understates the problem in California.

Our statewide blowout of Republican candidates in the last election was a hard pill to swallow for some of us.  But really, now there is no one else left to blame in Sacramento for the long term failure of state economic policies but the Democrats.  Will our media ever tell that story?  More importantly, will a public used to hearing about how Republicans are to blame for all of our problems, start waking up?

 

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