As we prepare for another kick to America’s economic cajones, I thought I’d post a few interesting stats. No, this has nothing directly to do with anthropology, business-focused ethnography, design, etc. It does, however, deal with business and where we want to be in the next decade.
Following years of declining wages and rising poverty, the Republicans finally crashed the American economy in 2008. 67% of voters say that an agreement to raise the debt ceiling should include tax modifications (either as increases or in the form of closing loopholes) for the wealthy and corporations, not just spending cuts.
The Dow Jones industrial average increased by 29.5% in the one-year period following Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009—the third best showing, going back 110 years, for the U.S. stock market in the 12 months following the inauguration of a new President. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first year, which began on March 4, 1933, tops the list with the Dow increasing by 96.5% over the next 12 months. On average, Presidents in the Democrat party saw an average one-year gain of 24%, while Republicans averaged 1%.
What does all of this tell us? Well, it tells me that the people clamoring for zero regulation, perpetual tax cuts and no government involvement in anything are simply inept when it comes to managing an economy. It also speaks to the power of the party’s myth — tell someone you’re an expert long enough and people will buy into it. Preach free enterprise even as you attack the products that your moral extremists find objectionable (alcohol, non-religious media programming, violent video games, etc.) and people with small minds will rally to the cause. Contradictions and dogma are easy enough to sell when you have the right spin doctors.