Financial Meltdowns – A Look Back

Thinking back on periods when there’s been a major financial problem in this country, I’ve noticed something odd – they tend to happen when there’s a Republican President, and in particular, when there’s been a Republican President for at least four years, if not more.

The Great Depression, which often gets blamed on FDR, began under Hoover, who in turn followed fellow Republican Calvin Coolidge in the White House. (FDR, conversely, oversaw the fastest real growth rates of any administration during the period of time for which the BEA NIPA tables provide data.) Stagflation, though it often gets blamed on Carter, began in 1973 or 1974. (During the Carter administration, real growth was faster than for any Republican President since 1929 except Ronald Reagan.) In 1987, after most of Reagan’s term had gone by, we saw the S&L scandal. Now, we have this.

This was off the top of my head, and maybe I’m missing a meltdown or two (the does the dotcom crash qualify?) but I would guess that most of the big meltdowns we’ve seen in the past 100 years or so in this country have occurred when the White House had been in Republican hands for a while. My guess as to the reason – lax regulation.