McCain: Obama as Jimmy Carter’s Second Term

I guess the McBush jokes have gotten to John McCain:

Mr McCain hit back by portraying Senator Obama as a tax-and-spend liberal in the mould of 1970s president Jimmy Carter, when the last sustained surge in oil prices combined with high inflation to plunge the US economy into crisis.

This crack is stupid at so many levels. First of all – oil prices have already skyrocketed under George W. Bush. This source shows that oil prices average $23 a barrel back in 2001 as opposed to the current market price near $137 a barrel. OK, inflation adjusted to today’s prices, the real price of oil averaged $27.29 a barrel back in 2001. It is hard to pin this down on some future policies of a President Obama.

Our graph shows Federal spending as a percent of GDP from 1969 to 1992- a 24-year span where Republican Administrations were in office for all but the 4 years that Carter was President. Were Nixon and Ford tax-and-spend liberals as well? And I guess Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were Marxists!
Maybe we should remind McCain that the Federal debt to GDP ratio fell from 35.8% in 1977 to 32.6% in 1981. Under George W. Bush’s spend and borrow but never tax policies – the ones McCain would like to augment – the Federal debt to GDP ratio rose from 57.4% in 2001 to a projected 69.3% for 2009.
Maybe we should also remind McCain that employment growth during the Carter years was sufficiently strong so as to have the employment-population ratio rise from 57.0% as of January 1977 to 59.1%. As of January 2001, this ratio was 64.4% but is now only 62.6%. In a word – employment growth since Bush took office has sucked.

I know some folks look upon Carter’s years as President as not exactly our finest hour. But if McCain wants to tout the economic record of George W. Bush as being clearly better, he really is a fool.