In response to the commentary by Ray Holbrook (“Reelect President Donald Trump to save US from socialism,” The Daily News, July 15): The body of the article was a series of sensationalist claims of financial ruin and loss of freedom that will occur if a Democrat is elected president.

Let’s take a step back and look at an indicator of the health of the American economy over time during Republican and Democratic administrations.

The S&P 500 stock market equity index is perhaps the most prominent manifestation of capitalism that exists. And it is hard data, not an opinion.

Let us compare the performance of the S&P 500 between the last seven presidents going back 40 years. From the start of Donald Trump’s term to the end of January, a total of 37 months (and pre-COVID-19 market meltdown), the market had a return of 29.6 percent. Not bad. But compared to other past presidents — it’s not all that good either.

The list below shows the respective returns for each of the last seven presidents for the first 37 months of their term.

Percentage gain in S&P 500 for first 37 months, taken from Macrotrends.

• Barack Obama: 65.4 percent

• Bill Clinton: 46.0 percent

• George H. W. Bush: 38.7 percent

• Donald Trump: 29.6 percent

• Ronald Reagan: 21.2 percent

• George W. Bush: 16.2 percent

• Jimmy Carter: 11.4 percent

To demonstrate the above returns aren’t a fluke, we will consider the returns for each of the above presidents who served a full eight-year term.

• Bill Clinton: 211.3 percent

• Barack Obama: 175.9 percent

• Ronald Reagan: 129.6 percent

• George W. Bush: -39.5 percent

It’s unquestionably apparent from this data that having a Democrat as a president hasn’t been a problem for the economy. Joe Biden isn’t a socialist. In fact, he’s more conservative than either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.

If you were of the opinion that the character flaws of Donald Trump should be overlooked in order to save us from socialism, please review the stock market data and reconsider.

James Moncur lives in Clear Lake Shores.


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(21) comments

Stuart Crouch

Beautiful! Now let's wait for all of their uber-intelligent responses. This will surely have them slobbering themself into a tither.

Carlos Ponce

James Moncur must have taken the course how to lie with statistics.

Carlos Ponce

"Let us compare the performance of the S&P 500... " Taking ONE part of the economy shows James is playing games. How about the other factors? S&P 500 is nice but not indicative of a robust economy by itself.

Claudia Burnam

Darn Carlos, you just burst Mr. Moncur's bubble! E G Wiley

Gary Scoggin

Carlos, care to share any data to back up your point. And FYI, the stock market was the economic parameter most cited by the President when bragging of his success.

Carlos Ponce

James fails to point out the economy improved under Clinton AFTER Republicans took the House and Senate. James also neglects to remind you Obama extended the Bush tax cuts which led to a decent economy and once again Republicans took the House and Senate. You have to look at the whole picture, James.

Bailey Jones

All five of the recessions we've had in the last 40 years began under Republican presidents. Reagan had one, Bush I had one. Bush II had two, and Trumpy McBankruptcy has had one, so far. I personally don't think that presidents have a great effect on their economies, but I've been told on almost a daily basis for the past 3 1/2 years that they, in fact, do. And here we are.

Carlos Ponce

" I personally don't think that presidents have a great effect on their economies," You should have left it at that Bailey because a careful look at each president shows each was not responsible for economic turn down.

Bailey Jones

Yes, Carlos, I'm sure it takes quite a careful look to claim responsibility for good economic times while avoiding responsibility for the bad.

Carlos Ponce

Talk to the small businessperson, Bailey. Trump removing the burdensome regulations on small business was a Godsend.

Craig Mason

Do you remember when Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole shut down the government over the Republicans desire to balance the budget by cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Clinton called their bluff and still balanced the budget without those cuts. Imagine where today’s retirees would be if Clinton had caved. Gingrich was subsequently voted out of office and Clinton won re-election and presided over the largest economic expansion in history to date at that time. Made more percentage wise in my 401k than under any other president.

Carlos Ponce

Talk about revisionism! Clinton balancing the budget was due to a Republican Congress giving him a line item veto, later taken away by court decision.

Bailey Jones

Clinton was able to balance the budget because we were in an economic boom, and the cold war had ended, allowing us to (temporarily) bring some sanity to our defense spending. You may remember the "peace dividend".

Under Clinton, military spending dropped from about 4.7% of GDP to about 2.9%. He was also successful in working with congress to cut spending in other areas. I'm sure the line item veto was useful as well. Clinton's last year budget was the lowest (as a % of GDP) since 1966.

Those were good times.

Carlos Ponce

"Clinton was able to balance the budget because we were in an economic boom" He can thank the Republican Congress for that. Clinton fought against their measures but like a wind vane changed direction.

Craig Mason

On separate note what do think the republicans would have done if Clinton pardoned Jim McDougal like Trump has pardoned Roger Stone? I mean Starr was an investigator in search of a crime when he happened upon McDougal. I think it must have been a hoax.

Carlos Ponce

President Clinton pardoned his former Whitewater business partner Susan McDougal January 20, 2001 on his last day in office. Jim McDougal died on March 8, 1998 after serving less than a year in prison. Had he lived, Bill Clinton probably would have pardoned him as well.

Blanca Bell

James, that is some good stuff!!!

Gary Miller

It is true numbers don't lie. It's also true liberals use numbers to lie.

Bailey Jones

That's why we're called LI-berals.

Charles Douglas

"The 2020 census was two censuses ago!" ...Joe Biden.

Oh by the way he told the crowd that he was in a particular place, but that place was the wrong name for where he was. This man is on the wrong side of right! He is truly lost! He and Obama handpicked VP for him ( Kamala Harris )... will be the first DEM. candidates in recent history who gives up 20-30 percent of BLACK votes to a Republican Candidate. What is significant about that? It means GAME OVER!!!! "KATY CLOSE THE DOOR!"

David Hardee

So sad that the posted article and the excitement of those accepting its representation that S&P data is indicative of the president’s performance in achieving an improvement for the country’s general population, is not right. The S&P is a snippet of the stock market. S&P reflects 500 large-cap stocks and APPLE accounts for 3% of the total weighting of the S&P performance. The fact only (37% t0 55% depending on whose stats you use of household own stocks means, (averaging 37% and 55% = 45% or 4.5 of 10) the impact of S&P effects only 4.5 of 10 households. Meaning 5.5 o 10 households

get no effect. Households is the right category, but S&P is the wrong indicator.

The better indicator is household income. The best statistics available for all household income calculators is from the website

The impact on household income resulting from the president’s performance is more illustrative because most household income is generated through employment and not investments.

household incomes by the year reported.

2008 $58,911 Obama/Biden into office

2012 $55,900 Obama/Biden

2016 $61,779 Trump/Pence into office

2020 $78.500 Trump/Pence

Incidentally, household income improvement has the greatest effect on the minority population.

The year 2020 will have significant impact from the CHINA virus. Those wanting to revise 2020 be my guest.

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