The Misery Index

jimmy-carter.jpg From the man that brought us the “real life” understanding of the Misery Index (as first articulated by economist Arthur Okun), Jimmy Carter has now declared that George Bush is the “worst President ever”…….whewww!  He has been waiting for 25 years with hopes to transfer that title to some Republican.  His only options have been Ronald Reagan, Bush the 1st and Bush the 2nd.  For those of you that don’t know, Okun came up with a term that first took on popular meaning during the Carter Administration.  It was called the “Misery Index.”  This is an economic indicator that measures how badly Americans are suffering economically.  Carter blew this index off the chart.  The index was formulated by taking the inflation rate and unemployment rate and adding them together.  Some have added the interest rate to this to further quantify the impact of economic suffering.  When you combine the Misery Index and inflation rate during the Carter Administration you establish an aggregate that likely will never be reached again.

Under the Carter administration the Okun Misery Index was 16.27 (worst ever).  Under G.W. Bush during the first term it reached 7.98 and at this time for the 12 month period ending April, 2007 for the inflation rate and the February, 2007 unemployment rate Bush’s Misery Index has dropped to 6.8.  (the lower being the better)  The best rate ever since the numbers have been kept is the Eisenhower Administration (6.26) and the second best is essentially a tie between GW Bush and the Johnson Administration.

So by the standard that most Presidents are measured by the “voters” Carter is the worst President ever, but I suspect that he is trying to change the subject to the war in Iraq which I would like to call the war on terror.

Let me state here that I vividly remember the day our embassy was invaded on 11/4/1979 and Americans were taken hostages in Iran and held for 444 days under the Carter administration.  It was this “crisis” that launched Ted Koppel and the program Night Line.  I remember being glued to Night Line every night throughout the crisis.  Each program was opened with Day 35, Day 36, Day 37, ………Day 421, etc.  On almost every broadcast the program stated that the administration “said today that a military option is not on the table.”  Well guess what, Iran realized that they had nothing to fear from Uncle Sam and kept the hostages until the next big event.  The Hostages were released on 1/20/1981.  Do you know what occurred on that day?  It was the inauguration of Ronald Reagan.  I remember watching the inauguration on a split screen broadcast with the boarding of the hostages on an airplane to return to the US on the other half of the screen.  Yes folks, the Iranians were not going to allow one day to pass under the Reagan administration while they held U.S. Citizens as hostages.

It is also my firm conviction that (as some say) our past foreign policy has a lot to do with our situation today and that I STRONGLY BELIEVE it is the way Carter handled the Iranian Hostage Crisis that has had a tremendous amount to do with the problems we have with Iran today in particular and with terrorist in general.  They learned that we could be intimidated.

Carter also stated that we have now endorsed the use of the “pre-emptive war” which means to attack a country when our own security is not directly threatened.  Who is he kidding, we have done this often and recently by Clinton in Kosovo, so he is lying here and knows it and so are others that claim that Iraq is the first time it has happened.  But there should be no surprise here that Carter is against “pre-emptive action” to protect American interest when he was too timid to use military action after the terrorist or terrorist countries struck us first.

So when you add the Misery Index to the Carter legacy of the Middle East I have to say the Carter still holds on to the title of WORST President ever although he would like to avoid that label.  In short, no doubt the Carter Presidency is a major contributor to the United States problems today in the Middle East and I am not surprised he is eager to transfer some of that blame on others.

UPDATE 5/21/2007: Jimmy Carter took the opportunity to clarify his remarks concerning President Bush today.  He said that his comments over the weekend about the Bush administration were “careless.”  Carter said he was answering a question about the foreign policy of former President Richard Nixon, as compared with that of the current administration. He said he wasn’t comparing the Bush administration with all those through American history.  This is a bunch of crap as though he was comparing bad foreign policy (of Bush) to bad foreign policy (of Nixon).  If Nixon was understood to be a good President about anything it was considered to be Foreign Policy.  After all to absolutely everyone’s surprise he opened up dialogue with China.  Also in his own words he said “of all time” not just versus Nixon, so again the heat is on and he is lying while trying to dodge the reaction to his comments.  I’m not buying it.  It is time for Jimmy to head for the pasture and fade away.


23 Responses to “The Misery Index”

  1. 1 mommyzabs May 20, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    Hey Dad, Great post. Funny, I was only 3 and I swear I remember watching that on the news night after night. Could I really remember that, i thought for sure i was older. Wonder if that means owen knows what is going on in the world via fox news 🙂 I was the only kid in elementry school that was conserned about what was going on in the world 🙂 You made me such a nerd 🙂

  2. 2 MDBL May 20, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    If Owen is watching Fox Views with his parents… He definitely doesn’t know what’s going on in the world. 😉

    No seriously though… When I have more time I will share some pretty serious theories as to why the hostages were released on Ronnies 1st day (well maybe? Steve I’m sure you know but dismiss them).
    The “Carter warmed them up” concept is cool & most likely has real merit… I’m just surprised they didn’t go more nuts under Clinton (keeping the dems are weak approach in mind), instead waiting for 43 to find his way to Penn Ave. They messed with 41 as well no?

    & we can have done things wrongly a hundred times before… In no way makes it acceptable now.

    Are you pissed that we haven’y rounded up Bin Laden? Talk about counting the days… Day 1,925 & still no Bin Laden… Nice

    Carter was definitely the worst president ever. Well, that served a full term.

  3. 3 MDBL May 20, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    I have a “lets count the days” idea… Day 1,925 (or whatever, somewhere in that neighborhood) & still no Bin Laden!
    On 43’s watch (& they gave 41 h%ll) not Clintons… The who’s fault thing can be very subjective.
    Full term presidency… Carter was as bad as it’s ever been for sure.

    Doing something wrong in previous generations doesn’t mean it all of a sudden becomes right.

  4. 4 totaltransformation May 21, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Ridiculous isn’t it. The man’s presidency was a terrible failure and a joke. He lost Iran, he lost the Panama Canal, and he lost well, the list goes on and on.

  5. 5 Heidi Jo May 21, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    i have a sibling who holds Jimmy Carter as a personal hero. he tried to get me to read his book- but i just couldn’t bring myself to do it, not because i do not like to be educated and have an understanding…but i had a stack of books that i knew i needed to read first!

    where does jimmy stand on the moral issues of things? is he a moderate democrat? is he representative of the party? i don’t know this stuff?

  6. 6 stevereenie May 21, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Heidi Jo,

    I have no doubt that on a personal level Jimmy is a moral and respectable person, but when he speaks as an ex-President I can’t let him off the hook that easily. He is one of the two people that have brought us to this time in our struggle against fundamentalist and radical Islam. [the other being the grace Clinton continued to show bin Laden in the 90’s] I really feel he is so far past his prime that much of what he says is the ramblings of a fuzz ball.

  7. 7 stevereenie May 21, 2007 at 1:09 pm


    I had to salvage both your post from the SPAM filter. Please don’t come back with the SR-71 Blackbird theory of Gary Sick (Sick is an understatement). The Democratic Congress couldn’t wait (on party lines) to spend $3 million to “investigate” it and found it to be bunk. And “Carter warmed them up” is a statement from someone that is trying to assert anything to support their cause. Warming them up had noting to do with thier release. It was the “Morning in America” and “Carry a Big Stick” of Reagan that got their attention. Thats like giving Clinton credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union :).

    Yes upset that we didn’t get bin Laden in Tora Bora and that we gave him so long to deploy his escape routes and safe houses while we danced with the UN and the domestic Politically Correct crowd.

  8. 8 stevereenie May 21, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    One additional note on Tora Bora. Neither MacArthur nor Patton would have made that mistake. We were suckers to negotiate with the War Lords who were doing so in Bad Faith so he (bin Laden) could clear the area. Again, so much for our “kinder gentler” and politically correct approach to war……..

  9. 9 MDBL May 21, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    It’s so strange for me becausae I oppose war… Yet, if I’m in one, I’m pulling NO punches.
    I don’t see war in general as politically correct so if you’re in one. Game on, by ALL means.
    There I am back to CAPS again.

    “Carter warmed them up” meant that he warmed up the current middle eastern climate not the release of the hostages.

    41 & his CIA folk (while at the time setting up Bin Laden as a “freedom fighter” did keep them there until Ronnie came on board)

  10. 11 stevereenie May 21, 2007 at 1:57 pm


    Well then turn on your Cap Lock because the left will do everything possible to see we never fight a war again (whether we need it or not) and if we do that we have to jump through politically correct hoops (such as no naked pyrimids or it is torture and depriving them of soccer balls and preferred meals is cruel and unusual). I firmly believe the Move On’ers etc. would favor surrender American Values and even territory to avoid conflict, especially if the Pubbies were in control.

  11. 12 stevereenie May 21, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    “41 & his CIA folk (while at the time setting up Bin Laden as a “freedom fighter” did keep them there until Ronnie came on board)”

    This is unsupportable bull. Remember when this supposedly happened and the SR-71 allegation that it was Carter’s CIA and he had control of the Blackbirds. Sounds like the Grassy Knoll theory to me.

  12. 13 MDBL May 21, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Hey that grassy knoll theory has new legs of late…

  13. 14 Angel May 21, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    hiya Steverereenie…added ya to my blogroll!…
    what a horror of man Carter is…wreaking with anti Americanism and anti semitism out of every pore!

  14. 15 stevereenie May 21, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks Angel,

    Glad you came by again

  15. 16 stevereenie May 21, 2007 at 8:38 pm


    I assume you mean when you say “grassy knoll new legs” was Ron Paul’s assertion that the Kennedy assination was covered up by the govt. (i.e. Warren Commission).

    Or maybe that the current govt. is under his suspicion re: 911 (which boils down to the Bush did it theory-which itself is great detective work worthy only of Rosie O’Donnel, Charlie Sheen and others of tin hat crowd). 🙂

  16. 17 MDBL May 21, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    all of that exactly… But I said it jokingly of course.
    I mean I like a good conspiracy but c’mon.

  17. 18 Incognito May 21, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    I’d like to think he’s going senile, but he’s been acting this way since his presidency.

    He should be muzzled.

  18. 19 mommyzabs May 21, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Hey Look, despite the diffences all seem to agree that Carter had to be one of the worst presidents ever. Does that give him more cred or less cred when it comes to claiming Bush 43 is the worst ever?

  19. 20 MDBL May 21, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    Sounds like a question from an IQ test…
    I’m going with more cred. Takes one to know one.

  20. 21 Jeff Cannell June 1, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    But jimmy sure can swing a hammer with the best of them– Go Habitat for Humanity.
    Now if we could get safe habitat for the unborn.

    Jeff, don’t count on Jimmy for that…….. dad

  21. 22 plodon June 3, 2007 at 1:45 am

    “Carter warmed them up?” Nah. The hostages were released immediately when Reagan came on board ’cause they figured (and rightly so) that he’d warm them up, and they (Khomeni and the boys) didn’t want that to happen. Or, does anyone think that the ayatollah and crew suddenly thought that with Reagan coming on the scene, the “great satan” really wasn’t that bad anyway?
    “’Carter warmed them up’ meant that he warmed up the current middle eastern climate not the release of the hostages”
    Well, I agree with you that Carter contributed to the current climate in the middle east, I just don’t see that as a positive contribution. I would also agree with you that Carter did not contribute to the release of the hostages.

    plodon, I like they way you have such clarity on these matters. …….steve

  1. 1 Joe Biden Wants War « Next Stop Lauderdale Trackback on May 22, 2007 at 2:21 pm

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