Could Happy Days Be Here Again?

Steve Novick

Paul Warner, the State's Legislative Revenue Officer, is a thoroughly nonpartisan man. But yesterday he released information that should make Oregonians downright giddy about the prospect of a Democratic takeover of Congress.
Warner distributed a chart that shows that there is a direct, positive relationship between Democratic control in Washington, DC and the extent to which growth in total personal income in Oregon outstrips inflation + population:
In the ‘60’s (Kennedy-Johnson til ‘69, Dem Congresses, near-total control) total personal income outstripped "popuflation" 105% to 49% - better than 2 to 1.
In the ‘70’s (Dem Congresses, Carter for four years) it was 224%-138%: a 1.6 to 1 ratio.
In the ‘80’s (Reagan, partly Republican Congress) it was 92%-66%: 1.4 to 1.
In the ‘90’s (Clinton, largely Republican Congresses) it was 87%-52%: 1.67 – 1.
In the ‘00s (near-total R control) it has been just 21%-19%.
The numbers don't lie. It is evident that for Oregonians, "Speaker Pelosi" and "Majority Leader Reid" equal "a chicken in every pot."

  • Brandon (unverified)

    I hope we get the landslide. But having Dems in power doesn't mean the economy will suddenly become more egalitarian, fair, stable, or sound.

    I'll be curious to see how much of the coming post-housing-bust re/depression is pegged on the DC's stylin' new Blue leadership instead of on high energy prices and the zany policies of Greenspan & Bernanke's Fed

  • Dan J (unverified)


    I'm sure your are correct in your analysis.

    Oregon will put its hand out and be rewarded with more welfare type subsidies.

    Three cheers for not being able to take care of ourselves! Good thing the Socialist party (err, I meant Democrats, sorry) are riding to the rescue.

    I'm not complaining though, as there will be no real difference considering how fiscally liberal the Republicans have been.

    Too bad none of you can acknowledge how right your Savior, William J. Clinton was in reforming welfare. The Dem's will completely undo the progress that President Clinton made in this area.

  • (Show?)

    Um... Dan?

    You DO understand that these results are talking about how well the Democratic party is able to foster growth in the private sector, right? And that there already is a "Socialist party" in the United States of America, unsurprisingly titled the <h href="">Socialist Party USA, which has nothing to do with the Democratic Party?

    Democrats don't usually go running around talking about the Republicans being the "Klan Party" - even when prominent Republican Senators unabashedly use racist insults and <href="http:"" storyonly="" 2006="" 8="" 31="" 133135="" 183"="">pose for photos with the modern clan. So what good do you think hurling what you think is an insult is going to do anyway? Is there even a drop of reasoning or self-introspection in your skull? Why demote yourself to self-parody?

  • Dan J (unverified)


    the only thing that amazes me more than your arrogance displayed in your many posts is your lack of understanding of sarcasm.

    Go back to school and get past your GED this time.

  • (Show?)

    Ignore Dan J. Inflammatory remarks do not make our discussions interesting.

  • Garrett (unverified)

    Typical response from a Republican. Welfare bad and you're a socialist if you like it. Unfortunately I think Clinton's idea was lost on Republicans who see far more justice in spending money on subsidies for big oil and corporate wellfare. I'm happy to give a mother money to feed her kids and offer her the job training she needs and education to help. If she is unwilling to do that then yes there needs to be consequences for her but not her children. I think that's a solid investment in our country. Yes social programs might be revitalized but isn't that a mark of a responsible country? I don't see France, England, Canada, Germany or any of the other countries with excellent social programs falling into the ocean like the Republicans promise us we will if we adopt anything close to what they have.

  • (Show?)

    I hate to sound critical, Steve, but I think your decade-by-decade analysis is too simplistic. I believe the better analysis looks year-by-year and compares it to whether the National League or the American League won the World Series (or is it the All Star Game? I forget).

    To quote Arthur Burns, one of the last Federal Reserve Chairmen who actually spoke English, "Correlation is not causation."

  • g (unverified)

    As much as I would love to get rid of Republican control of Congress, I think these stats are pretty specious.

    First, what about the 50s? I'd bet Oregon did pretty well under Ike.

    During much of the 80s, Oregon was in the worst recession I've seen in my lifetime, but it started in 1980 while Carter was still in office.

    The current decade has been a disaster for just about everyone, with the exception of the top 5% on the income scale.

    There are a lot of factors that tend to increase the average citizen's income during Democratic governments as opposed to Republican ones, but I'm not sure they necessarily favor one state over another. The one factor which should give Oregon a boost under Democrats is that Republicans tend to favor more military spending and our state as relatively few defense contractors. But military spending was high in the Johnson years, too.

  • (Show?)

    Anyone who doubts that the Democratic Party is the party of wealth creation and that the Republican Party is the party of wealth concentraion should read Prof. Dean Lacy's paper A Curious Paradox of the Red State and Blue States: Federal Spending and Electoral Votes in the 2000 Election.

    (Here's the URL in case is doesn't work:

    This in the summary abstract from that paper, emphasis added:

    "Abstract: Thirty of the U.S. states reap more in federal spending than their citizens contribute to the federal government in taxes. The other 20 states provide more in taxes than they receive in spending. In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, George W. Bush won most of the states that are net beneficiaries of federal spending programs, while Al Gore won most of the states that are net contributors to federal spending. A state’s ratio of federal spending to tax dollars, particularly non-defense spending, is a statistically and substantively significant predictor of Bush’s margin of victory across the states. A state’s per capita federal tax burden is also associated with the election result: states with higher tax burdens gave higher vote margins to Gore. Compared to Clinton’s state-by-state vote shares in 1996, Gore did worse in states that gained in federal spending per tax dollar from 1998 to 2000."

  • Steve Novick (unverified)

    Jack -- there is actually a very strong relationship between baseball and the economy. The long postwar boom ended, and the long decline in real wages began (see Krugman today) in 1973 ... when the American League adopted the designated hitter. Clearly, God wants pichers to hit.

  • Steve Novick (unverified)

    Whoops - typo - "Pitchers," not pichers. Sorry.

  • Roger Dodger (unverified)

    Steven, Even we have to admit that it was our party, the Democratic Party, that is historically the "Klan Party".. whether in the reconstruction South, 1920s Oregon or our Dear Mr. Senator Ku Klux Byrd. The Klan is an albatross we will never live down. We can only strive to do better. Roger M.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)


    I believe it was actually Richard Nixon that forced the American League to adopt the designated hitter rule. Undoubtedly after receiving large cash contributions from the pitching lobby. His tentacles went everywhere. To wit: George Will and Henry Kissinger are always talking about baseball and how it's emblematic of the way things used to be. And don't even get me started on hemlines.


  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    It's well establised that the nationaleconomy has done better under Democratic administrations. It's no surprise that Oregon has done better as well.

  • Marvin McConoughey (unverified)

    An interesting discussion. I would expect that lag effects also enter in. It is common for each party, upon gaining temporary ascendancy, to blame the previous power holders for long term adverse effects.

  • steve stephens (unverified)

    Dan J,

    <h2>If you're going to rant, at least get your Steve-Steven-Stephens right. Gees.</h2>

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