The Dow Jones closed yesterday above 13,000 for the first time in nearly four years. This isn't exactly an economic breakthrough -- the Dow is just one index, and there's nothing magical about the 13k plateau -- but it offers something of a morale boost.
It doesn't, however, help conservative arguments that the Obama administration's agenda would ruin the markets, terrify investors, and send the major indexes spiraling downward. In fact, much to Republicans' chagrin, Bloomberg News reported recently that the stock market invariably performs better under Democratic administrations.
While Republicans promote themselves as the friendliest party for Wall Street, stock investors do better when Democrats occupy the White House. From a dollars- and-cents standpoint, it's not even close.
The BGOV Barometer shows that, over the five decades since John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, $1,000 invested in a hypothetical fund that tracks the Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) only when Democrats are in the White House would have been worth $10,920 at the close of trading yesterday.
That's more than nine times the dollar return an investor would have realized from following a similar strategy during Republican administrations. A $1,000 stake invested in a fund that followed the S&P 500 under Republican presidents, starting with Richard Nixon, would have grown to $2,087 on the day George W. Bush left office.
This was published a week ago, and the market has gone up since.
To help drive the point home, Business Week's Josh Green highlighted this chart the other day:
In 2004, a Bush cabinet official said job creation and GDP numbers don't really matter because "the stock market is ... the final arbiter" of economic success.
If that's still true, Republicans appear to have some explaining to do.