Tags: misery | index | high

Feeling Miserable Yet?

Thursday, 17 Jul 2008 10:31 AM

The Misery Index, cited most famously by Jimmy Carter as he ran for president in 1976, has hit a 15-year high.

Thanks to rising consumer prices, the index hit 10.5 percent in June, the highest since Bill Clinton took office in January 1993. Its all-time high was 21.98 percent in June 1980, as Carter ran his losing campaign against Ronald Reagan.

The index, created by an economics adviser to Lyndon Johnson, adds unemployment and inflation rates to create a "more true" picture of what Americans feel when the economy sours.

The index was at 9.7 in May.

President Bush this week said in a speech that 5.5 percent unemployment is not as bad a picture, historically speaking, as some might argue. But it's getting harder for Washington to deny the effects of rising inflation on ordinary Americans.

Prices year-over-year rose by 5 percent in June, the fastest since May 1991. Meanwhile, wages fell 2.4 percent over 12 months, adjusted for inflation.

At 10.5 percent, the index is in the same area it sat, on average, during the administrations of Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush.

Its lowest average reading for an administration was 6.26 percent, under Eisenhower. Gerald Ford, in office during the first oil shock, averaged 15.93 percent.

Average Misery Index readings during recent presidential terms, in rank order:

Jimmy Carter (1977 - 1980) -- 16.27

Gerald Ford (1974 - 1976) -- 15.93

Ronald Reagan (1981 - 1988) -- 12.19

George H.W. Bush (1989 - 1992) -- 10.68

Richard Nixon (1969 - 1973) -- 9.98

George W. Bush (2001 - 2007) -- 7.89

Harry Truman (1948 - 1952) -- 7.87

William J. Clinton (1993 - 2000) -- 7.80

John F. Kennedy (1961 - 1962) -- 7.27

Lyndon Johnson (1963 - 1968) -- 6.78

Dwight Eisenhower (1953 - 1960) -- 6.26

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The Misery Index, cited most famously by Jimmy Carter as he ran for president in 1976, has hit a 15-year high.Thanks to rising consumer prices, the index hit 10.5 percent in June, the highest since Bill Clinton took office in January 1993. Its all-time high was 21.98...
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2008-31-17
Thursday, 17 Jul 2008 10:31 AM
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