The famous economist, Arthur Okun, to calculate how bad things are for everyday Americans, created what he called the “Misery Index.”
It is calculated by adding together the inflation rate and the unemployment rate as measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number generally characterizes the current economic condition.
Empirically, a high unemployment rate and a high inflation rate have a negative impact on economic growth.
Recall in 1980 when President Carter was swept from office by conservative candidate Ronald Reagan, who asked the American people one simple question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
Well, you may ask, how bad can things get looking into the crystal ball of the future? What would things look like in 2020 under a Hillary Clinton administration? Would there be more or less misery than we experience today?
President Obama’s present Misery Index stands at 9.41, not as horrid as Carter’s at 16.26, or even Gerald Ford’s for that matter, but nothing to brag about. In fact, it is poor by comparison to most presidencies, and economic growth has been anemic to say the least. When it comes to job creation, Obama has been a disaster.
What would Hillary provide by 2020? Realistically, how bad could things get?
Recent research in technical economics shows that unemployment is much more closely correlated with unhappiness than inflation. Underweighting the effects attributed to unemployment rates is therefore politically and economically dangerous. Would Hillary be able to establish sustained economic growth?
And here is what we know about the present unemployment rate. It is not good if measured correctly as the labor participation rate, given that so many people and youths have actually dropped out of the economy altogether.
We have more than 93 million unemployed persons in the U.S. and 47 million people on food stamps. In other words, unemployment looks much worse than the numbers behold. In the African-American and Hispanic communities, and especially among youths, the rate is extremely high.
So the question Donald Trump needs to ask of Hillary Clinton at the debates this fall and on the campaign trail between now and then is this:
How miserable will she make the American people by 2020?
Let’s list the ways Clinton misery would rise:
- Her tax plan will raise taxes and hurt middle-class Americans in the pocketbook.
- Her trade polices (and new deals) will cost the country new job creation while shipping jobs overseas and to Mexico.
- Her health-care regime will keep people from affordable health and continue to raise the cost under an extended Obamacare.
- Her military policies will cost Americans their safety and make vulnerable our national defense.
- Her economic policies will keep the unemployment rates in terms of participation high and fail to create badly needed economic growth.
- Her business over-regulation and taxation will stop companies from building new facilities and expanding.
- Her open immigration policies will continue to let droves of illegal aliens cross our borders unabated. And
- Her foreign policy and lack of a strategy to defeat radical Islamic extremism and ISIS (she barely utter those words) will threaten our ability to function as a society as well as our personal security.
By the year 2020, America will be poorer, sicker and more terrorized and the economy will not have recovered. Our Misery Index, and our unhappiness as a result, will likely be the worst it has ever been.
What would a President Trump do to improve our Misery Index overall?
- He would change the tax regime, making it dramatically lower for individuals, the middle class and corporations, thereby putting more money into circulation.
- He would curtail our current trade policies and cancel the problematic new deals, thereby bringing jobs back to our shores.
- He would end Obamacare and institute health savings accounts, providing better and more cost-effective insurance to Americans.
- He would build back our decimated military forces so as to defend the country.
- He would work in every possible way to increase jobs for all classes and colors of Americans and make the economy competitive.
- He would cut regulation and bring back companies that have relocated elsewhere for tax reasons.
- He would build a wall on the Mexican border and control illegal immigration. And
- He would completely destroy ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism by enacting a comprehensive strategy in intelligence, policing and coordinated rapid military action.
In 2020, which scenario would you prefer?
Taking a page from the Reagan playbook ask: Will you be better off in four years under Hillary Clinton?
Do Americans want jobs, security and economic growth or more and deeper misery?
Framed this way, Donald Trump defeats Hillary Clinton and we restore America’s greatness. He says he wants to be the “Jobs President.” That is what we need: more, good, high-paying and rewarding jobs.
Failure to vote on the part of the electorate – and that means every American voter, as an act of responsible citizenship – will doom us to greater misery by 2020. We will have no one to blame but ourselves.
Never before in American history have the stakes been so high or the choice so clear. Our very future as an economy, as a people, as a country, depends on it.