Follow The BIG Money.

In a previous post, I referenced a study from Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box which found that Democratic presidents have been better for the economy than Republican presidents despite GOP claims to the contrary.

The question is why. After all, isn’t the GOP the party of business? In a word, yes, but only big business…BIG, multinational business. As a result, corporate profits, productivity, stock market prices and plentiful supplies of both cheap labor and cheap raw materials are valued above all else.

One only need look at who contributes the most money to GOP election campaigns to understand that the party doesn’t care about the needs of ordinary citizens. The party’s biggest contributors are large corporations, corporate lobbyists, the US Chamber of Commerce, plus big oil, big Pharma, big banking and other industry organizations, as well as obscenely wealthy individuals such as the Koch brothers. A recent report by The Washington Post stated that a “Koch-backed political network, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012.”

To the GOP, ordinary citizens are necessary for votes. But their votes can be bought with massive, and deceptive, ad campaigns designed to create a culture of divisiveness, anger and fear.

On the other hand, contributions for Democratic election campaigns tend to come from labor unions representing police, firefighters, teachers, workers and social organizations. The rest of the financing tends to come from individuals of every income strata. As a result, Democratic candidates tend to serve the needs of their constituents. Without their support, the candidates have little chance of being elected.

Obviously, it’s not quite so cut and dried.

Members of both parties can be swayed to pass legislation to benefit large contributors. Democrats can be romanced by large corporations offering to make large investments and to create new jobs in their districts. Such “incentives” can even affect the policies of the White House.

But the point stands. Which party do you think would be more responsive to individuals? The party that receives most of its campaign financing from large, multinational corporations and ideological billionaires? Or the party that receives a large portion of its campaign financing from working people?

I think you know the answer.

Cutting Through The GOP’s Economic Talking Points.

Almost from the first day President Obama took office, conservatives have howled about his economic policies. They blamed him for growing the national debt. They blamed him for record deficits. They created the Tea Party to protest taxes, even though they were at historic lows.They labeled Obama a socialist for saving the auto industry. They called him a fascist and a communist for signing the Affordable Care Act. And they campaigned on the need for government budget cuts in 2010 and 2012.

Democrats countered that the growing debt and deficits were the result of President George W. Bush’s policies. For his part, President Obama refused to place blame on the previous administration. Instead, he pointed to the irresponsible behavior of Wall Street and the resulting economic crash. And though he has cut the deficit faster than any previous president, he has repeatedly stated that unemployment is still too high and the economy too fragile for more draconian cuts.

So what’s the reality? Who’s right?

Bob Deitrick, a principal of Polaris Financial Partners, and Lew Goldfarb, a business attorney, conducted an exhaustive study of US presidencies from 1929 to 2009. That particular time period was selected because each party controlled the White House for exactly 40 years during that time. What Deitrick and Goldfarb found was that Democratic presidents have been better for the economy than Republicans! Their findings were published in the book Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box.

Interestingly, the administration that ranked highest was the JFK/LBJ administration. (The authors combined the two due to Kennedy’s assassination.) In descending order, the next five were Clinton, FDR, Eisenhower, Truman and Reagan.

The book did not cover Obama’s performance since he had not been in office long enough to make judgments. Yet when Deitrick discussed more recent data in a Forbes interview, he declared, “By all measures, President Obama has outperformed every modern president.” That’s because Obama has reduced the deficit from 10 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) at the end of the Bush presidency to just 4 percent today! This is more the result of growth than budget cuts. It’s the result of Obama’s stimulus plan combined with his decision to save the auto industry. And as the economy continues to grow, the deficit is expected to be just 2 percent of GDP by 2015.

Obviously, presidents who refuse to cut taxes for the wealthy and who refuse to start unnecessary wars are good for the economy.

Still, President Obama is facing a particularly troubling economic reality – that of income inequality. As a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has shown, from 1979 to 2007, the share of income for the top fifth of our population has grown 10 percent. During the same period, all other households saw their share of income decline by 2-3 percent.

This can be fixed. But it will likely take more than a Democrat in the White House. It will take a Democrat-controlled Congress.