The Claim:

The "Misery Index" is higher under Obama than it was under Bush.

The Truth:

Correct, of course.

Recently, this table has been going around, and it's had liberals up in arms:

This is the third of a series of articles examining each of these claims.

The Misry Index was developed in the 1960s by Aurhur Okun, an adviser to Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Democrat. It was long seen as an indicator designed solely to besmirch Republican presidents. As you can see, with two exceptions at the top and bottom of the scale, Republican presidents are at the top of the index:


The economic world had no need for an indicator designed with a political agenda, and so the Misery Index was largely ignored for many years.

But with the Obama administration, something very interesting happened:


Hey, look at that -- not counting the Eisenhower/Carter outliers, Obama's the only Democrat on the wrong side of the Misery Index.

And yes, needless to say, under Obama, it's higher than Bush.

It's not all good news, however. When we look at the Misery Index from month to month, there's a disturbing trend:


It's been falling quickly; it's already lower than the high point during the Bush administration. At this rate, unless something is done, it will be lower on inauguration day 2013 as it was in 2009.