It is perhaps no surprise that Herbert Hoover's job-creation record is the worst, since his first two and a half years encompassed the dawn of the Great Depression. But it is surprising, given how terrible recessions were before World War I, that Barack Obama is solidly entrenched in second place. During his first two and a half years, employment has dropped about half a percentage point. Other than Hoover and Obama, no modern American leader has presided over negative job growth for a comparable period.
Obama's supporters might suggest that the jobs picture would have been far worse without the president's big-government, high-regulation policies. But past presidents were far less ambitious in hard times, and saw far better results. To put that in perspective, consider that government spending has increased relative to GDP by 3.1 percentage points under President Obama. In 1900, total federal spending was 3.1 percent relative to GDP.
Our great-grandparents may have seen worse recessions than we have, but they did not see a worse president.
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