For the past few years, I have researched the record of every president from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Barack Obama and found the economy has done much better under Democratic presidents, regardless of who controlled Congress. I used nonpartisan sources such as the Congressional Budget Office and Treasury Direct website, which show what the deficit and federal debt are for each year.
An interesting study was done by an investment expert, Bob Dietrick (co-author of “Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box”), a principal of Polaris Financial Partners in Westerville, Ohio. He crunched 80 years of numbers from 1929 to 2009, exactly divided: 40 years under Republican presidents and 40 years under Democratic presidents. If you invested $100,000 in a 401(k) fully invested in stocks, under the Republican presidents, you would have retired with $126,000. But under Democratic presidents, you would have $3.9 million, and much more if you included the Obama years.
The deficit was 10 percent of gross domestic product when Bush left office, now at 3 percent of GDP (from $1.2 trillion to under $500 billion), a return to historic averages.
The president has significant control of the economy regardless of who controls Congress. Good examples are Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton; through executive orders, power to choose leaders and the veto.