Friday, February 1, 2008

It Takes a Governor—not a Senator!

Does a senator have what it takes to be President? What about a governor? Surely, the country will survive with a senator as President. But the truth is that it will fare significantly worse than under a President with the executive experience that only comes from being a governor. A governor is a president, after all, of a sovereign state. Thus, a governor has already practiced the Presidency, and no governor can get away with running for President unless he was a success.

But what proof do we have that being a governor makes a difference? Easy: Just list all past Presidents in our country’s history, note whether they were previously governors, and calculate how much we were better off by the end of their presidencies on a couple of telling measures. I’ve actually done this, using real gross domestic product (real GDP) and the unemployment rate. Good Presidents should increase real GDP and decrease unemployment, on average, despite the ups and downs of wars and recessions, as long as we try to get a long-term average to wash out the specific effects of such anomalies in our analysis.

Real GDP refers to the total productivity of the country for one year, not including the effects of inflation (hence “real” instead of “nominal”). Historically, through all of its ups and downs, the US real GDP has grown at an average of 3.7988% per year (from $3.6 billion in 1790 to $11.3194 trillion in 2006, in year-2000 dollars). However, the average rate of growth under governor-Presidents was higher than under non-governor-Presidents: 4.1% per year versus 3.6% per year. For Republican governor-Presidents, in fact, it was 4.2% per year, versus 3.9% per year for Democratic governor-Presidents. Obviously, our best bet is to elect a Republican who has been a governor.

The unemployment rate refers to the proportion of people who should be working but who are not. Annual unemployment data are more limited historically than GDP data, but we can at least go back to Harry Truman’s administration. Since then, unemployment has dropped an average of 3.6% per year under governor-Presidents, but it has increased by an average of 4.3% per year under non-governor-Presidents! Once again, Republican governor-Presidents fared better than Democratic governor-Presidents: 4.0% average annual decline in unemployment versus 3.3% average annual decline. Again, our best bet is to elect a Republican who has been a governor.

But what about experience as Vice President? It helps, but only for GDP (they do a lot worse in unemployment), and governor-Presidents still do better. What about experience as a Senator? Worthless. Senators don’t manage anything! They just argue about what new laws to write (and then make their clerks write them for them). How about First Lady? Take a guess...

Now that you know that it takes a governor, take your pick (we have two governors in the race): The Arkansas economy is about as big as that of Slovakia. Not too bad, but it’s only one-fourth the size of Massachusetts. Massachusetts is bigger than Switzerland! (Care to try your hand at managing Switzerland?) Which one is a tougher state to run? Now remember this: Mitt Romney turned his “Switzerland’s” $3 billion deficit into a $700 million surplus in just four years, while balancing the budget every year he was in office!

It takes a governor. But in Mitt Romney, we have a lot more than that. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For Mitt, Massachusetts was just one amazing success in a flawless track record of the strongest executive experience you will ever witness.

With the economy as it is today, this is no time to put a Senator in the White House. It takes a governor! And Mitt Romney is the governor that it takes.

Vote for Mitt Romney on Tuesday. Then prepare to be amazed.

Cheers - Richard Voss

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