Return of the 'misery index'

Ed Lasky
Jimmy Carter popularized the term "misery index", which is an economic indicator created by economist Arthur Okun that adds the unemployment rate to the inflation rate, when he ran against Gerald Ford in 1976. Carter stated that no man responsible for giving the nation a misery index of 13.57 % was fit to even run for President.

Now we can expect, as voter attention shifts from Iraq and foreign policy/national security issues to the economy, for this handy campaign slogan to be resurrected by Barack Obama and his campaign gurus (and of course, the New York Times). This is especially so because the nation's unemployment rate jumped last night and oil prices took a $10 a barrel jump yesterday. In fact, the unemployment rate was distorted by an anomalous bulge in very young people seeking jobs. We can expect this nuance to be ignored by the Obama camp media.

Today the term appears at least twice in major national publications: Barron's (The Return of the Misery Index) and its sister publication The Wall Street Journal, both owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Murdoch himself has expressed pro-Barack Obama sentiments. At least one major media property that is part of the Murdoch empire has endorsed Obama during the Democratic primary. .

Ironically, Barack Obama will recycle the same campaign slogan that Jimmy Carter used effectively in his first run for the White House over three decades ago. This would not be the first time Barack Obama recycled the campaign slogans and speeches of other successful candidates (think Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, for example).

Most assuredly, David Axelrod will be programming many messages and speeches to include the term "misery index". Expect to be inundated with this slogan.

Jimmy Carter may have won his first election in part by campaigning on the "misery index". But when he assumed the Presidency he enacted policies that had disastrous economic effects on our nation. When he left office, America was in far worse shape. The "misery index" reached an all-time high of 21.98 % and Ronald Reagan was swept into office in the wake of widespread voter revulsion towards Jimmy Carter.

Will Barack Obama (Carter Redux) face the same prospects?
Jimmy Carter popularized the term "misery index", which is an economic indicator created by economist Arthur Okun that adds the unemployment rate to the inflation rate, when he ran against Gerald Ford in 1976. Carter stated that no man responsible for giving the nation a misery index of 13.57 % was fit to even run for President.

Now we can expect, as voter attention shifts from Iraq and foreign policy/national security issues to the economy, for this handy campaign slogan to be resurrected by Barack Obama and his campaign gurus (and of course, the New York Times). This is especially so because the nation's unemployment rate jumped last night and oil prices took a $10 a barrel jump yesterday. In fact, the unemployment rate was distorted by an anomalous bulge in very young people seeking jobs. We can expect this nuance to be ignored by the Obama camp media.

Today the term appears at least twice in major national publications: Barron's (The Return of the Misery Index) and its sister publication The Wall Street Journal, both owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Murdoch himself has expressed pro-Barack Obama sentiments. At least one major media property that is part of the Murdoch empire has endorsed Obama during the Democratic primary. .

Ironically, Barack Obama will recycle the same campaign slogan that Jimmy Carter used effectively in his first run for the White House over three decades ago. This would not be the first time Barack Obama recycled the campaign slogans and speeches of other successful candidates (think Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, for example).

Most assuredly, David Axelrod will be programming many messages and speeches to include the term "misery index". Expect to be inundated with this slogan.

Jimmy Carter may have won his first election in part by campaigning on the "misery index". But when he assumed the Presidency he enacted policies that had disastrous economic effects on our nation. When he left office, America was in far worse shape. The "misery index" reached an all-time high of 21.98 % and Ronald Reagan was swept into office in the wake of widespread voter revulsion towards Jimmy Carter.

Will Barack Obama (Carter Redux) face the same prospects?