'Return of the Dreaded Misery Index'
That's the IDB op-ed headline that for those of us of a certain age, recall with trepidation and angst.
The term was conceived in the 1970's and used by Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign. It described the economy under Jimmy Carter and is simply the sum total of the inflation rate, the unemployment rate, and interest rates.
Note to Obama: The misery index is on the rise:
The annual inflation rate for May climbed to 3.6% as price spikes spread beyond oil and food. At the same time, May's unemployment rate edged up to 9.1%, yielding a Misery Index of 12.7.
That marks the fourth straight monthly increase in the index, which is now 62% higher than it was when Obama took office, and 57% higher than it was when the recession officially ended.
Obama's Misery Index average of 10.37 is higher than George W. Bush's (8.11) or Bill Clinton's (7.8).
Admittedly, we're a long way from the 21.98 peak during the Carter administration. But with Obama vigorously stirring the stagflation cauldron for the past 2 1/2 years, it should be no surprise that we're heading in that direction.
If interest rates begin to rise, we'll see the index climb even higher and faster.
The editorial points out that the causes of the increase in the index are Obama's increase in regulations, taxes, and spending. The federal debt and the Fed's easy money policies have also contributed.
It's no longer a question of what Obama will do to change course. He's made it plain that he won't. We can only hope that the Misery Index will contribute to his and his party's defeat in 2012.