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June 16, 2011
'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...(Read Full Post)