Donkeys, Elephants and your money

I’m  still struggling to understand basic economics, but the New York Times had an op-ed chart today which was very revealing:

Since 1929, Republicans and Democrats have each controlled the presidency for nearly 40 years. So which party has been better for American pocketbooks and capitalism as a whole? Well, here’s an experiment: imagine that during these years you had to invest exclusively under either Democratic or Republican administrations. How would you have fared?

As of Friday, a $10,000 investment in the S.& P. stock market index* would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only, although that would be $51,211 if we exclude Herbert Hoover’s presidency during the Great Depression. Invested under Democratic presidents only, $10,000 would have grown to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9 percent over nearly 40 years.

See the graphics here.  The author, Tommy McCall, used to work for Money  Magazine. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/10/14/opinion/20081014_OPCHART.html

So who has the better economic ideas?  Can it just be an accident that the Democrats do better even forgetting about poor Herbert Hoover?  I somehow don’t think so.  I think this means that a vote for Barak Obama is a good idea.  I’m starting to look at quarterly statements and see retirement fading off into the distance.

On a totally personal note, I had the closest brush with fire this afternoon that I’ve ever had in my 60+ years.  The house next door – separated by a narrow grassy area and a tree – caught fire this afternoon.  I had been at a conference and after a late afternoon meeting was cancelled decided to just drive home and stay there taking a personal hour.  Suddenly the doorbells to the house starting ringing frantically.  It was a neighbor trying to find someone to call 911.  There were flames shooring out of the roof of the house next door.   We rounded up our four cats and put them in carriers.  I found our passports and then went out into the park across the street to watch.  I have to say the Boston Fire Department was pretty amazing.  They wet down our house, the house on the other side which was attached to the one on fire and put out the active fire.  It took a suprisingly long time as they had to tear the parts of the neighboring roof and attic area apart to find all the fire.  I think they considered this pretty minor and routine, but I certainly didn’t.  I couldn’t even count the fire trucks on our little one-way street – 7, I think.  So three families are temporarily homeless…  The whole thing was really, really scary.

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