Gas, Murder, and Employment

“Rape, murder, it’s just a shot away. It’s just a shot away.” — Mick Jagger

There are obviously four big things where conservatives love to attack those on the left. I’m not even going to parse the labels between liberals, leftists, and progressives. We will consider them the same thing for now and allow anyone and everyone to declare themselves. This the anti-Biden thing. Brandon has ruined everything. We have to pay more for gas, we have to pay more for other stuff. Godless heathens are murdering people in the streets of our liberal cities. You get the idea.

One of the things we have to remember about presidential politics is that elections happen on even years, but the terms begin the next year. Plus, there is a credible argument to be made that presidents have to wait for their policies to take effect. So, the first year of a presidency is really the last year of the previous presidency. We will go back to 2001 and the George W. Bush era and compare our last three presidents in terms of murder rate, unemployment rate, GDP growth, inflation rate, and the price of gas in 2022 dollars. We will separate the first year of a presidency and then average the last seven years (or three in Trump’s case).

Gas Prices

George W. Bush 2001– 2.39

George W. Bush 2002-2008– 3.29

Barack Obama 2009– 3.79

Barack Obama 2010-2016– 3.84

Donald Trump 2017– 2.86

Donald Trump 2018-2020– 2.84

So, if we were to grade these presidents just on the price of gas then Trump does end up looking good. We would have to acknowledge that he was put into a far better position to start than Barack Obama was, but still we saw a net decrease in the price of gas. So, one point for Trump.


George W. Bush 2001– 5.7%

George W. Bush 2002-2008– 5.5%

Barack Obama 2009– 9.9%

Barack Obama 2010-2016: 6.8%

Donald Trump 2017– 4.1%

Donald Trump 2018-2020– 4.7%

Anyone that touts Trump’s record here is not really giving Obama credit for putting him in a good place. It should be noted that price of gas was going down at the end of the Obama presidency and the unemployment rate was also going down. The opposite was true at the end of the Bush years.

GDP Growth

George W. Bush 2001– +1.0

George W. Bush 2002-2008– +2.4

Barack Obama 2009– -2.6

Barack Obama 2010-2016– +2.1

Donald Trump 2017– 2.3

Donald Trump 2018-2020– +0.6

Yes, GDP reduction in 2020 was an obvious negative effect of the pandemic. Yes, Trump’s incompetence exacerbated the pandemic. We will never know what a competent handling of the pandemic would have made America look like. We can guess based on the two almost pandemics that the Obama administration dealt with. By the way, that is not a typo for Obama in 2009. He inherited a negative GDP situation. Let me know when you start to decipher a pattern.


George W. Bush 2001– 1.6%

George W. Bush 2002-2008– 2.5%

Barack Obama 2009– 2.7%

Barack Obama 2010-2016– 1.6%

Donald Trump 2017– 2.1%

Donald Trump 2018-2020– 1.9%

This looks good for Trump until we notice what he saddled Biden with. The inflation rate for 2021 is 7.0 percent. That’s brutal as we haven’t seen anything close to that since the staglation days of the 1970s. As per usual, Bush leaves Obama in a bad situation and Obama leaves Trump in a relatively good situation. As you might predict, suddenly the rules of giving presidents time to put their own stamp on the economy will disappear and the inflation will be Brandon’s problem. It’s utterly predictable.

Murders per 100,000

George W. Bush 2001– 6.69

George W. Bush 2002-2008– 5.64

Barack Obama 2009– 5.03

Barack Obama 2010-2016– 4.79

Donald Trump 2017– 5.32

Donald Trump 2018-2020– 6.25

Here’s the thing. We can easily come up with all kinds of excuses as to why this happened. Numbers are numbers after all. Statistics don’t really lie but we can misinterpret them. Maybe there is nothing a president can do to impact the crime rate. However, these numbers have to sit in the backdrop of a president that told us about American carnage all the while that murders were at an over 30 year low as recently as 2014. Under Trump they reached their highest point since 1997. Keep in mind, he was the only one that could fix it. He would make us safe.

Again, numbers are numbers and we have to be careful in how we interpret them. However, if one were to just look at them with no context they would see that Republicans regularly saddle Democrats with shaky economies, unsafe communities, with inflation, and high gas prices. Democrats improve the situation and leave their Republican colleagues with a better situation than they found.

Naturally, this becomes important when we consider 2022 and 2024. Everyone blames Brandon for the inflation. Everyone blames Brandon for the high gas prices. Everyone blames Brandon for the “high crime rate” that we currently have. He is just too soft. He is too ineffectual. He is just in over his head. We need a strong leader that can get things done. Well, the facts are in. I don’t know if we can take much more of that winning.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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