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Republican or Democratic President? Which Is Better for Your Pocketbook?

Are you financially better off when the president is a Republican or Democrat?

According to a new book, Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box: How the Performance of Our Presidents Has Impacted Your Wallet, the answer is not what is widely believed.

In an analysis spanning 80 years and 13 presidents—from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush—authors Lew Goldfarb and Bob Deitrick show, in their words,

the GOP theory of Republican economic dominance is no more than a myth. Period.

In other words, Democratic presidents have the best financial track record for our nation.

Let’s say you had $100,000 in a 401(k) account in 1993, at the beginning of President Clinton’s eight years in office, and had withdrawn it in 2001 when he left. You would have amassed $341,894. If you invested the same amount in 2001, when President George W. Bush took office, and withdrawn it eight years later, you actually would have lost money, holding only $64,990…a difference of $277,000 between the two presidential terms.

Republican and Democratic presidents each served 40 years in the period the authors examined. (They excluded President Obama’s term because he hasn’t completed it). As part of their analyses, Goldfarb and Deitrick developed a ranking system they call the Presidential Rules for Economic Success (PRES Rules), which they describe as the:

qualitative or subjective component to our book. We thread the PRES rules through each chapter and site examples where a President did or did not adhere to the PRES rules. The more successful Presidents in our study in the PRES Rankings, did adhere to the PRES rules as well…more often than not.

Topping the list for boosting the nation’s finances under this ranking are John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson—combined because Kennedy did not finish his term. Second place is a tie between Franklin Roosevelt and Bill Clinton. The highest-ranking Republican is Dwight Eisenhower, who created the national (read: federal government-funded) interstate system, Goldfarb said. The lowest of all: Hoover.

The two authors, who have 52 years of combined experience in the professions of law and wealth management, say that despite the social issues that often cloud presidential and down ballot races,

We believe that readers need to understand that whom they decide to vote for is very important to their personal bottom line, to their net worth and to their retirement and children’s education. We believe that Americans should consider voting for the economic wallet, for their IRA, their 401(k), their 403(b) plan and their kids' 529 plan as well.

They also chide the Democrats for not better conveying the extent to which their party has bolstered the nation’s economy.

Check out Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box here. The site has an interactive slide screen you can click on to find out the ranking of each president in the analysis.