The Return of the Misery Index

And indeed, people do seem kind of miserable right now.

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The Wonk Room blog from the liberal Center for American Progress happily tosses out this little factoid:

By one measure—the "Misery Index" made famous by Jimmy Carter—the economy is in its worst shape since mid-1991. The Misery Index is simply the combination of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate. It reached 11.3 percent in July. While still well below its heights in the 1970s and early 1980s, the Misery Index is now at its highest level since the first George Bush was president according to data from www.miseryindex.us.

FYI: The MI's low point in the past 40 years was 6.05 percent in 1998. The highest point ever was 20.76 percent in 1980. And what did we do after that horrific year? Cut taxes, continued to cut regulation, eviscerated inflation with tight money and progrowth economics. Not a bad formula. Check out a history of the Misery Index below:

The US Misery Index - 1948 to 2007

Misery Index = Unemployment rate + Inflation rate

1948 11.49
3.75
7.74
Truman
1949 5.10
6.05
-0.95
 
1950 6.30
5.21
1.09
 
1951 11.16
3.28
7.88
 
1952 5.32
3.03
2.29
 
1953 3.74
2.92
0.82
Eisenhower
1954 5.91
5.59
0.32
 
1955 4.09
4.37
-0.28
 
1956 5.64
4.12
1.52
 
1957 7.64
4.3
3.34
 
1958 9.57
6.84
2.73
 
1959 6.46
5.45
1.01
 
1960 7.00
5.54
1.46
 
1961 7.76
6.69
1.07
Kennedy
1962 6.77
5.57
1.2
 
1963 6.88
5.64
1.24
Johnson
1964 6.44
5.16
1.28
 
1965 6.10
4.51
1.59
 
1966 6.80
3.79
3.01
 
1967 6.62
3.84
2.78
 
1968 7.83
3.56
4.27
 
1969 8.95
3.49
5.46
Nixon
1970 10.82
4.98
5.84
 
1971 10.25
5.95
4.3
 
1972 8.87
5.6
3.27
 
1973 11.02
4.86
6.16
 
1974 16.67
5.64
11.03
Ford
1975 17.68
8.48
9.2
 
1976 13.45
7.7
5.75
 
1977 13.55
7.05
6.5
Carter
1978 13.69
6.07
7.62
 
1979 17.07
5.85
11.22
 
1980 20.76
7.18
13.58
 
1981 17.97
7.62
10.35
Reagan
1982 15.87
9.71
6.16
 
1983 12.82
9.6
3.22
 
1984 11.81
7.51
4.3
 
1985 10.74
7.19
3.55
 
1986 8.91
7
1.91
 
1987 9.84
6.18
3.66
 
1988 9.57
5.49
4.08
 
1989 10.09
5.26
4.83
Bush, G.H.W.
1990 11.01
5.62
5.39
 
1991 11.10
6.85
4.25
 
1992 10.52
7.49
3.03
 
1993 9.87
6.91
2.96
Clinton
1994 8.71
6.1
2.61
 
1995 8.40
5.59
2.81
 
1996 8.34
5.41
2.93
 
1997 7.28
4.94
2.34
 
1998 6.05
4.5
1.55
 
1999 6.41
4.22
2.19
 
2000 7.35
3.97
3.38
 
2001 7.59
4.76
2.83
Bush, G.W.
2002 7.37
5.78
1.59
 
2003 8.26
5.99
2.27
 
2004 8.21
5.525
2.68
 
2005 8.48
5.08333333333333
3.39166666666667
 
2006 7.87
4.63333333333333
3.23666666666667
 
2007 7.46
4.60833333333333
2.85416666666667
 
 

Note: The blue part of the bar represents the Unemployment Rate and the red part represents the Inflation Rate.