Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Disparity and Democrats, Parity and 'Publicans

Republicans are for the rich, Democrats are for the poor. Isn't that the putative conventional wisdom? I first stumbled across a challenge to that idea in Ann Coulter's partisan but interesting Slander. Instead, she claims the extremes (impoverished and very affluent) are Democratic strongholds, while the middle-class is a Republican bastion. After reading an article by the perspicacious genius, Steve Sailer, highlighting the stark differences between California and Utah in terms of educational attainment, running the whole country by state became irresistible.

It turns out Sailer was spot on, but Coulter's analysis is not so certain. Using 2004 Presidential election voter share data for Bush and Kerry by state and 2003 Census data, I looked at three potential factors and how they correlated with voter choice: Education (less than a high-school diploma, between high school diploma and just short of bachelor's degree, and bachelor's degree and beyond), income (median income as a percentage of mean income), and population density.

A quick refresher: The median is the middle number in a distribution. The mean is what we tend to think of as the "average" (although both are measures of averages). For example, in a town with five people who have incomes of $9, $15, $16, $18, and $100 the median income is $16 (the middle value) while the mean is (9+15+16+18+102)/5=$32. The large disparity between the median and the mean shows that income is spread out (median income is only 50% of mean income). If the distribution had been $20, $20, $20, $20, $20, then the median and mean would be the same ($20), and thus median income would be 100% of mean income. So as median income increases as a percentage of mean income, the more economically equitable the state becomes.

I found the greater the proportion of a state's population having at least a high school diploma but not a bachelor's degree or beyond, the more likely that state was to vote for Bush. And the correlation was pretty strong (a correlation of .65). Also, I found that the higher median income was as a percentage of mean income (parity), the greater chance a state was to go for Bush, although the correlation was a more modest .39. In the social sciences, a correlation of .2 is considered "low", .4 is "medium", and .6 is "high". Both were stastically significant (meaning the correlations were real and not the result of random chance). When both high-school but not bachelor's and median/mean income were regressed against Bush vote share, the correlation inched up to .70, although the P-value for median/mean income was .3 (meaning it was scarcely an underlying factor), while for education the P-value was zero. The more densely populated a state, the more likely it was to vote for Kerry, with a correlation of .67. Population density was also correlated (.63) with income and educational disparity. Put all three variables in against Bush votes, and the correlation shoots up to .77 with each variable statistically significant. However, median/mean income became negatively correlated to Bush's share of the vote. Pulling income out of the mix, the correlation dips a bit to .75.

Income is confounding--although income parity favors Republicans when looking at the nation as a whole, if the other variables are added in it appears detrimental to them. The best answer is that income disparity has little to do with how a state votes. Standing alone it correlated weakly (.39) for Bush; adding it to the other variables (education and population density) only raised the correlation .04 (albeit against Bush). It is related to both educational disparity and high population densities, and thus is basically a repitive measure that is not as effective a predictor as the other two.

To summarize (in English): educational inequality and people packed in like sardines are good for the Democratic party. Giving people their space and insuring they are intellectually on a level playing field is the ticket for Republicans. It validates a few images many hold: People in Montana going through high school and then staying in their sparsely populated communities or going off to a local community college. Few urban areas or family breakdown to facilitate high dropout rates, but not a slew of doctorate-level positions being offered either. Montana went for Bush 59%-39%. On the flip, take DC: Lots of high-earning professionals, lobbyists, politicians, etc out there living in their gated communities. And even more unskilled indigent street-wanderers taking your camera or asking for beer change. No room for a ride across the prairie, with a nation-high 9,316 people per square mile. DC went for Kerry 90%-9%.

Perhaps economic equity is a political motivation for No Child Left Behind? Maybe, but that hardly offsets the obvious self-immolation the Republican party is partaking in by allowing mass immigration of low-skilled immigrants with an average educational attainment equivalent to the 8th grade. Meanwhile, college graduation rates are hitting new record highs. The paper, however, is not going to Hispanics (from a 2003 US Census release):
Among races, Asians had the highest proportion of college graduates at 50 percent. About 30 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 17 percent of blacks had a
least a bachelor’s degree. In 1993, 24 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 12
percent of blacks were college graduates. Hispanics with high school diplomas
rose from 53 percent in 1993 to 57 percent. About 11 percent had bachelor’s
degrees, up from 9 percent.
The economy of the future is knowledge-based--the trend towards growing educational extremes is going to exacerbate the gap between those who can and those who cannot succeed. Even with a slew of soft degrees like ethnic studies, philosophy of history, sociology, women's studies, and anything else that mandates a vehement hatred of the male WASP but not quantative work, Hispanics are not going to move that number up much. And, of course, the country is becoming more crowded. Homogenuity is a Republican ally that is being thrown by the wayside. It looks pretty good for the Democrats. If you're starting to get that sinking feeling about Hillary in 2008 and then again in 2012... Email or write to Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo and encourage him to seek the GOP ticket in '08.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

It's not to die for

Might I shake your desire for palatable delights with a prediction? The use of animals as a source of sustenance is going to become anathema in developed nations by the end of the century. Only 2.5% of Americans are vegetarians, but between the ages of 18-29 the rate is 6%. Now is your chance to throw in with the trendsetters! At least hear Sebastian's story.

Example

How did this little critter get to his open-air resting place? He was shipped in from Eastern seaboard or possibly from a farm in Norway this morning inside a large baking dish to the refrigerator, blindfolded, bound, and contained in a brown paper bag for the day. When the evening rolled around, two scenarios may have played out. The first via steaming:
Place about 2 inches of salted water in a large kettle or pot and bring the water to a boil. Place the lobsters into the water, one at a time, and allow the water to boil once more. Begin your cooking time when the water
returns to a boil. Steam the lobsters for approximately 15 minutes for a 1 to 1¼-pound lobster or about 18 minutes for a 1½-pound or larger lobster.

It's not so bad--the creature expires immediately after contact with the boiling water. Their feeble bodies can not tolerate water beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Tossing them into the bubbling pool is like throwing a human into an active volcano. Of course, they change colors and twitch after hitting the water, but ignore that. For all intensive purposes they are already dead.

The second option allows these crustaceans to enjoy existence for a little longer:

Fill a large pot one-half to two-thirds full, allowing about 2½ quarts of water for each lobster to be cooked (water should cover the lobsters). Add 2 tablespoons of salt for each quart of water. Bring the water to a full boil over high heat. Place the live lobster head down until completely submerged. When the water returns to a boil, cook the lobsters for ten minutes for the first pound, and three minutes for each additional pound.

Lobsters and their amphibious friends, the frogs, apparently have quite a bit in common. Submerge them in a comfortable aquatic setting, make it increasingly cozy, and they won't even realize their proteins are breaking down and they are being boiled alive. Nothing in common with we humans, however--we would realize the peril posed by rising water temperatures and find dry land. Well, perhaps some mentally handicapped citizens, a la Terri Schiavo, wouldn't realize or be able to adequately react to the danger, but who wants to eat another human? That is barbaric!

Not sure if they have yet passed on? Just give the head a slight tug:

If the antennae remove easily, the lobsters are done.

After sufficiently steamed or boiled, it is time to dismember the carcass and begin feasting. A tip to keep in mind that I forgot to mention earlier concerning the storage of the succulent little guy:
Do not seal a live lobster in a plastic food container or in a plastic food storage bag because they need to breathe.
Got it? This animal is in our care and we must assure its survival!

Yes, I realize that lobsters are carnivores. If we were six inches tall and laying at the bottom of the sea, Sebastian would not hesitate to gobble us up. And natural selection infused us with the power of Nero. Why turn our back on it now (cholesterol aside)? Maybe there is no reason. Still, pondering whether it is necessary to annihilate an animal for food in a country where there is no economic necessity to do so is worth a little contemplation. The call is yours to make, emperor--give the thumbs up or thumbs down.

Friday, May 20, 2005

All good things must come to an end sometime, even for dmb

Stand Up, the Dave Matthews Band sixth major release in their decade-and-a-half of existence debuted at number one on Billboard's Top 200 among a lackluster cohort of new-releases (the most prominent being Weezer--yes, apparently the garage band that reminds one of regrettable junior-high days is extant still). But it's opening week performance was hardly stellar by comparison to the band's other releases, as the groupie site nancies.org explains:

It sold 465,000 copies in its first week, short of Busted Stuff's 622,000-strong debut in 2002, and way short of Everyday's sales of 733,000 in the week of its release in 2001.

It even underperformed Some Devil, Dave's 2002 solo release by a few thousand copies. What is the culprit? It only slightly outperformed Before These Crowded Streets debut, the album that really launched dmb into the front-and-center mainstream. Two prominent explanations come to mind. First, the record industry is in free-fall. Industry sales have dropped about 10% each year for the last three, a figure that understates actual unit declines, as CD prices have risen during the precipitous decline in inventory movement to cover the losses, even as complementary items have become dirt-cheap (CD-Rs, CD/DVD players, etc). File-sharing, digital downloads, a myriad of "artists" available via the internet from every corner of the globe, and a shift in cultural values, among other things, have certainly contributed to the industry's imbrolgio. Maybe MTV and the three-minute ditty was the beginning of the end. Dmb is not immune to that kind of systematic shift, but with its putative super-loyal fanbase it's hard to have imagined it would hit the band this hard. It doesn't appear to be an exhaustive explanation.

Unsystematic changes comprise the second set of factors; these are more open to debate. Certainly the band's recent music has become less idiosyncratic and the songs have decreased in both length and complexity. The albums seem to be made for radio--the best Crash and Under the Table and Dreaming songs are not the tracks that got the radio play (Too Much, So Much to Say, and Crash vs. Two Step, #41, and Lie in Our Graves, etc), but with Before These Crowded Streets that changed. Of course these are generalizations, but for the most part long-time fans would tend to agree. The "Dancing Nancies" and the "#41"s are a thing of the past. This shift has decreased the band's salience to unique sound-seekers looking for something less conforming.

Fans who followed the band early on have left their adolescent and college years behind and consequently listen to less music. No doubt Dave's political opining turned some people off as well. While the record industry, like the rest of the entertainment scene, is a bastion of liberal-progressive thought, people from all over the political spectrum like music. It wasn't scientific, but a nancies.org poll showed a sizable minority of visitors supported George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential election (unfortunately nancies.org restricts archival access to the webmasters, so a link is not possible). The South African came out against the operation in Iraq before it had even begun, leaving an impression of political subterfuge. Dave's flummoxing rhetoric in the notoriously anti-military magazine Rolling Stone didn't exactly contain inspirational prowess, but no doubt it did turn some people off:

We've got to get somebody new in the White House. Being from South Africa, I know how much the rest of the world fears the United States right now. It's like if the world is a room, and everybody is in there, and suddenly somebody walks in who is seething and has headphones on, and the music is playing really loud, and he's armed. That's the way the world sees us. Everyone is on tiptoes, afraid of what this country might do. It's bound to scare everybody.

Aside from "the world" apparently not including Japan, Taiwan, Israel, Mexico, Colombia, India, Australia, Great Britain, and Poland, his indictment of America for taking preemptive action (philosophically supported by most Americans) against two of the world's most ruthless regimes on moral grounds was too much. While the toppling of the Taliban and subsequent rebuilding have gone relatively well, Iraq is another story. Economically it has been just short of disastrous, the western intelligence agencies have been irreparably embarrassed, and American boys have paid the ultimate price. But for those who have seen Buried in the Sand: The Deception of America the parallels between the United States prior to the Iraq invasion and the UN's handling of the Rwanda situation (see Hotel Rwanda) are unavoidable: Iraqi civilian's tongues being torn out with pliers, bound men thrown off five-story buildings by the Ba'athist guard, children executed in front of their mothers, etc). Regardless of the odious motives of the two powers (see the seismic Oil-for-Food scandal that demonstrates a big-business hunger for profit that dwarfs Halliburton's price-gouging), it's hard to say that continued acquiescence would have been anything but turpitude of the worst order. Most of Dave's fans probably agreed with his assessment, but many did not. It was too vague an attack and did not offer solutions. Boyd Tinsley's criticism was more tempered and rational, and likely did no damage to the band's reputation.

The band's zenith came somewhere between Before These Crowded Streets and Everyday. Debuting at number one does not demonstrate a nadir, but it must be admitted that the apex has come and gone on account of various forces. Still, in the foreseeable future most shows should continue to sell out, and the band's unique sound has become a permanent part of American music's history.

Example

Saturday, May 14, 2005

What's the future of the Democratic Party?

They're down and out right now. The Presidency is still quite close, the Senate is within reach, and the House... well, Republicans have owned the House since Newt and company won it in 1994. Speaking of Gingrich, Senate minority leader Harry Reid (Nevada) and House minority leader Nancy Pilosi (Cali) are taking a page out of his playbook--firmly oppose everything the opposition brings down the pike. Check out the DNC website--the theme is resistance to and attack on Republican initiatives. Can such a strategy work for a party that prides itself on being progressive?

Getting people out to vote is an age-old strategy for the Democratic party. Since there are more Democrats than Republicans, the conventional wisdom goes, the more people that vote, the better our odds. Pray it doesn't rain, hope there isn't an early winter snowstorm in Ohio. While the adage is still technically true, it has nearly fallen within the margin of error according to a Harris Interactive poll. The gap between party affiliations has narrowed steadily over the last four decades:

1970s: 21% (Dem affiliation as % - Rep affiliation as %)
1980s: 11%
1990s: 7%
2000s: 5%

As of 2004, 31% of voters were self-considered Republicans, while 34% considered themselves to be Democrat. The gap continues to narrow. It's hardly a function of Republican affiliation, which has remained stagnant since Jimmy Carter. The culprit is a shrinking base of Democratic affiliates. Increasingly people consider themselves independent. A plausible explanation for this is the mushrooming of alternative media outlets and the numbing number of information sources available via cable news, radio, magazines, and most especially, the internet. And most of these new sources do not favor the Democratic party relative to how domination by the big three networks did. If they choose to be, people can become an order of magnitude more informed than they were just twenty years ago, and consequently they are less likely to align themselves with a party if they disagree with it on even a few issues (or just don't believe the party stands for what it claims to). (Businessweek has an interesting article on how this phenomenon is affecting marketing/advertising).

Interestingly, American ideology hasn't really changed over the same time period. In 2004, about twice as many people considered themselves conservatives (36%) as liberals (18%), with the majority considering themselves moderate (41%). Within literally a point or two, that has been the case for the last forty years, although classifying 300 million people into only three categories presents some problems. Fundamentally we are not changing much, beyond becoming dissatisfied with two parties that don't speak to us.

Does affiliation even matter? It's unlikely we're going to see a serious third-party emerge in the near future, so what counts is who we vote for. That is where things start looking good for the Democrats. The demographic trends are definitely in their favor: in the 2004 Presidential race Bush picked up the white vote, and Kerry cleaned up every other racial category (black, hispanic, asian, and "other")--a mirror of the 2000 Presidential vote.

Whites are not going over to the Democrats anytime soon. The growing share of minorities is going to intesify the burden of redistributive income and affirmative action on them. Mass-immigration from Mexico brings over a million new people a year into the US who have, on average, an eighth-grade education. Hispanic immigrant households have an average (median) income (as of 2003 census) of $33,000, considerably lower than $43,300, the average for all US citizens. And that $33,000 is for legal Hispanic immigrants--illegals make even less.

My point is not to bash Hispanics, most of whom come from decaying, corrupt countries that offer little opportunity to the US to try and make something of their lives. The average Mexican living in Mexico has an astounding low educational attainment equivalent only to the US fifth-grade. The ones who are coming here tend to be the cream of the crop, and most work very hard for relatively low wages. Certainly I would do the same if I were in their predicament.

Instead, my point is to show that the squeeze for whites is only going to get tighter. White households bring in $45,600. That means, on average, Hispanics are net liabilities in terms of taxes--they pay less in income taxes than their white counterparts for the same educational and medical services, road use, police force, etc. Those at the top (mostly white) have to pick up the tab, or let the deficit grow even larger (this is, in essence, what people are referring to when they admonish that in forty years the US will become "third-world"). As the numbers of Hispanics grow (and blacks as well, though Hispanics at a much faster pace), they will tug ever-harder on white pocketbooks (not to mention the cultural agitation that continues to mount), whites will look more and more to someone who offers some relief or at least less "hardship".

Much ado has been made about the strides Bush has made for the Republicans in growing Hispanic voters. Beyond the perplexing numbers that may overstate Bush's share of the Hispanic vote in 2004, the exit polls still showed him picking up 12% less of the Hispanic vote than Kerry--and that's during an election cycle when same-sex marriage was a big deal, something Hispanics stridently oppose (much more than whites). The Republican party is self-immolating by not restricting mass-immigration, even if Bush did make marginal gains in 2004. This is good news for Democrats, who acquiesce to large-scale immigration (see a few notable exceptions in Hillary Clinton and Cali Senator Diane Feinstein).

If the Democratic party ever lost the black vote, it would be in dire peril. It is the most lopsided demographic segment, voting nine-to-one in favor of Kerry last November. Yet blacks are, on average, socially moderate to conservative (fitting into Pew's conservative democrat and disadvantaged democrat categories). Same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and late-term abortion are opposed by most blacks. And the surge in unskilled Hispanic immigrants means more competition for jobs at lower wages for many blacks. Still, bread-and-butter Democrat items like support for affirmative action and a progressive tax system make it improbable that blacks are going to vote Republican anytime soon.

The Californication (the ultimate blue state!) of the US also bodes well for the Democrats (from Steve Sailer):

The Golden State is now one of only three states with above average percentages both of people who never got past elementary school and of holders of graduate degrees. (The other two are New Mexico and Rhode Island.) In California, 10.7 percent of grownups have no more than elementary schooling, compared to only 6.4 percent in the other 49 states.
Of all the states in the Union, California now has the lowest percentage of its population with a midlevel education consisting of at least a high school diploma or some college, but not a bachelor's degree from a four-year college.

According to 2003 Census data, only 80.2% of California's population had at least a high school diploma (or equivalent). 29.1% of Cali residents had a bachelor's degree or more. Utah, on the other hand, is educationally less diverse: 90.0% had at least a high school diploma in 2003, but only 26.2% reached a bachelor's or beyond. It was Bush's best state, going for him 72% to Kerry's 26%. Looking at another pair of dark blue vs dark red: New York registers 83.2% with at least a high school diploma and 29.7% at a bachelor's and beyond. Montana is thus: 90.5% at least high school, 25.8% bachelor's or more.

Think about that for a second. It shows that in states where there are large uneducated and well-educated populations (and consequently lower numbers of those inbetween), there is a propensity to vote Democrat. Any ideas why that is the case? (These numbers are fascinating--I'm going to run them all soon to find if a statistically significant correlation between educational parity and voting Republican exists, as I presume it does based on looking at a few states).

Egalitarianism serves the Republican party well; inegalitarian states tend to vote Democrat. The income gap is growing slightly, but the wealth gap is widening more pungently. It's not apocalyptic though--the rich are getting richer without the poor getting poorer. But materialism is usually judged on a relative scale, ignoring the fact that wealth creation is not a zero-sum game. The gains realized from technological innovation are utilized by the most industrious, perspicacious entities who are generally already wealthy. Meanwhile, unskilled menial labor is becoming less necessary even as its supply is growing. This trend definitely favors the Democrats.

The biggest hurdle for the party is going to be reconciling working-class Democrats with the increasingly progressive social platform of the Democratic party, exemplified in DNC chairman Howard Dean. But the demographic changes almost exclusively favor the Democrats, and the Republican party could rupture in 2008 over immigration. They're at a low point now, but in spite of themselves, the party will probably regain control in the next decade.



Thursday, May 12, 2005

Who are we politically? Pew gives us an answer

The Pew Research Center has an interesting analysis on US political typology. The overarching theme is familiar to anyone who even moderately follows politics--the two parties cannot come close to representing most Americans. In the Republican Party, unfettered illegal immigration, to the official tune of one-million new illegals per year (and likely much more than that) is brought to mind. On the Democratic side, social values split the Deans and the Liebermans.

Pew categorizes Americans into nine categories: three on the left, three in the middle, and three on the right. It's not completely satisfying--most notably absent is a category representing Libertarians, who are often classifed on both the left and the right. But for attempting to desribe 300 million people in only nine ways, they do okay. It provides an interesting, though incomplete, template for predicting the future of the two parties. I tried to cut to the pith and relate each category to something concrete.

On the right, the three categories are enterprisers, social conservatives, and pro-government conservatives. Enterprisers are the full-blooded capitalists who love America's entrepreneurial ethos and city-on-the-hill image. Seeing the US as a great country, they support an aggressive foreign policy that simultaneously helps America and betters those we come in contact with. The redistribution income and government obstacles to business are their greatest political concerns. While generally affluent white Christians, they are not particularly religious or overly concerned with social issues. Bush's pledge not to raise income tax rates is red meat to these guys. Think Rush Limbaugh.

Social Conservatives are those condescendingly referred to by the mainstream media as the "religious right". Issues crucial to them are things like abortion, the preservation of American heritage, the nuclear family structure, and immigration. Piously religious, they are most heavily concentrated in the South. While generally free-market oriented, they are skeptical of big business and favor more governmental regulation than do the enterprisers. Contrary to public opinion, they are often concerned with environmental issues and outsourcing. Bush's strong evangelism is a real plus to this crowd. Michael Savage is a spot on example (minus the irascibility!)

Pro-Government Conservatives are the often-overlooked group of Republican voters who are the subject of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? They are the poorest of those on the right, and favor government-provided protection and assistance to the disadvantaged. However, they are socially very conservative, especially on right-to-life issues. What pedantics from the Marxist school of thought (like Frank) fail to realize is that some people who struggle financially still put morality before their pocketbook. While Roe v Wade may never be overturned, the Hyde Amendment is very much in play (it deals with federally-funded abortions, which are currently restricted to health issues and incest/rape). It's tough to put a celeb here, because I'm not aware of any poor ones, but Bill O'Reilly's concern for "the folks" comes pretty close.

On to the left; liberals, conservative democrats, and disadvantaged democrats. Liberals are at Harvard Law School or enjoying the metropolitan atmosphere of New York City and San Francisco. They are well-educated, super-secularist whites who oppose most military intervention and harsh law enforcement while supporting progressive taxes, government subsidies to the poor, and government regulations (especially environmental ones) on business. Same-sex marriage is a cause they champion. They generally see America as a dangerous country that needs to be restrained. Michael Moore is their poster boy.

Conservative Democrats are the party's old guarde. These are the working-class union types who are socially moderate to socially conservative. They tend to be pretty religious and patriotic. Outsourcing is a huge concern, as are falling wages, burgeoning supply and declining demand for labor, and free-trade agreements like CAFTA. They are generally older and racially diverse yet immigration is causing them increasing tension due to the rapid growth in Hispanic employment while less-skilled job growth for other races remains stagnant. Lou Dobbs comes to mind.

Disadvantaged Democrats round out the left. They are the uneducated underclass with little prospect for the future. Skeptical of both government and business, they congregate in urban areas and suffer numerous social pathologies. This group is disproportionately African American. Distrustful as they may be of Uncle Sam, they support large amounts of government assistance to ameliorate their problems. Social issues are not high on their list of concerns. Unlike pro-government conservatives, they understandably consistently vote for their pocketbook. Not sure who characterizes them--maybe Al Sharpton?

In the middle, we find upbeats, disaffecteds, and bystanders. Upbeats are optimistic about their personal future and the future of the US. They are well-educated, financially secure, and keep abreast of current events. However, they do not possess a strong ideological bend and identify more with individual politicians than a political party.

Disaffecteds are similar to upbeats in their lack of allegiance to the left or the right, but unlike their counterparts they tend to be less-educated, financially shaky, and generally pessimistic about the future. The government irks them, as do most groups that interfere with their lives.

Bystanders don't know that "left" and "right" are political terms. They don't go much further than Entertainment Tonight to keep up with current events, and almost never vote... unless it's for the next American Idol.

So there we have it. Where do you fit in? If you're not sure, try letting Pew help you out by clicking here. Did it accurately describe you, or did it miss the mark? A look at these categories provides a nice seque into looking at the future of the Republican and Democratic parties, which is next on the slate.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mr Drum, we can all play with meaningless numbers

The Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum claims Democratic Presidents have a record of stronger economic growth than do Republican Presidents. Besides a sample size much too low to come anywhere near approaching statistical significance, it fails to take into account other factors like military campaigns, technological innovation, and that 800-pound gorilla--the US Senate.

The Senate has more clout in controlling legislation than does the President. Even Drum would not deny that. We know where this is going--since 1968, (I will look at data going all the way back to the 40s in the near future) using data from the US Census, we find that when the US Senate is controlled by Republicans, economic growth per capita is 34% greater than under a Democratically-controlled Senate.

(Red shows years that the Senate was controlled by Republicans, Blue shows years of Democratic control)

Year AvgInc. Change over last
2003 23276 -0.17156%
2002 23316 -1.81083%
2001 23746 -0.51948%

2000 23870 1.81710%
1999 23444 3.38684%
1998 22676 3.11491%
1997 21991 3.87322%
1996 21171 2.52797%
1995 20649 1.58910%

1994 20326 2.77076%
1993 19778 3.67458%
1992 19077 -0.90900%
1991 19252 -1.95060%
1990 19635 -2.49292%
1989 20137 2.69788%
1988 19608 2.18887%
1987 19188 2.68101%
1986 18687 4.06527%
1985 17957 3.18929%
1984 17402 4.61076%
1983 16635 1.50720%
1982 16388 0.03052%
1981 16383 -0.49803%

1980 16465 -2.16875%
1979 16830 1.50784%
1978 16580 6.98155%
1977 15498 3.16869%
1976 15022 3.46443%
1975 14519 0.10342%
1974 14504 -2.33654%
1973 14851 3.39762%
1972 14363 7.01088%
1971 13422 2.97683%
1970 13034 0.79654%
1969 12931 5.51612%

(All income stated in 2003 dollars)

There's the data, and here's the verdict (stated in average annual per capita income growth between 1968-2003):

Reps avg Dems avg
2.23405% 1.67040%

This is just a first briefing. I will expound on it in the near future. The abstract is thus: stats claiming ceteris paribus when dealing with something as enormous as the Presidency of the United States, especially when lacking tremendously in sample size, are dubious at best and should be taken with a grain of salt. Don't buy Drum, and don't buy me.