Saturday, November 08, 2008

The rocky road ahead

The rocky road ahead

Nov 7th 2008

How Barack Obama's economic challenges compare with those faced by previous president-elects

ONLY twice since the 1920s has economic angst played such an important role in a presidential election—and both the previous occasions make imperfect templates. When Franklin Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover in 1932, the Depression had been going on for three years, thousands of banks had failed and unemployment was 25%. When Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980, inflation had been high for years, hovering at 12% as voters headed to the polls. By contrast, the crisis facing Barack Obama has been underway for just over year, with unemployment standing at 6.5% according to figures published on November 7th.