April 9, 2011. You can’t blame Bush for jobs lost in the first few months of his presidency, before he could pass a budget or affect the economy. The same thing holds true of all other presidents. So it’s best to judge a president by his budget years.(1) Yes, the House initiates the budget bill. But first the President sends his budget request, then he exercises a lot of political influence, and finally he has veto power. In the end budgets come out remarkably close to what Presidents request — usually within a few percent. Under Reagan and Bush senior it was within 2.5% every year. These start on October 1st. The graph below shows the result for budget years.
The Obama stimulus package was completely out of the ordinary and started to take effect before October 1st, which means he helped slow job losses during the last six months of Bush’s final budget year. But to be consistent, I’m giving Bush credit for that reduction in job losses—until October 1st.
Never, since the Great Depression, has the US economy suffered such a loss of jobs. But it’s not the 2 million jobs lost during the Bush years that has hurt so many, it’s the fact that 9 million new jobs were needed just to keep up with the growth of the workforce. During Obama’s budget years, from Sept. 2009 — March. 2012, the economy added 3.1 million jobs.