Data Sources for “Stuck on Stupid”

We have assembled a lot of economic and political data for the years of the Great Depression from 1929 to 1939 and we want you to know where we got it.

Here’s the “ticker” that we run at the top of each year. Following the ticker we’ll break the data down and give links to the source of each item of data


 1939  Economy Revives

gdp
billion
change
deflator
m2
billion
change
dow
open
close
change
-3.08%↓
fed
spend
billion
fed
def
% gdp
top
tax
rate
cpi
change
job
less
rate

 click data for charts

President: Roosevelt (D); Senate: Barkley (D-KY); House: Bankhead (D-AL).

us
senate
dem
rep
other
us
house
dem
rep
other

 sources

Gross Domestic Product in the United States
from 1902 to present

gdp
billion
$92.2
change
810%
deflator
-110%

 data download

The Office of Management and Budget publishes Gross Domestic Product Data from 1930 to present.

GDP: Budget of the United States GovernmentTable 1.2 -- Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-) as Percentages of GDP: 1930 - 2012

Economic History Series maintains Gross Domestic Product Data from 1790 to present.

GDP: Economic History Series: What Was the GDP Then?

The United States Bureau of Economic Analysis maintains Gross Domestic Product Data from 1929 to present

GDP: Bureau of Economic Analysis: National Economic Accounts

GDP Data and Deflator - 1929 to present: Current Dollar and "Real" GDP (xls)

GDP Change - 1929 to present: Percent Change from Preceding Period (xls)


Money Supply in the United States
from 1867 to 1970

m2
billion
$49.27
change
826%

 data download

M2 Money Supply:
The US Census Bureau maintains a time series, X-415: Money Stock,
from 1867 to 1970.
Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970, Part 2
X. Financial Markets and Institutions: Series X-415; p.992 (pdf)

Also, St.Louis Federal Reserve Bank maintains a monthly M2 time series from 1959 to present.
M2 Money Stock (M2SL)


Dow Jones Industrials Data

dow
open
154.76
close
149.99
change
-3.08%↓

 data download

Dow Jones Industrials: Yahoo Finance Daily Prices

Prices shown are the opening price for the first business day of the year and the closing price for the last business day of the year.


Federal Spending in the United States
from 1900 to 2003

fed
spend
billion
$9.1
fed
def
% gdp
3.47%

 data download

Federal Spending:
The US Census Bureau has this table of federal spending from 1900 to 2003.
Table No. HS--47. Federal Government -- Receipts and Outlays: 1900 to 2003 (xls)

It seems to be an orphaned table. The current Census Bureau page on federal spending only goes back to 1960.


Top Income Tax Rate in the United States
from 1913 to 1970

top
tax
rate
79%

 data download

Top Marginal Rate in Federal Income Tax:
Historical federal income tax rates since 1913 are given in Statistical Abstracts of the United States: From the Colonial Era to 1970.
Chapter Y: Government, p.1095


Consumer Price Index in the United States
from 1800 to 1970

cpi
change
-142%

 data download

Consumer Price Index:
The US Census Bureau maintains a time series, E-135: Consumer Price Indexes (all items) from 1800 to 1970.
Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970, Part 1
E. Prices and Price Indexes: Series E-135; p.211 (pdf)


Unemployment Rate in the United States
from 1900 to 1998

job
less
rate
17.2%

 data download

Federal Unemployment Rate:
This early unemployment data comes from a website that claims to get its information from Out of Work, Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America by Richard K. Vedder and Lowell E. Gallaway [Holmes & Meier, 1993]
Historical Statistics and Analysis on Unemployment, Poverty, Urbanization, etc., in the United States


Party Strength in United States Congress
from 1789 to present

us
senate
dem
69
rep
23
other
4
us
house
dem
262
rep
169
other
4

United States Senate Election Results from Wikipedia:
U.S. Senate Elections

United States House of Representatives Election Results from Wikipedia:
U.S. House Elections



Why Stuck on Stupid?

Seventy years ago the leaders of both US political parties turned away from the policies that had created an economic powerhouse we call the Roaring Twenties. For ten long years Americans suffered through wrenching economic dislocations: deflation, inflation, a four-year economic contraction, endless unemployment, mindless political experiments, and ruthless attacks on businessmen for political gain as their leaders stayed Stuck on Stupid.

Today, after a twenty-five year economic boom, Americans are once more faced with a political elite that wants to monkey with success. It wants to raise tax rates. It wants to restrict trade. It wants to increase government power.

It‘s time to look back and remind ourselves how it came to be, starting in 1929, that America got itself Stuck on Stupid. Otherwise it could happen again.

1929-1939: “A Decade that will live — in stupidity.”