The Best and Worst Presidents (According to the Stock Market)

Mount Rushmore features massive 60-foot-tall busts of celebrated presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, each chosen for their respective roles in preserving or expanding the Republic.

But if you were to make a Mount Rushmore for presidents based on stock market performance, none of these men would make the cut. There really was no stock market to speak of during the Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln administrations, and Teddy Roosevelt ranks as one of the worst-performing presidents of the past 130 years - at least as far as Wall Street is concerned.

Just for grins, let's consider what a "stock market Mount Rushmore" might look like. (Yes, a president's actions aren't the only thing that moves the stock market, but in many cases throughout history, the commander in chief's decisions over time significantly contributed to how equities performed.) While we're at it, we'll rank every president that we can realistically include based on the available data - and that data includes a few caveats below.*

The following is a ranking of every president since Benjamin Harrison (who, sneak preview, did not do very well) by stock market performance, in order from worst to best.

Herbert Hoover

Courtesy Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

President: March 4, 1929-March 4, 1933

Market Performance: -30.8% per year

Someone has to be in last place, and that particular shame belongs to Herbert Hoover. President Hoover occupies the bottom rung with a truly abysmal 77.1% cumulative loss and 30.8% annualized compound loss.

In case you need a history refresher, Hoover took office just months before the 1929 crash that ushered in the worst bear market in U.S. history.

That's rotten luck, but don't feel too sorry for Hoover. He played his part in bringing about the whole mess. More than a thousand economists signed a letter warning him not to sign the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law ... yet he did it anyway. This helped to turn what might have been a garden-variety recession into the Great Depression.

That's on you, Hoover.

George W. Bush

Courtesy Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

President: Jan. 20, 2001-Jan. 20, 2009

Market Performance: -5.6% per year

In second-to-last place is George W. Bush, with annualized losses of 5.6%. Poor Dubya had the misfortune of taking office just as the dot-com boom of the 1990s went bust and shortly before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks helped to push the economy deeper into recession. If that weren't bad enough, the

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