John Kerry for President, Inc.  Flash Ad  "Bush's Middle Class Squeeze"  April 13, 2004

On April 12, 2004 the Kerry campaign introduced what it called a "Middle-Class Misery Index" combining seven different indicators: median family income, college tuition, health costs, gasoline costs, bankruptcies, the homeownership rate and private-sector job growth.  This index, set at 100 for 1976, rose 6 points under Carter, dropped 5 points under Reagan, dropped 12 points under Bush I, gained 23 points under Clinton, and has lost 13 points under Bush II.

The Republican National Committee responded with its own index, the "Index De Le Miserables (IDM)."  According to press release, "The IDM is calculated based on four factors including proposed spending beyond current budget proposals; tax increases necessary to pay for spending increases; announced tax increases; and number of additional days Americans will have to work before they are working for themselves."  The RNC provided further background:

What is the origin of the IDM?

Kerry campaign made up a misery index so we did too.

How did you create the IDM?

Same way the Kerry campaign did.

Are you aware that since its inception over 20 years ago the ‘Misery Index’ has been defined as a combination of unemployment + inflation?


Is it strictly coincidence that the Kerry IDM is the same as the 1980 Carter MI of 20.46?