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Here’s What the American Dream Has Looked Like Under 9 Different Presidents

A work by Andy Warhol titled, Vote McGovern 1972

A work by Andy Warhol titled, Vote McGovern 1972 A work by Andy Warhol titled, Vote McGovern 1972 | Carl Court/Getty Images

“Thanks, Obama” has become one of the most popular catchphrases used to critique the job done by our former commander in chief. Although it was (and still is) used as a snarky way of pointing out former President Barack Obama’s failures, it’s also been embraced by Obama himself to some degree. It’s become a joke of sorts, and given the current level of uncertainty with our new administration, somehow it becomes funnier every day.

Although our presidents do ultimately get the praise or blame for the state of the country, economic or otherwise, it’s debatable to what degree they deserve it. Sure, they’ll end up taking the heat for failed policy measures, such as foreign policy mishaps leading to wars. Or, conversely, they’ll receive praise for a clear (if not underwhelming) economic recovery from a deep recession.

But what about on a more personal, individual level? Can you blame the person in the Oval Office for your financial struggles, employment situation, or even housing costs? To some degree, you could probably make a cogent argument.

A new report from cost information website HowMuch breaks down the effect each president since Richard Nixon has had on income and real estate prices. In other words, did any of our presidents effectively kill the American dream of homeownership.

The report looks at the “median price for a single-family home in the inaugural year of each of the nine most recent U.S. presidents and compares it to the median annual family income at those times. Both prices and wages are adjusted for inflation, i.e. expressed in 2016 dollars.” According to HowMuch, data come from the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census.

Here are the raw numbers for the nine recent presidents, starting with Nixon in 1969. Which President is your favorite?

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