volveré y seré millones
To boot, sometimes when they go down it's because of something positive, like a huge strike saying a firm NO to retarded policies. But in any case, with Dubya, the poor performance had little to do with not encouraging financial extremism, because his administration pretty much opened the floodgates for it on a global level, until it exploded in everyone's face.
I wouldn't put much faith in stock market, because it's highly speculative in nature and not representative of real investors anymore.
Or how much they were absent in parts of society.
They also don't show how medical and other benefits have been reduced,
That's a key aspect of what I mentioned earlier about putting the money in the right place when you're going to generate or not go against inflation; the objective should be precisely to allow people to have money to participate in the economy and live half decently. With the way things are, the obstacle in the US seems to be that you have to humor the maws of monsters like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan before you can try to do that.
That last part is actually nothing new, as even before the crash many folks didn't get yearly inflation-adjusted raises, and you would need to switch jobs if wanted that (but these days it's perhaps more common to overlook that and be content you even have a job).
Incidentally, both parties are the caretakers of the huge government of a titanically bloated economy that spreads its tentacles all over the world. Could they be anything but "big government people"? It would probably be good for the world if the US split up into pieces or something, but try living in places that are politically fragmented and tell me if it's so pleasant.
The other thing is that even though they differ in the small details, both candidates are effectively the same when it comes to the bottom line: they're both in favor of big, bloated government.
The main and possibly only way to stop spending so much on the military is to spend more on your people, all your people, not just the banks, some industries and the needy, putting a greater weight on the economics of the US than in how it extends over other economies. I'd say this is something that China also needs, if they're to avoid depending on unreliable trade partners so much. It's to be seen how far they take that.
spend wantonly on social programs
To a point they are, but for one they always wanted to and have looked for ways to do so historically, but also, they can't really do it fully anytime in the near and not so distant future; it's a long process. Again, if your dollar is used by everybody, expect to be spending trillions on the military. Thus, that decline isn't necessarily a bad thing.
In the past, this was almost acceptable because it was possible to kick the can down the road in the form of increased deficits, but now we're at the point where other nations are beginning to seriously question the reserve currency nature of the USD.