The Misery Index was a political gimmick. While Jimmy Carter was campaigning against Gerald Ford he added the unemployment rate and the rate of inflation to create, what he called, the Misery Index. Carter must have thought of himself as being pretty clever because it helped him win the election. Too clever by half, Reagan used it after it spiked on Carter's watch. It is now approaching a 28 year high and almost double what it was when Obama took office.