Since the Obama recovery began in the second quarter of 2009, public and private projections of economic growth have consistently overestimated actual performance. Six years later, projections of prosperity being just around the corner have given way to a debate over whether the U.S. has fallen into “secular stagnation,” a fancy phrase for the chronic low growth seen in much of Europe.
How bad is the Obama recovery? Compared with the average postwar recovery, the economy in the past six years has created 12.1 million fewer jobs and $6,175 less income on average for every man, woman and child in the country. Had this recovery been as strong as previous postwar recoveries, some 1.6 million more Americans would have been lifted out of poverty and middle-income families would have a stunning $11,629 more annual income. At the present rate of growth in per capita GDP, it will take another 31 years for this recovery to match the per capita income growth already achieved at this point in previous postwar recoveries.
When the recession ended, the Federal Reserve projected future real GDP growth would average between 3.8% and 5% in 2011-14. Based on America’s past economic resilience, these projections were well within the norm for a postwar recovery. Even though the economy never came close to those projections in 2011-13, the Fed continued to predict a strong recovery, projecting a 2014 growth rate in excess of 4%. Yet the economy underperformed for the sixth year in a row, growing at only 2.4%.
What’s that all about? Is the economy racist? Why do these things always happen to Obama?
[W]e know that the Obama program represents the most dramatic change in U.S. economic policy in over three-quarters of a century. We also know from the experience of our individual states and the historic performance of other nations that policy choices have profound effects on economic outcomes.
The literature on economic development shows that U.S. states and nations tend to prosper when tax rates are low, regulatory burden is restrained by the rule of law, government debt is limited, labor markets are flexible and capital markets are dominated by private decision making. While many other factors are important, economists generally agree on these fundamental conditions.
As measured by virtually every economic policy known historically to promote growth, the structure of the U.S. economy is less conducive to growth today than it was when Mr. Obama became president in 2009.
I’m going to stop here, because I get tired of arguing with a post. A big-eared post that plays too much golf and has an over-inflated opinion of itself.
Obama says the recession was worse than he thought, yet it was over before the echoes of his oath of office had died away. He has shepherded a recovery of rare duration—six years!—but of unprecedented weakness. To paraphrase and contradict Elizabeth Warren (and himself), he totally built that.
Despite the largest fiscal stimulus program in history and the most expansive monetary policy in more than 150 years, the U.S. economy is underperforming today because we have bad economic policies. America succeeded in the Reagan and post-Reagan era because of good economic policies. Economic policies have consequences.
With better economic policies America was like the fabled farmer with the goose that laid golden eggs. He kept the pond clean and full, he erected a nice coop, threw out corn for the goose and every day the goose laid a golden egg. Mr. Obama has drained the pond, burned down the coop and let the dogs loose to chase the goose around the barnyard. Now that the goose has stopped laying golden eggs, the administration’s apologists—arguing that we are now in “secular stagnation”—add insult to injury by suggesting that something is wrong with the goose.
And Michelle refuses to have goose served for school lunch, preferring instead tofu croquettes and cauliflower spears. Which the children save to throw at each other during Gay Sex Among Indigenous Peoples class.