When considering what the dismal economic facts and realities of today mean for liberal economic policies and liberal thinking in general, one criticism I have encountered is a lack of consideration of the economic context in which those policies were enacted. Certainly, consideration of context is important for good public policy.
In this case, it turns out that if you take that context into account, it doesn’t change the basic conclusion: Liberal economic policies are depriving low- and middle-income families of job opportunities that the economy should otherwise be producing.
A recently published editorial on the website of Investor’s Business Daily provided economic context for the liberal federal economic policies of today by looking at how the current economic recovery compares with previous recoveries. In other words, setting aside the recession, which the policies of the current federal administration had nothing to do with, how does the economic recovery of the last three years – all of which have occurred under the current administration – compare with what we should expect, based on past recoveries? The answer: terrible.
The evidence? The current recovery has “produced the worst rate of economic growth of any recovery in the past 65 years,” according to the Investor’s Business Daily editorial. Ten recoveries have occurred over that time span, under both Democratic presidents (Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter) and Republican presidents (Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II). Arguably, the economic policies of these past administrations have been more conservative/less liberal than those of the current administration. None have produced more dismal results.
In fact, the inflation-adjusted rate of growth in the economy in the current “recovery” has not only been the lowest, it has actually gone down since the “recovery” began (from 2.2 percent per year in 2009-2010 to an annualized rate of 1.5 percent today). The proportion of employed Americans has similarly decreased since the “recovery” began in mid-2009 (from 59.4 percent in June 2009 to 58.4 percent today).
Of course, this evidence is not the final word, nor is it meant to be – this is a blog post, not a comprehensive and rigorous analysis of current administration economic policy. However, the economic context of the liberal policies currently in place seems to support what the sad facts suggest: Liberal policies chain low- and middle-income families to the bottom rung of the economic ladder by preventing jobs from being created.