The Corner

Ronald Reagan, President from 1973 to 1990?

Paul Krugman (H/T John McCormack’s twitter feed):

The Corrosion of the Conservative Economic Mind

First Michael Boskin, now John Taylor: there seems be an epidemic of politically conservative economists who used to be technically competent repeating the obviously wrong falsehood that Reagan ushered in an era of “unprecedented” growth.

No matter what measure you use, it just ain’t so — and I thought every macroeconomist in America knew it wasn’t so. Here’s one measure that the BLS happens to have put in a convenient chart, so that I’m not choosing the dates, they are:

This shows what everyone was supposed to know: we had an awesome performance in the generation following the war (despite very high tax rates on the rich and a very strong union movement); we had a long period of poor productivity performance that spanned the Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush I administrations; we then had a revival during the Clinton administration, but even so not up to postwar standards. By the way, I don’t give Clinton credit for that revival; it was about learning to use technology. But in any case, there is no hint of a Reagan miracle in the data.This shows what everyone was supposed to know: we had an awesome performance in the generation following the war (despite very high tax rates on the rich and a very strong union movement); we had a long period of poor productivity performance that spanned the Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush I administrations; we then had a revival during the Clinton administration, but even so not up to postwar standards. By the way, I don’t give Clinton credit for that revival; it was about learning to use technology. But in any case, there is no hint of a Reagan miracle in the data….

 

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