Exchequer

Presidents, Precedents

News flash: This is not 1982, and Obama is not Reagan.

The important difference is this: There was a good reason for the Volcker-Reagan recession: defeating inflation. American voters may not be terribly economically sophisticated, but they sure as heck did notice when inflation went from 13.5 percent to 3.2 percent — in two years. Presidents’ effects on the economy are overstated (economies are complicated and many of the most important factors are exogenous to public policy), but tackling inflation was a matter of politics and policy. The recession was hard, but we came through with something to show for it. For instance, mortgage rates that were 7 percent instead of 19 percent.

What, precisely, will we have to show for having come through the Obama recession(s)? A gigantic new federal entitlement program? Staggering amounts of debt? Persistently high levels of unemployment? That’s the best-case scenario. The worst case scenario includes pre-Reagan levels of inflation, a debased dollar, and a deep double dip in Recession Round 2. Obama’s first-class temperament is not going to do him a lot of good with a third-class economy.

Most Popular

World

The Real Reasons American Evangelicals Support Israel

It never fails. Whenever a Republican president makes a controversial or contentious move to support Israel -- such as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, or yesterday’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights -- you’ll see various “explainers” and other stories that purport ... Read More
White House

Mueller Report Delivered to Attorney General

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday evening delivered a report to attorney general William Barr detailing his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Barr will now be tasked with deciding what information from the report ... Read More