An Economic 'Plan'?

By:  Thomas Sowell
09/11/2012
       
An Economic 'Plan'?

 The Obama party line is that all the bad things are due to what he inherited from Bush, and the few signs of recovery are due to Obama's policies beginning to pay off. But, if the economy has been rebounding on its own for more than 150 years, the question is why it has been so slow to recover under the Obama administration.

Former president Bill Clinton told the Democratic National Convention that Barack Obama has a plan to rescue the economy, and only the fact that the Republicans stood in his way has stopped him from getting the economy out of the doldrums.

From all this, and much else that is said in the media and on the campaign trail, you might think that the economy requires government intervention to revive and create jobs. It is Beltway dogma that the government has to "do something."

History tells a different story. For the first 150 years of this country's existence, the federal government felt no great need to "do something" when the economy turned down. Over that long span of time, the economic downturns were neither as deep nor as long lasting as they have been since the federal government decided that it had to "do something" in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, which set a new precedent.

One of the last of the "do nothing" presidents was Warren G. Harding. In 1921, under President Harding, unemployment hit 11.7 percent — higher than it has been under President Obama. Harding did nothing to get the economy stimulated.

Far from spending more money to try to "jump start" the economy, President Harding actually reduced government spending, as the tax revenues declined during the economic downturn.

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Thomas Sowell (photo)

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