02 Jun 2011

Barack Obama: “The Most Important Leader in American History”

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Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Lucas contended in his Milliman Lecture (.pdf), delivered May 19th at the University of Washington, that US economic growth has been roughly a consistent 3% per year over the last two centuries. There have been deviations from the pattern as a result of wars and financial downturns, but the American economy has consistently returned to the same trend line.

The recession which began in 2008, however, seems possibly to represent a fundamental change. Economic activity has not resumed growth. We have not returned to our customary trend line.

Instead, policies adopted by the Obama Administration and the democrat party congress elected in 2008 may have systematically reduced the American rate of economic growth to levels comparable to those of major European countries.


You or I read all this and shudder at the terrible news, but the progressive Matthew Yglesias basically accepts Lucas’s analysis and sees this as cause for awarding Obama laurels.

[A]ccording to Lucas, is that Obama’s policies have caused us to deviate permanently to a lower, European-style growth path. The initiation of Social Security didn’t do that. Nor did its expansion in the 1950s. Nor did the creation of Medicare, Medicaid, Title I federal aid to schools or the War On Poverty. The Clean Air Act didn’t do it. Nor did the Clean Water Act or the Americans With Disabilities Act. George W Bush’s expansion of Medicare didn’t do it. Nothing about the growth of the welfare state in postwar America was able to jar America off the American-style growth path and put it on the European path. And then along came Barack Obama, the Affordable Care Act and a few other bills, and like magic we’re Sweden. Forget the economic implications of this. Think about the history! Think about all the unfair knocks Obama’s gotten from the left. A leading economic scholar thinks Obama’s domestic agenda has been far-and-away the most consequential in American history. It’s kind of a big deal.

In other words, when we look around at the ruins of the US economy, the devastated housing market, massive unemployment, a crisis forcing Americans to reduce their life-styles and expectations, a shrinking economy, the financial industry departing overseas, the possible end of the US dollar as reserve currency, and a forced American retreat from military investment and commitments, as most of America despairs, we find the American left rejoicing over the fulfillment of their hopes and dreams.

If there was ever any question as to what the left’s agenda was ultimately directed, as to exactly what its goal really was, well, now you know.

One Feedback on "Barack Obama: “The Most Important Leader in American History”"


It is hard to fathom why the Left would be ecstatic about slow growth unless they are utterly ignorant about economics. After all, you can’t redistribute something until after you create it, and the less you create the less you will have to redistribute.
During the 1982-2007 worldwide expansion, the growth rate in the US was TWICE what it was in Europe. This generated almost a doubling in real per capita incomes.

Anyone with an Excel spreadsheet can pretty quickly figure out what happens if you reduce growth rates to European levels going forward. From where does the Left think they are going to get the resources in the future to support all their Utopian schemes?
Or maybe they simply want to remove the US as an embarrassing reminder to the rest of the world that economic growth matters.


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