The 'recovery' that isn't
Here's more proof - not that any is needed - that the Obama recoveryless recovery is not really a mystery if you look at the numbers.
"There is much more work that remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and deep recession," wrote Alan Krueger.
Obama himself has used this excuse. "From the moment we first took action to prevent another Great Depression, we knew the road to recovery would not be easy; we knew it would take time," he said last week.
But the history of economic cycles suggests that the exact opposite should have happened.
"Typically following a recession, the economy rebounds strongly," Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker noted in the bank's quarterly journal.
What's more, deeper recessions tend to produce strong recoveries.
"You can't find a single deep recession that has been followed by a moderate recovery," Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Capital, said back in August 2009.
The 1957-58, 1973-74 and 1981-82 recessions were the sharpest post-war slumps until the Great Recession. From those lows, the economy rose 15%, 18.5% and 19.6% over the next 11 quarters, respectively, vs. just 6.8% for the Obama recovery.
The president and his economic advisers also initially expected a solid recovery this time around.
Obama's first budget in February 2009, forecast "rapid growth" that "is expected to push down the unemployment rate ... to 5% by the end of 2013." That month, Obama told the public that the $830 billion stimulus plan would "ignite spending by businesses and consumers" and "usher in a new wave of innovation, activity and construction."
The administration's August 2009 budget update claimed that "once the recovery takes hold, it is expected to gain momentum as time passes."
And as the true depth of the recession became clear over the next several months, the White House continued to promise a solid recovery.
That's only a third of the growth coming out of this recession than we typically experience coming out of a deep recession.
The difference is that the policies implemented by Barack Obama have actually made things worse rather than better. If he had done nothing, chances are the economy would have come roaring back as it has in the past. The housing market would have bottomed out and home values would have begun to rise. Business, unhindered by Obama regulations would have boomed. Hiring would have been brisk.
The fact that the economy is growing at all is a testament to the productivity of the American worker and the genius of our entrepreneurial society. But what might have been if Obama had even made modest tax cuts and spending reductions will always haunt us.