04/02/2017

Obama Was Terrible For Economic Growth

Jonathon M. Trugman, New York Post

On Thursday we closed the book on the Obama economic “miracle” — and it’s a miracle we are not in a recession.

Last week the Commerce Department released its third revision for fourth-quarter 2016 gross domestic product. The number came in at a paltry 2.1 percent, meaning that growth during President Obama’s final year in office — the end of an “Error of Hope” — landed with a big thud at just 1.6 percent.

That low-water mark puts the Obama presidency in last place among all the post-World War II presidents when it comes to economic growth.

There have been 13 post-WWII presidents, beginning with Harry Truman, who had the disadvantage of beginning in the aftermath of war in 1946, during which the economy contracted 11.6 percent — four times the contraction any other negative year since — and even he bested Obama’s economic record!

Truman, a moderate Democrat, also posted the two best years of growth on record: 1950 at 8.7 percent and 1951 at 8 percent, and there was no zero percent interest rate to gin up the economy back then.

Thirteenth of 13 presidents is no mild distinction. Obama had eight full years to enact a growth policy, while many of his predecessors never had two complete terms. George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter had just four years each, Gerald Ford had less than three years and Richard Nixon had five.

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Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).

 

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