James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

The Great Recession or the Pretty Bad Recession?

September 1, 2009

Allan Meltzer (WSJ) pleads for people to stop comparing this downturn to the Great Depression. It is more like the 1973-75 period, he argues. He also opines that it has been in the Obama administration’s self interest to overstate the severity of the recession so it could hype its own achievements in “saving” the US economy.

I would also add that it was in the WH interest to maximize economic concern to maximize the chances of successfully pushing through its economic agenda. But the WH made the mistake of a) thinking that concerns about economic security would dwarf concerns about the sustainability of massive government spending and budget deficits, and b) underestimating how concerns about economic growth would undercut cap-and-tradeĀ  and the attempts to pay for healthcare reform by raising taxes.

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