Peter Ferrara

The record of President Obama's first three years in office is in, and nothing that happens now can go back and change that. What that record shows is that President Obama, with his throwback, old-fashioned, 1970s Keynesian economics, has put America through the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression.

The recession started in December, 2007. Go to the website of the National Bureau of Economic Research (www.nber.org) to see the complete history of America's recessions. What that history reveals is that before this last recession, since the Great Depression recessions in America have lasted an average of 10 months, with the longest previously lasting 16 months.

When President Obama entered office in January, 2009, the recession was already in its 13th month. His responsibility was to manage a timely, robust recovery to get America back on track again. Based on the historical record, that recovery was imminent, within a couple of months or so. Despite widespread fear, nothing fundamental had changed to deprive America of the long term, world-leading prosperity it had enjoyed going back 300 years.

Supposedly a forward looking progressive, Obama proved to be America's first backward looking regressive. His first act was to increase federal borrowing, the national debt and the deficit by nearly a trillion dollars to finance a supposed "stimulus" package, based on the discredited Keynesian theory left for dead 30 years ago holding that increased government spending, deficits and debt are what promote economic growth and recovery. That theory arose in the 1930s as the answer to the Great Depression, which, of course, never worked.

That was the beginning of President Obama's Rip Van Winkle act, pretending not to know anything that happened over the previous 30 years proving the dramatic, historic success of the new, more modern, supply side economics, which holds that incentives for increased production are what promote economic growth and recovery. Indeed, that Rip Van Winklism pretended not to remember the 1970s either, when double digit inflation and double digit unemployment proved Keynesian economics grievously wrong.

As should have been long expected, Obama's trillion dollar Keynesian stimulus did nothing to promote recovery and growth, and almost surely delayed it. That is because borrowing a trillion dollars out of the economy to spend a trillion back into it does nothing to promote the economy on net. Indeed, it is probably a net drag on the economy, because the private sector spends the money more productively and efficiently than the public sector.


Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is General Counsel for the American Civil Rights Union, a Senior Fellow at the Carleson Center for Public Policy and a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.