Monday, October 3, 2011

Economics:  Phony Fear Factor

The starting point for many claims that antibusiness policies are hurting the economy is the assertion that the sluggishness of the economy's recovery from recession is unprecedented. But, as a new paper by Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute documents at length, this is just not true. Extended periods of jobless recovery after recessions have been the rule for the past two decades. Indeed, private-sector job growth since the 2007-2009 recession has been better than it was after the 2001 recession.

We might add that major financial crises are almost always followed by a period of slow growth, and U.S. experience is more or less what you should have expected given the severity of the 2008 shock.

But aren't business people complaining about the burden of taxes and regulations? Yes, but no more than usual. Mr. Mishel points out that the National Federation of Independent Business has been surveying small businesses for almost 40 years, asking them to name their most important problem. Taxes and regulations always rank high on the list, but what stands out now is a surge in the number of businesses citing poor sales — which strongly suggests that lack of demand, not fear of government, is holding business back.

For more, see Phony Fear Factor by Paul Krugman, September 29, 2011 at NYTimes.com.

No comments: