Published for WSJ Online, August 1st, 2012
We are currently in the most anemic economic recovery in the memory of most Americans. Declining consumer sentiment and business concerns over policy uncertainty weigh on the minds of all of us. We must fix our economy’s growth and jobs machine.
We can do this. The U.S. economy has the talent, ideas, energy and capital for the robust economic growth that has characterized much of America’s experience in our lifetimes. Our standard of living and the nation’s standing as a world power depend on restoring that growth.
But to do so we must have vastly different policies aimed at stopping runaway federal spending and debt, reforming our tax code and entitlement programs, and scaling back costly regulations. Those policies cannot be found in the president’s proposals. They are, however, the core of Gov. Mitt Romney’s plan for economic recovery and renewal.
In response to the recession, the Obama administration chose to emphasize costly, short-term fixes—ineffective stimulus programs, myriad housing programs that went nowhere, and a rush to invest in “green” companies.
As a consequence, uncertainty over policy—particularly over tax and regulatory policy—slowed the recovery and limited job creation. One recent study by Scott Baker and Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven Davis of the University of Chicago found that this uncertainty reduced GDP by 1.4% in 2011 alone, and that returning to pre-crisis levels of uncertainty would add about 2.3 million jobs in just 18 months.
The Obama administration’s attempted short-term fixes, even with unprecedented monetary easing by the Federal Reserve, produced average GDP growth of just 2.2% over the past three years, and the consensus outlook appears no better for the year ahead.