The Great Recession dealt a crushing blow to the well-being of the American people, but our economy had actually been in a tough spot for many years. Before President George W. Bush left a deep financial crisis and economic collapse on President Barack Obama’s doorstep, he presided over two terms of laissez-faire supply-side policies that yielded the weakest expansion in recent U.S. economic history, marked by tepid job growth, weak private investment, stagnant family incomes, and a host of other ills that mounting housing and financial bubbles helped partially obscure. That President Bush took no action to address the fundamental weakness of the American economy and protect it from financial collapse was a tragic failure—but it was a tragic failure to be expected by a conservative president practicing conservative economics.
This approach sowed the seeds for today’s federal budget deficit, financial crisis, and the Great Recession. And it is no less tragic that those who share that president’s philosophy—and who still retain power through their positions in Congress—are compounding their ideological brother’s mistakes by standing in the way of economic progress and growth.
After the Obama administration took office in January 2009, conservatives in Congress worked hard to weaken the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, fought efforts to reform our financial system, and demanded tax breaks for the richest of the rich in exchange for extending unemployment benefits for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Now, “Pledge to America” promises more of the same for the American people in the second decade of the 21st century. Theirs is a tried-and-failed economic strategy that continues to hold the nation back from growing prosperity.
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