Political credit/blame for economic ups/downs

I find it so interesting that politicians love to take quick credit for any improvement in our economy and blame the other guy for any economic woe that befalls us.   The truth as is so often the case is quite a bit more complicated than that.   Our economy is huge.  So large that it is hard to grasp the dimensions of it.  Not only is it large but it has always been quite complex since the mid 19th century.   Very few actions taken by the Government will have any  immediate effect on commerce and our financial well being.

This is not a party issue but a historically justified truth.   These thoughts are not to praise or deprecate any particular party or politician.  The most recent example of credit- taking is that of some people saying that the times were wonderful under Clinton.  They were for the most part no doubt of that.   What specific actions and enactments of Clinton produced the good economy of the 90’s?  As the economy is so large it is like a large ship at sea and you can’t turn it in one direction or the other on a dime; it requires miles sometimes for a blue water vessel to comeabout.  Likewise economic policies take effect over months if not years to be fully felt but Main Street.   Let’s examine the 90’s.  First, recall that the cold war finally ended in ’89 and as a consequence there was a reduction in military spending directly and indirectly.  This was a considerable savings.  Second, the full effects of Reagan’s policies to tamp down inflation had finally come to full fruition.  That took some real doing.  Interest rates were still in double digits into the early 80’s.  Controlling inflation was a tremendous boost to morale and confidence in the economy; and those are very important to stimulating the economy.  Lastly, there was a fundamental change in technology, the computer age finally blossomed.  I don’t think that had anything to do with either party.  Of course that whole development was really pumped up by Clinton, after all his VP invented the internet!  Frankly, the over hype had much to do with the dot com bust at the beginning of this century.  I picked that decade only because it is recent enough that most will have a memory of it and can make their own assessment.  You think about it and come up with your own plusses and minuses.  Then think hard about what the politicians had to do with them.

The truth is our economic ship of state will fair pretty darn well if mostly left to it own direction as determined by those millions of little and big decisions we make each day in our lives and the decisions made by businesses and unions.   So especially during this political season be skeptical of those promises made by politicians about how they will change the economy for the better.  Fact is much of it is out of their control and so often when they do enact a new law the unintended consequences offset any alleged benefit.   Anyone thinking about ethanol about now?   Nafta?  I think the jury is still out on that one.   We do need to produce more basic goods that people need.  Those durable goods as the economists call them.  But are we willing to pay the higher prices for them?  That is the big flaw in saying we can return jobs to certain rustbelt states.   We could end up making things that no one will buy.  Yes, there are things that can be improved, health care costs, lost manufacturing jobs, etc.  But go slow take smaller steps at the National level and let the States lead the way most of the time.   Be creative and bold.

Arians were the early Christian sect that believed in the divinity of Christ but did not accept the doctrine of the Trinity.  They flourished for a time in the eastern reaches of the Roman Empire but were finally eliminated at the end of the 4th century A.D


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