Sunday, January 3, 2010

The GOP’s Lost Decade

When the Republicans took power in 2001 they inherited a surplus and a healthy economy.  Look what they did with it.

nojobs For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different.

The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation's growth.

It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism -- there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.

There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 -- and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.

And the net worth of American households -- the value of their houses, retirement funds and other assets minus debts -- has also declined when adjusted for inflation, compared with sharp gains in every previous decade since data were initially collected in the 1950s… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

Clinton had positive job and economic growth in 2000, and Bush did in 2001, before the policies of the Bush/GOP regime took effect and trashed the economy.  Likewise, the last year, the first of the Obama administration shed jobs, because his policies are only beginning to take effect.

My criticism of Obama has been the strongest on economic matters, as you regular readers know.  Still, many of you think I am not hard enough on him.  Please ask yourselves this.  Would you really prefer the policies of McConJob and Mooseolini, and with them a continuation of the last ten years’ economy?


rjs said...

ive been covering unemployment closely for a year, first at marketwatch, and since july on my blog & i have a problem with arbitrarily identifying an employment situation as beginning or ending at a round decade number; it has very little to do with economic cycles that occur without respect to calander date...US employment actually peaked 23 months ago and its been all downhill since...i cant see how any politican can be blamed for recessions, either; the recession that occurred early in bush's term was brought on by the dotcom bubble bursting and 9/11, and the current one was brought on the the housing bubble bursting, the oil price spike, & financial panic after lehman might want to blame greenspan for the bubble, but blaming bush, who was clueless, for the current situation is just wrongheaded...granted, the situation would be much worse were it not for the stimulus, but that effect is temporary (reverses in mid 2010) and does nothing to address the structural unemployment that results from jobs lost never to return...

as far as the deterioration of median incomes, you might want to lay that some of that at the feet of reagan's union busting; remember he said he wanted to put america back to work; what he meant is that once the unions were beaten, americans would need two jobs per household to make ends meet; the rest of the income deterioration results from the fact that american workers are increasing competing against lower paid foreign worker in a global economy...

TomCat said...

RJ, in my opinion, the housing bubble could not have occurred had it not been for the many GOP policies summarized as No Millionaire Left Behind. Simply put, visualize our economy as a pyramid, without thinking Ponzi and going off on that tangent. The broad solid base supports the golden capstone. Under 'trickle down' GOPenomics the capstone sucked up so much wealth, that the weight of the capstone crushed the base.

rjs said...

i could blame the massive debt we had going into this crisis on the bush tax cuts, which made normal fiscal policy difficult, but i wouldnt want to blame any one party or person for a situation that was precipitated by a decade of irresponsible behavior by half the country...many, including krugman in his recent columns, would even say our severe unemployment is a result of China's refusal to let their currency float, which resulted in outsourcing much of our manufacturing...i think most wonks would point to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which effectively repealed Glass-Steagall, and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which exempted credit-default swaps from regulation (and resulted in THIS), as the origin of the financial crisis which came to a head in 08; & both of those were signed by Clinton...

JUDI M. said...

I just would like to say it is heartening to see a proper discussion on this topic without the name calling, party-bashing, profanity that can sometimes evolve.
Sometimes it is hard to lay the blame at one source, but we gotta get out of this mess together.

TomCat said...

RJ, I agree Clinton should have never signed it. He only shines as a President because he preceded Bush. However, the repeal was a GOP project from a GOP legislature.

Judi, the only real rule this blog has is that we treat each other with respect even when we disagree.

Erin O'Brien said...

No matter how I shake it, I can't get over the Iraq war debacle. I cannot wrap my head around the idea of the preemptive strike, which I fear is here to stay.

That war did many things both obvious and implicit. We may never recover from it. And if Iraq isn't squarely on the shoulders of the Bush/Rove/Cheney triumvirate, then I don't knot what.

I remember watching Colin Powell plead the case for war (in front of the UN?) and thinking, even he doesn't believe the words coming out of his mouth.

I also keep bellyaching about the 2004 Bear Stearns/SEC rule change. That, peeps, was the HINDENBURG of ideas.

Valerie Plame, anyone.

Thanks for a great post and comment discussion.

Erin O'Brien said...

oops. I made a boo-boo. It was supposed to say:

Valerie Plame, anyone?

TomCat said...

Welcome, Erin. Trying to discover and list the scandals and injustices of the Bush Regime could take years. I also remember Powell and wondering how he could be trashing such a fine career. I better stop now. My BP is rising. :-)