PENNY/HORNER: Obama Economic Legacy

January 13, 2013

We seem to be off to the races again in the political scene..guns have moved to the fore; immigration is being discussed; and speculation of other “Obama” legacy issues fills the news.  It all reminded me of a year-end STRIB column by Penny and Horner so I searched my desk to find the column I had clipped for later reference.  And yes, sure enough, it was still on my desk in the midst of two weeks of accummulated notes and bills, and books.

“Reaganomics helped produce a robust economy through much of the 1980s….Clintonomics contributed to another sustained period of economic growth in the 1990s. Bushonomics left the economy in freefall.”

Accompanying that assessment, Tim and Tom reminded us that soaring national debt was the concern of the 1980s; a balanced budget under Clinton; Bush’s policies sent our debt on an upward march again from 2000-2008.  That climb continued through Obama’s first term as he tried to hold the country back from freefall.

[CEK Edit. Comment: in last 34 years, 24% of the time, we had a BALANCED Budget to debt under Clinton; 59% of the time, the national debt grew and grew under Reagan and the Bushes; and 12% of the time, under first Obama administration, debt continued to increase. If 59% is a bigger number than 12%, I still cannot understand why OBAMA – in the eyes of the Republicans – is the one influence at fault for our national debt problem…particularly when a good bit of the debt incurred was to stop the economic freefall brought on by Bush Jr. actions.-guess that is why I am neither an economist nor a Republican – I do not understand their math!  🙂 ]

Nevertheless, I think the two Minnesota “Independents” had some good suggestions for Obama to consider as he “cements” his economic legacy:

  1. Build tax reform for the next generation, not just the next political deadline- take the Republicans up on their offer to reform tax code, eliminate loopholes, make system fairer, and promote investment and savings over consumption.
  2. Spend some political capital to tackle tough spending issues such as entitlement programs and Obamacare adjustments.
  3. Economic policy is not just about taxing and spending.  As Tim and Tom point out, trade, immigration, energy and monetary policy also help define our economic future…and (best of all) Obama has Presidential authority with or without COngress to inhibit or advance policy in all these areas. 

This sounds reasonable and doable to me and I am hoping it’s all integrated into the plans emerging in the White House.


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