Can the U.S. Economy Do Better VI. Does the President Matter?

 

My last five posts have discussed several different aspects of the question, “Can the U.S. Economy Do Better?”  Our economy has been doing especially poorly since the end of the Great Recession seven years ago (see the chart below).  Many people claim that the President doesn’t really have all that much control over the economy.
Capture6 Here is what the2016 presidential candidates are saying on economic policy so far:

  • Hillary Clinton. She wants national paid family leave, a national minimum wage increase and more government spending on infrastructure projects. She would raise taxes by about $100 billion per year to pay for these initiatives. She is opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership to expand trade with 11 other Pacific Rim countries.
  • Donald Trump. His top priorities are trade and immigration policy. Would he be able to successfully address China’s currency manipulation without starting a trade war? How would he be able to round up and deport millions of illegal immigrants without destroying millions of jobs and thereby crippling many businesses? His plan to slash tax rates would boost the economy but also add trillions of dollars to the debt.

As I have discussed over and over again on this blog, see, for example, here and here,  there are several fundamental policy changes needed to make our economy grow faster and create more and better paying jobs.  We need to:

  • Make it easier to start a small business by simplifying regulations at all levels.
  • Lower tax rates and simplify the tax code, paid for by shrinking deductions and closing loopholes.
  • Respond to globalization and new technology by helping its victims rather than blocking progress.

Our two presidential candidates are appealing to the fears of the voters rather than to their hopes and aspirations. Neither of them is espousing policies which will help the economy really grow in a healthy way.

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