Washington Post Death Spiral Watch
John McCain Is Dishonest and Dishonorable

Economic "Strength"

Joe Biden: "I could walk from here to Lansing, and I wouldn’t run into a single person who thought our economy was doing well, unless I ran into John McCain..."

How to measure economic performance is a big question. My favorite metric is economic growth that is not concentrated at the top of the income distribution--the growth, say, of median income. By that metric the U.S. economy has been the best performer in the world on average over the past two centuries. By that metric the U.S. economy has been the best performer in the world on average over the past century. By that metric the U.S. economy has been a good performer for most of the half century after World War II--not a great performer, but a good performer.

But since 2000... Put it this way: we have just finished the first American business cycle ever, the first since British settlers landed at Jamestown and promptly began dying of malaria, the first ever in which median household incomes did not grow from peak to peak.

How much of the blame for poor performance in this century can be laid at the door of the George W. Bush administration is an active research question. Government surpluses rather than the Bush deficits would have given us a lower dollar, more exports, faster growth of production in sectors which may well have powerful external benefits, and a more equal income distribution. Median household income would have done better. How much better? Give me a couple weeks to solidify my view.

But I have not found anybody not completely corrupt still willing to say that Bush economic policies have been on net a plus for America.

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