Cultural Revolutions

Worst Recession Since . . . ?

The National Bureau of Economic Research confirmed the suspicions of many Americans by declaring on December 1 of last year that the U.S. economy entered a recession in December 2007.  The recession’s duration has already exceeded the postwar average (10 months), and it could surpass the two longest (both 16 months) since World War II.  If so, it would be the longest recession since the Great Depression, which ended in March 1933 after 43 months.  George W. Bush left office as the first president since Richard M. Nixon to preside over two recessions during his tenure in the White House.

Republicans badly mishandled the economy in 2008.  President Bush, a self-styled “compassionate conservative,” refused to use the r-word before the NBER’s declaration, despite yearlong declines in employment and industrial production.  As late as September, GOP presidential nominee John McCain proclaimed his belief that “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.”  Republicans marketed themselves as fatalists, and it cost them dearly in bellwether states such as Ohio, which they will be hard-pressed to retake.  Too many Republicans continue to defend manufacturing job losses in the name of invisible-hand economics, rather than condemn the flawed government tax, regulatory, trade, and monetary policies that destroyed 4.7 million jobs since the sector last peaked in March 1998. ...

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