I’m not a big fan of Obamanomics.
Indeed, I even like mocking his reflexive statism.
That being said, I fully agree (albeit with some important caveats) with his observation that the United States generally is doing better than other nations.
Here are some blurbs from a Bloomberg report about the President’s remarks on that issue.
A month before congressional elections, President Barack Obama is making an appeal to American pride in promoting his economic policies, arguing that the U.S. is outpacing the recovery in other nations. …“The United States has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and every other advanced economy combined.” Obama said. …economies in Europe and Japan are sluggish. The recovery for the euro area – including France and Italy – stalled, with gross domestic product unchanged, from the first quarter to the second, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg. Japan contracted by the most in more than five years, with GDP shrinking an annualized 7.1 percent, data from the government Cabinet Office in Tokyo show. …Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers…called Obama’s emphasis on the relative strength of the U.S. economy “useful context to compare to other countries that are facing similar challenges.”
I don’t know if the White House is correct on every specific claim, but it’s definitely true that the United States is out-pacing Europe.
Here are a couple of charts I found with a quick search. We’ll start with one comparing GDP performance. It’s not as up-to-date as the one I shared back in June, but it does a good job of showing how our cousins across the ocean are falling behind.
And here’s another chart I found showing how Europe also is lagging on employment.
And I can also say from personal experience, based on my trips to various conferences, that Europeans look at the American economy with envy. Heck, they even think 1 percent growth is a reason for celebration!
Which should give you an idea of how bad the outlook is in Europe.
After all, the United States is experiencing the weakest economic expansion since the Great Depression. Yet compared to European nations like France and Italy, we’re a powerhouse.
And this isn’t even a new development. After World War II, the European economies were converging with the United States. In other words, they were growing faster, which is what conventional economic theory predicts should happen over time.
But then, thanks the Europe’s shift to more statism in the 1960s and America’s shift to more freedom in the 1980s, the convergence stopped and America began to enjoy better performance. The data from recent years is just the latest bit of evidence.
Let’s now return to the central thesis of today’s post. As I said above, Obama is right that America is doing much better than most other nations.
But here’s the catch….and it’s a big one.
The President wants America to copy the policies that have caused economic stagnation in Europe!
Does he want higher tax rates? Yup.
Does he want more spending? You bet.
Does he want additional regulation? Yes.
Does he want increased intervention? Of course.
Does he want expanded welfare programs? Naturally.
In other words, when I read the article in Bloomberg, it was a very surreal experience. Is the President clueless? Or does he think we’re clueless? How could he brag about America out-performing Europe without realizing that he was attacking Obamanomics?
It was like getting a lecture on the merits of exercise from a guy who wants you to buy a big-screen TV and a lifetime supply of fast food. Or, better yet, check out these cartoons from Michael Ramirez, Glenn Foden, Eric Allie and Chip Bok.
By the way, I feel guilty about saying so many bad things about Europe, so let’s close with some reasonably clever anti-American humor from our European friends.
Here’s an image regarding culture.
And here’s one regarding…um…style.
P.S. Okay, maybe the Europeans have more culture and style, but Americans are more genuinely compassionate.