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Yet Another Conservative Economist Thinks Barack Obama Can Travel Through Time

By Matthew Yglesias on June 20, 2011 at 9:15 am

"Yet Another Conservative Economist Thinks Barack Obama Can Travel Through Time"

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Gary Becker explains that the left-wing policies of Barack Obama and the 111th Congress slowed business investment:

In addition to repeated attacks on American business, especially banks (some of the attacks on banks were well deserved), Congress passed an expensive stimulus package that did not stimulate much. The health care bill Congress passed seems likely to increase the cost to small and large businesses of providing health insurance for employees. Congressional leaders proposed high taxes on carbon emissions, large increases in taxes on higher income individuals, corporate profits, and capital gains as part of vocal attacks on “billionaires”. Many in Congress wanted to cap, or at least control, compensation of executives. Proposals were advanced to make anti-trust laws less pro-consumer, and more protective of competitors from aggressive and innovative companies. Congress passed and the president signed a financial reform bill that is a complicated and a politically driven mixture of sensible reforms, and senseless changes that have little to do with stabilizing the financial architecture, or correcting what was defective in prior regulations.

It is no surprise that this rhetoric and the proposed and actual policies discouraged business investment and slowed down the recovery.

Admittedly, I don’t have a Nobel Prize. But I can look up the trajectory of private investment in the United States:

On my chart, business investment started trending toward way back in 2006 and did the bulk of its plunging in 2008. It also seems to me that George W Bush was president at this time. Soon after Barack Obama took office, investment bottomed-out and began to rebound. Neither Obama’s rhetoric nor his policies can possibly be responsible for the Obama-era drop in investment for the simple reason that no such drop occurred.

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