Morning in America

Just a reminder that though the “morning in America” recovery that led Ronald Reagan to a landslide re-election in 1984 certainly represented a rapid amelioration of conditions, in absolute terms the labor market in ’84 was actually still pretty bad:

Somewhat similarly, inflation was much improved for where it had been in the 1970s, but remained higher than what what’s been considered acceptable for the past twenty years:


This is just to say that though Barack Obama’s forward-looking political prospects are closely linked to the fate of the economy, the challenge of getting the country back to full employment and the highest-possible standard of living is actually a substantially bigger one than the challenge of merely doing “good enough” to win re-election.