Presidents and the Economy

krugman.blogs.nytimes.comAfter I put up my post comparing private-sector jobs under Obama and Bush, a number of people asked me whether I believe that presidents have a large effect on economic performance. My answer is no — but conservatives believe that they do, which is why this kind of comparison is useful.

To expand on my own views, in normal times the economy’s macroeconomic performance mainly depends on monetary policy, which isn’t under White House control. Now, we’ve been in a liquidity trap for the whole Obama administration so far, giving fiscal policy a much more central role — and the initial stimulus did help quite a lot. Since 2010, however, fiscal policy has been paralyzed by GOP obstruction, so we’re back to a situation where the WH has little influence.

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