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Why the United States Has Suffered the Worst Economic Recovery Since the Great Depression

August 1, 2016

Nearly nine years ago, in December 2007, the United States fell into a recession from which most Americans think it has yet to recover.

Slow health care recovery using a walker

Although the recession “officially” ended in June 2009, ask your family members, colleagues, and constituents whether they agree. And consider these facts:

  • Job losses: If the current recovery were as strong as the average of prior recoveries, the United States would have six million more jobs today.
  • Household income: If the current recovery were as strong as the average, the average U.S. family would have $17,000 more in annual income.
  • Poverty: Six million more Americans are in poverty today than when President Barack Obama entered office. The poverty rate in early 2016 was 14.8 percent, higher than when the War on Poverty was launched in 1966.
  • Income inequality: Real median household income fell by nearly 8 percent in Obama’s first term, equivalent to the middle class losing one month’s pay each year. Income for the bottom 20 percent of households fell by a similar amount. Income has been rising only for the top 20 percent.


Why has this economic recovery been so weak? Why have we seen, under a “progressive” president, soaring poverty, declining real incomes, and skyrocketing inequality? In the enclosed Policy Study, Heartland Institute Senior Fellow Peter Ferrara explains,

President Obama’s decision to dredge up failed, illogical, proven-wrong Keynesian economics, rightly left for dead more than 30 years ago, failed to generate any significant economic recovery. It only reignited the threat of runaway federal spending, deficits, and debt. ... Although presented to the public as a progressive, forward-looking thinker, Obama has actually taken the United States back to the thoroughly failed economic policies of the 1930s and 1970s, and so ultimately to the same results.

Author
Peter Ferrara is senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy at The Heartland Institute, and a senior fellow at the Social Security Institute.
pferrara@heartland.org