I found a lot to like in James Pethokoukis’s critique at The Week of the belief among conservatives about present economic growth. For example this:
Third, blaming Obama as the main cause for a historically weak recovery is a problematic narrative, though handy for “owning the libs.” Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy a decade ago this week, shocking the global economy. Now generally the worse a downturn, the stronger the subsequent upturn — like plucking down on a guitar string, as Milton Friedman famously analogized. This perfectly describes the bad 1980s recession and subsequent “Reagan recovery.” But research suggests recessions accompanied by systemic shocks to the banking system and housing market are different: Recoveries are painfully slow, just like the one the American economy went through. As Goldman Sachs sees it, “The post-2008 U.S. recovery has not been unusually weak or prolonged relative to other financial crisis episodes.”
and I give a thumbs-up to this:
So should Trump offer an unironic “Thanks, Obama”? Well, a 2017 research review by the Philadelphia Fed found it likely that “the economy did indeed grow more than it would have without the [2009 Obama] stimulus but likely not as much as it might have with a different type of stimulus.” So that’s something.
but on this:
Second, the best measure of whether there’s been a fundamental change in the economy’s pace and course is productivity growth, which is the key to higher living standards over the long term. Productivity growth downshifted hard in 2005 — pre-Obama, pre-financial crisis — and then barely grew over the course of the recovery. Only since summer 2016 has it perked up somewhat. It’s going to have to do a whole lot better if the economy is going to grow anywhere near as fast in the future as it has in the past given slower workforce growth. No record-setting productivity growth, no miracle economy.
I think he may be missing the boat. I think it’s possible that more of the economic crisis, more of the phlegmatic recovery from 2009-2015, and more of the stronger growth presently in place can be attributed to energy prices particularly oil prices than anybody seems willing to say.
So, let’s not count our chickens before they’re hatched, shall we? Oil prices are rising again.