November 2014 Brief: Volume 21, Number 33
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The Consequence of Progressive Economic Policies
by John Hendrickson
David Burton, who serves as a Senior Fellow in Economic Policy at The Heritage Foundation, argued forcibly in a recent essay that “progressives are the primary impediment to progress.” When examining progressive policies from both a historic and current perspective this is correct. During the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal failed to resolve the Great Depression, and during the 1960s President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society failed to win the “war on poverty.” Today, President Barack Obama’s policies of tax and spend, regulate, and control have also failed. In fact the welfare state, just as in Europe, is at a collapsing point symbolized by the massive level of debt. This is why in the aftermath of the Great Recession so many Americans are still struggling and the middle class is suffering.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who serves as the ranking minority member of the United States Senate Budget Committee, along with the Republican committee staff, recently issued a report entitled The Obama Economy: A Chart Book, which examines the impact of President Obama’s policies. The Obama Economy argues that “the great economic tragedy of our time is the erosion of the American middle class:”
The reason for this is the policies that have harmed economic recovery and prolonged unemployment. These policies consist of spending and taxing, massive increases in regulations, and the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
Although unemployment is down at 5.9 percent, it is estimated that the rate is closer to 18 percent when those who are underemployed or have quit looking for work are taken into consideration.
Wages have also declined for many Americans, especially for those in the middle class. As The Obama Economy explains:
The reason for unemployment and low wages is the impact of higher levels of regulation and the Affordable Care Act. It is estimated that for Americans “to comply with federal regulations it cost $1.863 trillion in 2013.” Regulations have a direct impact on individuals and businesses:
The fact remains that progressive policies are harming the economy and weakening the middle class. The national debt of $17.9 trillion, the cost of the Affordable Care Act, the cost of regulations, and the looming costs of unfunded entitlements are causing the economic decline of the United States. “Progressive policies increase costs, increase deficits, increase the national debt, and increase the future of unfunded obligations of government programs,” argued Burton.
The solution to our American economic crisis is to abandon and repent of progressivism and return back to constitutional limited government, which has a proven track record of promoting, protecting, and advancing economic liberty and prosperity.
John Hendrickson is a Research Analyst with Public Interest Institute, Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Contact him at Public.Interest.Institute@LimitedGovernment.org.
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