What Crisis? Why the Bush Years Weren't So Bad and Why It's Getting Better All The Time
Obama is already asking for an unprecedented increase in the size of the national debt. Before we go back down that road, maybe we should stop and ask: "What crisis?''
Start with this: You are better off than you were four years ago. After adjusting for inflation, the average American earns about $2500 a year more today than on the day of W's second inaugural. That same average American now spends a little less time at the office or on the assembly line, and a little more time on vacation or on the couch. He or she shops online for products that were unimaginable just four years ago. (How many of you read this morning's paper on your Kindle or iPhone?) The air is cleaner than it was a decade ago and life expectancy is up.
Not that the last president had much to do with any of this. He didn't. It's the way the modern world works. Things improve. Incomes rise, work hours fall, the quality of goods improves. Few things in economics are as consistent as the growth of real GDP per capita over the past 200 years (see chart above).
Today we're in a recession--a moment in time when the march of growth stalls and even gets set back by a couple of years. This happens every now and then. Really. But things pick up again and we move on. Some people get set back a little farther than others; some are unemployed for a while. But the pool of resources is still near an all-time high.
~Economist Steven E. Landsburg in The Atlantic Magazine