The Financial Crisis: Why the Conventional Wisdom Has It All Wrong

From Richard Kovacevich:

Like many of you, I am appalled at the political environment and gridlock that continues to exist in this town. I simply cannot understand nor do I accept why our elected officials continue to concentrate on party politics and the next election above doing what’s right for America, especially as we endure the past five years of economic stagnation and high unemployment. Nothing is more debilitating and unfair than a head of household willing to work but who cannot find a job. Why hasn’t job creation been the number-one focus of our government during this  economic crisis?

Don’t believe for a moment those economic theorists who tell us the reason for our slow growth, economic malaise, and continued high unemployment is due to the uniqueness of a financially led economic recession. Rather, it is due to the failure of the leaders in this town to adopt those monetary, regulatory, and fiscal policies that have successfully worked in the past while, alternatively, focusing on a political agenda that did not put economic growth and jobs at the top of the list. In my opinion, the early 1980s’ economic recession—with its exceptionally high 10 percent inflation, 20 percent interest rates, and 12 percent unemployment—was far more difficult to correct and resolve. Yet our economy bounced back in 18 months with GDP growth of over 7.5 percent the next year. In the 1980 recovery, GDP growth averaged 4.9 percent, and for all recoveries since the Second World War, the average was 4.1 percent. The current recovery has been a paltry 2.2 percent.

Read more: The Cato Institute