Is the economy well and truly dead? Well, no. But it’s fading. Think Tinker Bell, if Tink had to contend with the Federal Reserve:
The economy is an area in which belief equals reality or, at least, belief has an important effect on behavior which produces the reality. That’s what John Maynard Keynes referred to as “animal spirits”, an important force in pulling economies out of recessions.
Welcome to roadkill. Where did all the spirited critters go?
Whatever his failing, Bill Clinton was a relentless and indefatigable cheerleader for the economy. His confidence built confidence in others… George W. Bush didn’t have that same quality and neither does Barack Obama.
Of course, neither W. nor BHO had the benefit of various 90s booms, and neither of them could conceive of a budget that wasn’t deeply in the red. And Clinton had had hard-nosed Congressional Republicans of the Newt Gingrich stripe who kept the pressure on. Today’s GOP, by comparison, has a collective proboscis made of rubber baby buggy bumpers or something.
And whatever Bill did in the 90s won’t redound to Hillary’s credit in 2016, since nobody can imagine her as a cheerleader, for the economy or for anything else.