Despite the conservative insistence that the same economic policies responsible for wrecking the economy in 2008 are the only ones capable of fixing it, President Obama has now definitively shown otherwise.
The release of the annual Census Bureau report on income, poverty and health insurance has shown that progressive economic policies implemented by the Obama administration have been working for ordinary families on a number of fronts. Writes Paul Krugman:
We expected good news; but last year, it turns out, the economy partied like it was 1999. And this tells us something very important — namely, that a government that wants to can make American society more equitable, improving the quality of life for ordinary families.
The reports showed strong progress on three fronts: rapid growth in the incomes of ordinary families — median income rose a remarkable 5.2 percent; a substantial decline in the poverty rate; and a significant further rise in health insurance coverage after 2014’s gains. It was a trifecta that we haven’t hit since, yes, 1999.
As Krugman goes onto explain, this remarkable upswing happened because of Obama’s much maligned redistributionist policies:
Mr. Obama is no socialist, but since his re-election he has presided over a significant rise in taxes on high incomes. In fact, the top one percent is now paying about the same share of its income in federal taxes as it did in 1979, before Ronald Reagan began the era of big tax cuts for the rich. And some of the increased tax take is being used to subsidize health insurance for middle- and lower-income families.
Republicans vociferously claimed that taxing the rich would wreck the economy by destroying jobs, yet not only did this not happen, the exact opposite happened:
What happened instead after Mr. Obama was re-elected was the best job growth since the 1990s. But family incomes, at least as estimated by the Census, continued to lag. So there was still some statistical basis for the right’s Obama-bashing. Now that statistical basis is gone.
Given the evidence proving Obama right and conservatives wrong, it is high time conventional economic wisdom went through a long overdue paradigm shift. Traditionally, Republicans have claimed to be the part of fiscal responsibility and economic growth, and the mainstream media has taken this as gospel. Now we can see clearly the inverse, it is time to accept that while you may disagree philosophically with the redistributionist, Keynesian based policies of the Left, they do in fact work.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.