.. you might think that the economy requires government intervention to revive and create jobs. It is Beltway dogma that the government has to "do something."
History tells a different story. For the first 150 years of this country's existence, the federal government felt no great need to "do something" when the economy turned down. Over that long span of time, the economic downturns were neither as deep nor as long lasting as they have been since the federal government decided that it had to "do something" in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, which set a new precedent.
One of the last of the "do nothing" presidents was Warren G. Harding. In 1921, under President Harding, unemployment hit 11.7 percent -- higher than it has been under President Obama. Harding did nothing to get the economy stimulated.
Far from spending more money to try to "jump start" the economy, President Harding actually reduced government spending, as the tax revenues declined during the economic downturn.
The 11.7 percent unemployment rate in 1921 fell to 6.7 percent in 1922, and then to 2.4 percent in 1923. It is hard to think of any government intervention in the economy that produced such a sharp and swift reduction in unemployment as was produced by just staying out of the way and letting the economy rebound on its own.
The endless proliferation of anti-business interventions by government .. creates the one thing that has long stifled economic activity in countries around the world -- uncertainty about what the rules of the game are, and the unpredictability of how specifically those rules will continue to change in a hostile political environment.
Both history and contemporary data show that countries prosper more when there are stable and dependable rules, under which people can make investments without having to fear unpredictable new government interventions before these investments can pay off.
A great myth has grown up that President Franklin D. Roosevelt saved the American economy with his interventions during the Great Depression of the 1930s. But a 2004 economic study concluded that government interventions had prolonged the Great Depression by several years. Obama is repeating policies that failed under FDR.