Ronald Reagan often pointed out that the best politics is good policy. With congressional elections less than seven months away, and a presidential vote looming just behind, it’s time for Republicans to settle on just what good policy is.
So here’s a thought experiment: If you could wave a magic wand and produce policy changes that would achieve just one goal – the goal with the most positive political impact — what would that goal be? Undoubtedly, strong, sustainable economic growth.
Today, five years after the recession officially ended, a large percentage of Americans (47%) still list “economic problems” as the nation’s most important problem. Nothing else is close. Health care is the choice of 15% of respondents, immigration and illegal aliens 4%, crime 1%. And no wonder. As Edward Lazear, the Stanford economist, has written, this is the worst recovery from an economic downturn in U.S. history, even worse than the one following the Great Depression. Normally, sharp declines in employment and production lead to sharp bouncebacks. Not this time.