Garrett Clinton and Jimmie Johnson
As we have been studying fiscal policy in class, we wanted to examine the different fiscal policies of former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Bush’s tenure (2000-2008) featured many tax cuts for the wealthy as his idea was they would invest and the wealth would trickle down. In addition, he was very loose on regulations for business. In contrast Obama (2008-2016) repealed many of the Bush era tax cuts and implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which featured tax cuts and federal spending to social welfare programs in an effort to kick start the economy and recover from the great recession. Obama was also had much stricter regulations on business.
Looking at the civil unemployment rate, it shows that during the Bush era the unemployment rate was rather consistent besides the small recession in 2001 and the beginning of the great recession in 2008. For the bulk of his years, Bush’s unemployment rate remained around five percent with the lowest being 4.4% in late 2006. In the Obama era, the unemployment rate skyrocketed in 2008, so Obama came into the presidency with an unemployment rate of about nine percent. However, since the peak of unemployment at ten percent in October 2009, the rate has been mostly decreasing. During the end of his presidency the unemployment rate was similar to the Bush era at five percent.
Looking at this data is very interesting. It shows that Bush’s trickle down method was having an effect because for the bulk of his presidency the rate was consistent. It must be noted that he was in office during the housing market crash of 2008. I have not done any research on that topic, but it would be interesting to see if any of Bush’s fiscal policies aided or tried to prevent the housing bubble from growing too large. With Obama, it is even more interesting. One can say his stimulus package was a success as the unemployment rate slowly decreased to a manageable level. However, it took seven years for the employment rate to get to those low levels. Could there have been a quicker way to stabilize the unemployment rate?
Ultimately looking at the data, whose fiscal policy do you all believed better helped the American people? What major events played roles into each presidency which shifted economic standards?
Although both presidents have had signigicant roles in their impacts of economics, it is extremely interesting to note of the specific changes each president made to get us to the point we are at today. Despite of vast political welfare, when does government action subside from economic action? The free hand that drives all financial markets is not simply directed by fiscal policy but by many other factors so it is important to not focus entirely on government interaction when dealing with this subject.