5 Political Lessons of the Economic Downturn

President Obama and Congress hearing it from an electorate angered by hardship.


Taking Credit for Economic Success Can Be Difficult

This is a lesson that politicians may still have to learn, now that the president and House Speaker John Boehner have released rival job-creation plans. Wide gulfs in economic philosophy separate the two men, but their job-creation ideas have one thing in common: They could take months or years to be truly effective, even after they have gone through the legislative process. If that success comes after Election Day, that means little political reward. Opponents of infrastructure spending, for example, have noted that the policy works so slowly on boosting economic growth that it is difficult to time that spending effectively. Additionally, as reaction to the stimulus package showed, it is easy to raise doubts about a program that helps to create jobs.

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