Who's got the best plan for bringing America's economy back from the doldrums? Well, according to more than 400 prominent economists—including five Nobel laureates—it's Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
The economy has been in the tank since before Barack Obama became president, as he cheerfully reminds everyone at every available opportunity. Under his leadership, however, things have gotten worse by almost every available measure.
Unemployment has exceeded 8 percent for 42 straight months, a post-war record. Somewhere between 3 and 4 million people have given up looking for work entirely, making the "real" unemployment number something close to 13 or 14 percent. The economy is barely growing. Middle-class incomes are down. The price of gasoline and the number of Americans living in poverty are both up.
Now Obama likes to say his economic plan is working--which is true if what it was supposed to produce was more unemployment, more poverty, higher gas and food prices, more people on food stamps, and more federal debt.
Real economists, however, differ on what the objective of economic policy should be. The economists who signed on to the pro-Romney statement said, "We enthusiastically endorse Governor Mitt Romney's economic plan to create jobs and restore economic growth while returning America to its tradition of economic freedom."
Romney's plan, they said, "is based on proven principles: a more contained and less intrusive federal government, a greater reliance on the private sector, a broad expansion of opportunity without government favors for special interests, and respect for the rule of law including the decision-making authority of states and localities."
Among the positions they endorse:
Among the economists signing on to the statement are Nobel laureates Gary Becker, Robert Lucas, Robert Mundell, Edward Prescott, and Myron Scholes. Others have received the highest honors available for their academic work, some have advised U.S. policymakers, and all are longtime champions of economic freedom. It's a serious group of people who have a major impact on the study and teaching of economics in the United States and globally and who, let it be said, know what they are talking about.
"In sum," they say, the Romney economic plan "is far superior for creating economic growth and jobs than the actions and interventions President Obama has taken or plans to take in the future."