Eight years is a long time and the economy usually undergoes significant changes during that time frame. Eight years is also the length of time a president serves if they are re-elected.
Each two-term president in the nation’s history has implemented policies that had significant economic consequences.
In recent memory, President Richard Nixon’s economic policies plunged the economy into chaos as he took the country off the gold standard and experimented with wage and price controls. President Ronald Reagan restored stability to the nation and the economy.
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President Bill Clinton tried to undo the successes of Reagan, proposing a $16 billion stimulus bill in early 1993. Republican senators blocked his effort and the economy boomed.
President George W. Bush was forced to focus on national defense and allowed domestic spending to grow. President Barack Obama then took spending to a new level with a $787 billion stimulus bill during his first months in office, less than 10 years after Clinton’s $16 billion package was deemed excessive.
In time, historians will certainly judge Obama’s economic policies to be significant. He has taken government spending to levels once viewed as inconceivable in peacetime.
Obama will leave office after the 2016 election and the next president will be forced to deal with the economic problems created by runaway government spending. Reagan showed an unusual level of courage and quickly reversed the dangerous policies of his predecessors, accepting the short-term pain required to create long-term growth.
The next president will face the same problems Reagan did. A recession will probably be required to undo the harm of the past four years and the damage being done in the next four.
There may be another recession before 2017 as Obama focuses on growing government rather than the economy. But we know the United States has recovered from failed economic policies in the past and starting in 2017, the recovery should begin again.
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