I'm not sure what the purpose of the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research is; apparently, they're the guys responsible for telling us when recessions begin and end, but not until more than a year after the fact. That's like turning on the TV and getting yesterday's weather report. Yippie. Anyway, they've decided that the 2001 recession began in March and ended in November; that's what I remember reading last year, as well. (How can I get this job? Someone please hook me up.)

Bill Hobbs notes that the timeframe makes it obvious that it wasn't "Bush's Recession" as the Democrats are fond of saying; even though it started near the end of Clinton's term, it wasn't his fault either.

The 90s boom, the 2001 recession, and the subsequent recovery are all more tightly linked to market cycles and world events than to the policies of either Clinton or Bush. It's arguable that Reagan's policies from the 80s overheated the economy and led to the 90s and the recession, but neither recent president can really be credited (or blamed) for any of it.

In America, we love to pin everything on whoever is President at the moment, but the fact of the matter is that the President really doesn't have much power over the economy. Even Congressional actions tend to have effects that are delayed by several years. As I mentioned in my previous post about a political opinion poll, the economy is the #1 issue for voters leading up to the 2004 election; of the areas mentioned in the poll, the economy is also the one area where the President may have the least actual power.



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