Tuesday, February 12, 2008

U.S. Employment Record (fg)

In the NY Times edition of 02/09/2008, Floyd Norris blames president G.W. Bush to be non-conservative and illiberal. This is because he is the first president of the United States since World II to "preside over an economy in which federal government employment rose more rapidly than employment in the private sector". Well, I checked the data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). I did a simple cacluation by adding up the year-on-year changes of employment changes in both the private and Government sector to get a cumulative measure of the employment record. Indeed, the figure confirms Norris' findings. In response, Harvard economist Jeffrey Frenkel concludes that Bush moved to a more interventionist government even when comparing the record with democrats such as Bill Clinton. Frenkel lists the criteria which shall document the move away from the "principles of neoclassical economics" and the principles of small government. These criteris are

(1) Growth in the size of the government, as measured by employment and spending

(2) Lack of fiscal discipline, as measured by budget deficits.

(3) Lack of commitment to price stability, as measured by pressure on the Fed for easier monetary policy when politically advantageous.

(4) Departures from free trade.

(5) Use of government powers to protect and subsidize favored special interests (such as the oil and gas sector, among many others).

Here you can find an in-depth analysis of Jeff Frenkel on the economic policy switch of Republican and Democratic Presidents.