In the 1992 presidential election, then candidate Bill Clinton had a slogan that his campaign posted on the wall of his electoral headquarters: “it’s the economy, stupid!” Clinton went on to win the election with his “economy first” message beating then President George H. W. Bush who had an over 80 percent approval rating just the year before.
As Americans prepare to go to the polls this November, operatives and pundits from both parties agree that the economy will again be the major issue this fall. Call it anti-incumbency fever or just plain anger; it is all too obvious that Americans are primarily concerned about economic prospects.
About 18 months ago, the U.S. economy teetered on the brink of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of 1929. By now the narrative is familiar: a federal bailout program of the financial sector (TARP), the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler forcing another bailout effort, and a $787 billion stimulus—the biggest spending program in U.S. history. All this government aid was needed, the experts told us, or we would suffer another Great Depression. Today, economic growth has returned, but with a more modest job picture.