Why Is the Recovery Slow?

Here are some news stories you could find in Friday’s Wall Street Journal:

  • The Federal Reserve is holding an international conference of central bankers to reassure themselves that their “easy-money policies” are working and won’t cause too much inflation this time.
  • The IRS is ramping up audits of the most successful people in the economy. If you make more than $5 million in a year, you can pretty much expect a time-consuming audit.
  • Federal regulators are preparing a drive to tell workers at nonunionized businesses they have many of the same rights as union members, a move that could prompt more workers to complain to employers about grievances ranging from pay and work hours to job safety and management misconduct.”
  • The Department of Energy has placed nearly one-third of its clean-energy loan portfolio on an internal ‘watch list’ for possible violations of terms or other concerns, according to a copy of the list obtained by The Wall Street Journal, highlighting how such concerns have spread beyond the now-bankrupt Solyndra LLC.”
  • The European Union is beefing up its permanent bailout fund to keep failed businesses alive.
  • States are circling Amazon and other online retailers, about to pounce with new taxes.
  • The Labor Department has “stepped up pressure” on PulteGroup, demanding thousands of records on its contracts with employees and subcontractors.

That’s one day’s stories about new government assaults on wealth creation and new political transfers of wealth. And so maybe it’s no surprise that the paper also carries these stories:

Note that few if any of these stories made headlines, or even appeared in other newspapers. Many voters know about Obamacare, the massive 2009 stimulus bill, and Cash for Clunkers. Many fewer realize the tax tsunami planned for 9 months from now. Hardly anyone knows about the costs of stepped-up regulation and regulatory enforcement. But everyone wonders why the recovery is so slow and unemployment remains so high. Just read the papers – in detail.