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In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, some economists argued that the United States, and perhaps the global economy, was suffering from "secular stagnation," an idea first conceived in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Economies had always recovered from downturns. Many believed that the economy recovered only because of government spending on World War II, and many feared that with the end of the war, the economy would return to its doldrums. Something, it was believed, had happened, such that even with low or zero interest rates, the economy would languish. Those responsible for managing the 2008 recovery (the same individuals bearing culpability for the underregulation of the economy in its precrisis days, to whom U.S. President Barack Obama inexplicably turned to fix what they had helped break) found the idea of secular stagnation attractive, because it explained their failures to achieve a quick, robust recovery.So, as the economy languished, the idea was revived: Don't blame us, its promoters implied, we're doing what we can.A fiscal stimulus as large as that of December 2017 and January 2018 (and which the economy didn't really need at the time) would have been all the more powerful a decade earlier when unemployment was so high.
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