Lowering the Bar

by Tom Blumer, PJ Media

When they can’t meet established performance standards, the left makes up excuses, lowers the standards, and, if necessary, revises history along the way. 

In economics, there’s hardly a better of example of this kind of deliberate responsibility avoidance than what has happened to the idea of “full employment.”

Full employment is supposed to occur when “all … who want to work and are allowed to work are able to find employment.”

The unemployment rate associated with full employment obviously can’t be zero, because there will always be people out of work who are voluntarily or involuntarily moving from one job to another.

What unemployment rate represents full employment? The architects of the Humphrey–Hawkins Full Employment Act of 1978 thought it should be 4 percent for Americans age 16 and over. That benchmark is what Richard Nixon used when presenting “full employment” budgets during much of his time in office. Yes, it was a gimmicky maneuver designed to make what were then seen as horrific deficits seem more palatable; but the rate did represent the predominant economic thinking at the time. While we’re in the neighborhood, I should note that the deficits incurred during the early 1970s, considered awful at the time, were chump change, even after accounting for inflation, compared to the $1 trillion-plus annual shortfalls seen during most of Barack Obama’s presidency.  Read the entire story.

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