Economist Ohanian: US Hasn't Come Back From Recession

Friday, 27 Jun 2014 04:21 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The nation's economic picture is dismal and its future looks grim, according to Lee Ohanian, a professor of economics at UCLA and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

"The country is not doing well. We haven’t had really an economic recovery whatsoever from the '08-'09 recession,'' Ohanian told Westchester County Executive and New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, guest host of Newsmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show."

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"We bottomed out, but we really haven't come back at all.''

Ohanian said the nation has a much less dynamic economy now than it has ever had.

"Economic growth comes from new business, new startups … Microsoft and Apple and Google and Intel are all companies that started in 1970 and 1980. They started small and then they became remarkably successful,'' he said.

"We don’t have the new Apples and Microsofts today. In fact, startups are 30 percent less today than they were in the 1980s.''

"It really boils down to do a tax structure that really penalizes small business and new businesses.''

He said the nation's tax structure under the Obama administration has made it difficult for businesses to hire and expand.

"We have a corporate tax rate that's the highest among any advanced country at 35 percent nationally,'' Ohanian said.

"It's really a very anti-competitive, un-business friendly environment that the United States finds itself in now. It's not getting better. If anything, it's heading in the wrong direction.''

And that spells trouble for "dreamers and entrepreneurs,'' he believes.

"It's expensive to hop all of the hurdles one needs to hop in order to start a new business and successfully get it off the ground. Perhaps even more important, we make it hard for people with ideas to come here and start them,'' Ohanian said.

"For example, half of all high-tech successful startups are done by immigrants yet, we make it very difficult for the most talented immigrants to stay in the United States … It's nuts how difficult we make it for people with ideas to start new businesses.''

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