Much stronger growth is possible. Four years into the Reagan recovery, after a deeper recession than Obama inherited, GDP was advancing at a 4.9% annual pace, and jobs creation was quite robust.

Administration policies and Congressional neglect of fundamental economic issues, and endless ideological infighting and obsession with social issues bear considerable responsibility. Important examples include restrictions on domestic petroleum development, unwillingness to address Asian export subsidies and artificially undervalued currencies and increasingly costly regulatory reviews. Together these impair American competitiveness, increase imports, drive jobs overseas, and institutionalize a buyers' market for labor and suppress wages.

Eliminating the resulting $450 billion trade deficit would create more than 4 million new jobs directly, and at least another 2.5 million as those additional workers' spending spread through the economy. This would raise living standards and reduce income inequality much more pervasively than a living wage law could ever accomplish.

Also, speeding up regulatory reviews to protect the environment, consumers and financial stability would free up government resources for growth promoting infrastructure and R&D investments and creative talent in the private sector to more productive pursuits.

The White House is bogged down in the Affordable Care Act morass and appeasing the left's cultural agenda, and Republicans endlessly obsess about legislation -- from repealing the ACA to new restrictions on abortion that will never pass Congress.

Promoting growth remains a stepchild.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.

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